Did you miss Earth day? It was April 22. Actually the whole idea of Earth “Day” as one specific day a year is a little bit ridiculous. It’s the same as saying, “On one day of the year we are going to appreciate our mothers or our administrative assistants.” Perhaps one day a year, we buy them a card and flowers, but we really should appreciate them and respect them every day, right? So, the same should at least be said for the planet we live on.
I am coming to the realization that as a Christian, it is not only my responsibility to be conscious of my impact on the environment, but to be conscious of my witness as a child of God.
In Genesis 1:28, God tells humanity; “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground” (TNIV).
Now, in the English language, I think the words “subdue” and “rule” gives with it a sense of freedom to discipline or tame something. It makes it sound like God is giving us free reign to do whatever we want. But there’s not many places in scripture where God says, “Eh, do whatever you want.”
If we were to look in our Bibles just one page over, the Lord gives this command again, but He uses an extended instruction.
Genesis 2: 15, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (TNIV).
There are two Hebrew words here: The first word is ‘abad; it means “to work or serve.” It carries with it the idea of cultivating a garden. The second word, shamar, means “to exercise great care over.” Go back and start at the very beginning of Genesis and read the whole account; look at the attention God gives to each day of His creation. God has created an entire ecosystem of intricately designed plants and animals that operate within a solar environment, and then He hands the entire thing—His great masterwork—over to the people as the “gardeners.”
So now in 2007, if I profess to be a child of God and a person who is obedient to scripture, what kind of witness am I to the world if I am just as guilty of wasting water, wood and electricity? Am I the caretaker that God wants me to be?
Living “Green” (the latest term for living environmentally conscious) is really something we can all do, and the great thing is, even one person can make a difference. And for those of us who are parents, we can help train the next generations of consumers. So here are nine really easy things we can all do to decrease our ecological footprint on the earth.
Change your light bulbs
Lighting accounts for 12 percent of the electricity use of an average home and a staggering 25 percent of commercial energy usage.
Support recycling and reduce waste
One aluminum can can save enough energy to power a TV for two hours, while recycled paper uses 60 percent less energy than making paper from virgin trees.
Drive less, and drive smarter
The typical passenger car in the U.S. releases more than 5 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.
Use water (especially hot water) efficiently
Turn off your water when you brush your teeth and minimize the water you use when you wash your hands, it saves about five gallons a day per person; that’s 180 million gallons per day for California alone.
Buy Energy Star appliances
In 2006, Americans using Energy Star labeled products reduced their CO2 emissions by an amount equal to that emitted by 25 million cars and saved a total of $14 billion on their utility bills.
Cut down on your paper consumption
Pay close attention to paper you use a lot in your day like napkins, coffee cups and grocery store bags. There are environmentally sound alternatives to all of these.
Change your thermostat
Two degrees can make almost a 10 percent difference in our C02 emissions—78 degrees in the summer and 68 in the winter.
Plant a tree
Planting a tree in your neighborhood can help beautify the area while absorbing 2,000 pounds of CO2 over its lifetime.
By limiting meat, especially beef, you can help slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions.*
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
* Statistics taken from http://www.earthday.net