Wednesday, December 7, 2011

SAVE THE EARTH (and its inhabitants too!)

The Bible tells us God created the earth (and its inhabitants) in seven days.
What we don't know is how long one of God's days are compared to the 24-hour version we currently use.
But we are rapidly destroying this beautiful creation that God designed for us.  We have used and abused it in ways that aren't even fathomable if you start to look at the statistics*:
  • The U.S.A. is 5% of the world's population, yet we generate 40% of the world's waste.  Not a statistic to be proud of.  200 MILLION TONS per day.
  • The average American generates 4.6 lbs of waste each day -- or a total of 1460 lbs a year.  Yikes. 
  • Less than one fourth of our waste is recycled -- although 75% of it is recyclable!
In Genesis 1:26, God gave us dominion over the earth, but I hardly think He intended for us to destroy it.  After all, in Genesis 2:15 He assigned mankind to care for it:  "The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it."

As part of an experiment in our home, we started recycling.  Our area unfortunately doesn't have a curbside recycling program, so instead, I bought sorting containers for our garage, and then we make regular trips to the recycling center to drop off items.  What is amazing is that our containers always fill up quickly.  Whereas we used to have 2-3 large garbage cans at the end of the driveway every week for pickup, we now only have one, and it isn't even full all the time.  And honestly, we aren't even doing as much as we could be, we are doing the base level of it.

We've also become more conscious about our purchases.  If I have an option to buy something with less packaging, or that uses recycled materials, I choose that option.  For example:  Christmas gifts, wrapping paper and bags.  There are some incredible ones that are made from recycled materials now, and even better, I've started using the reusable shopping totes as gift bags instead (practical too).  And the gifts themselves can be recycled and if you purchase from sites like the Rainforest site, you are also helping to save the environment as well.  Look at this incredible item (to the right)  that was made from recycled oil drums, helps to support artists in Haiti, and also contributes to saving rainforest acreage at the same time every time you purchase one:  http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/clickToGive/ad.click?siteId=4&adId=87353&placementId=232929&page=home
(And they often have shipping and specials, such as today,
its on sale, and if you spend $30 or more, you get $10 off!
How can you lose?)  Better yet, think about giving a gift that
doesn't use materials but rather gives the gift of giving!
(i.e. Make a contribution to a charity in someone's name!)

Need more ideas? How about a LIVE tree for Christmas, still in the pot,
ready to be planted in the Spring? Or possibly decorate an outdoor tree
with birdfeeders or nesting materials made into ornaments?  Recycle by
donating items for others to use through Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army,
or ARC stores.  And one of my favorites:  Join a FREECYCLE group in
your area, encouraging recycling (and often items also go to those in need):
http://www.freecycle.org/.

They may be simple little changes, but in the longrun, every bit helps.  And just like doing good deeds becomes a contagious spirit, becoming environmentally conscious also becomes a habit and grows.  Before you know it, they'll become second nature.

God gave us the earth to inhabit and "keep."  So what do you do to help care for this incredible, beautiful, blessed gift from God?


(*Information from the EPA Fact Sheet at http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/index.htm, the Annenberg Foundation's Garbage Exhibit at http://www.learner.org/interactives/garbage/intro.html, and a Fact Sheet for Girl Scouting at http://www.trefoilscouts.org/Reduce%20Reuse%20Recycle%20Answers.pdf. )

2 comments:

Jen A said...

You have some inspiring and wonderful ideas here! I'm what you call a lazy recycler. We get the cans and glass because it's easy to pop in a box. The paper has to be bundled in 12x12 before they'll pick up. However Frank has started taking the paper to work...they encourage the employees to take advantage of their recycle program.

Susan Farrell-Jones said...

As long as it gets recycled, that's all that matters! I take some things to work. I love the Souls for Soles program too and recycling the shoes there, as well as taking items to Goodwill!