This may sound a little odd, but I'm "giving up" being-a-bad-steward-of-the-earth for Lent. I don't think I was doing too badly to begin with, but I can do better. I invite all my dear friends and family to join me, too! (Also, you can leave comments with other good ideas.) Here's why I'm doing this:
- I love God. I believe that God created the world (no, not in the literal Genesis 1 sense, with the 7 days... this account is POETIC, not scientific, and gives us information about who God is, and about his relationship to us and the rest of the created order), and I believe humans are called to be good stewards of all that God has given them.
- I love the earth! I love trees! I love animals!
- I love doing things outside, and I want "outside" to be a place worth going, now and in the future.
- I love people. It is the poor that will be affected most by climate change. It is also my children (well, the ones I will probably have eventually) who are going to experience climate change. I want them to inherit a healthy earth. I'm not the only person on the planet! We are all in this together!
- I want to be a good example, especially to others who also love God. Bad theology (the "it's all going to burn anyway" sort), selfishness, and ignorance are major causes of earth-abuse. We cannot use these as an excuse! (And no, I'm not going to stop this stuff after Lent!)
Anyhoo, now I will get off my soapbox and say what I am actually doing.
- Turning off the lights whenever I'm not using them, and unplugging things that I'm not using. Apparently this saves a lot of energy.
- I changed the power settings on my computer. The monitor turns off after a shorter time. I'm also being more careful about not leaving it on when I'm not using it.
- Cotton balls and maxi pads: it pains me every time I throw one away. So, I'm getting reusible ones! (Yes, I know, sounds gross, but women were menstruating for hundreds of thousands of years before the invention of disposable maxi pads. Likewise, babies were pooping before the invention of disposable diapers. My children will use CLOTH DIAPERS.) I think I will also be making some nice lace-edged hankies using my new crochet skills, in order to cut down on kleenex use.
- Being conscientious about water use: shorter, less frequent showers, not letting the tap run while brushing my teeth, etc. I also found that I can fill the Brita pitcher while I'm waiting for the water in the kitchen to heat up. I'm going to talk to our landlord/neighbor about getting a rain barrel to use to water the garden in the summer.
- I'm going to get a drying rack for the summer, so I can hang my clothes out to dry instead of using the dryer. Unfortunately, I can't do this year-round in Vancouver (it's pouring outside as I write this...)
- We're going to plant some veggies outside in pots on our lovely new patio! They'll be nice and fresh and organic, and they will cut down on transportation costs.
- We don't own our house, so we can't really make home improvements, nor can we adjust the heat, since there's one thermostat for the whole house. However, as the lights burn out, we'll replace them with more efficient bulbs.
- This summer, we're doing some significant travelling, since we love people, and we're attending a wedding, a baptism, and a music festival. I will research carbon offsets (planting trees and whatnot), because of the major pollution caused by air travel.
Things I'm already doing:
- Taking the bus whenever possible (yay for the UBC student bus pass!)
- Walking to the grocery store
- Composting and recycling whenever possible
- Reusing jars and plastic containers: cheap and useful. I also really like that some pasta sauces come in mason jars, which I can use for canning! Yay for not wasting food!
- Using energy saving settings on the dishwasher
- Wearing clothes more than once, using towels for a week, and using sheets for several weeks... thus cutting down on the frequency of laundry.
Please consider joining me in any or all of these activities! Every little bit helps...