Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Accidental Environmentalist

I'm sitting in my green chair with a green shirt on. Guess I'm making the most of this Earth Day thing. Actually, it is just a coincidence. The green shirt was at the top of the laundry pile, and the chair - well forest green is a frequent theme in our decor. But coincidence seems to be the norm for me when it comes to environmentalism. I am an "accidental" environmentalist.

I came to this conclusion when watching Oprah a few months ago. My sister-in-law and I stumbled across the "going green" show and thought we would check out the tips they offered. We spent most of the hour laughing. What was presented as "changes to live more green" seemed like normal common sense to us. Hmmm... only run the dishwasher/clothes washer when they're full, clean the lint screen on the dryer, avoid single use water bottles, recycle, turn your AC up to 75 degrees (we keep it at 80 anyway), donate old clothes instead of throwing them in the trash... Ummm... don't most people do this stuff anyway? The scary thing is I have come to understand that many people don't.

I have never considered myself an environmentalist. I actually find the hypocr- errr... irony of the environmental movement irritating. While on one channel a famous face is recommending we limit our toilet paper use, on another channel the same person is the spokesman for Clairol hair color. I imagine that box of hair dye, cardboard w/ paper instructions, plastic bottles etc... uses more resources and causes more pollution than my extra square or two of t.p. Then there are the "heinous" plastic grocery bags. I actually heard a guy on the Today Show lamenting that they were still legal! But the "go green" picture of a filled cloth grocery bag I say the other day, had a 4 pack of individual plastic pudding cups sitting on the top. Seems to me those are a lot more wasteful than my thin reusable, easy to recycle plastic grocery bag. Guess they should be illegal too? The list could go on and on, the rock star standing on the stage with big spotlights telling me I shouldn't have my incandescent bulb in my desk lamp, the politician with the huge multimillion dollar home complaining because our pick-up truck isn't energy efficient enough.

I guess I understand these people a little better though, now that I've seen how devoid of common sense so many Americans are.

But, it all comes down to stewardship. I have never been motivated by the panicked cries of "We're killing the planet!" I believe God is in control. I know that our sinned marred earth will definitely be destroyed one day, and has been slowly dying since the fall of man. However God has given us the things of this earth. And we are to be good stewards of the resources He has provided. Stewardship means using the resources the best way for the most important priority, people. Balancing this stewardship is tricky, and requires discernment. In our vast imperfectness we make a lot of wrong decisions. Pesticides for example can pollute our air and water, potentially making people sick. However pesticides also expand the food supply and control insects, potentially saving millions from starvation and deadly diseases like malaria. Unfortunately on the bandwagon of global warming hysteria and "green" marketing campaigns, wise stewardship decisions aren't the norm.

Like all modern problems the answer to the environmental issues of today is following the Bible. People are the only eternal thing on this earth so they are the most important. When God created our world He said it was good, and He expects us to use the resources for His purposes. He knows each sparrow that falls. Proverbs teaches us to not be lazy and wasteful. Jesus teaches us in the gospels about using what God has given us for His glory. The Psalms praise the wonders of God's creation. Genesis gives us a picture of God's perfect purposes for our planet.

So, on Earth Day, let us remember that it is really God's Day not the earth's. We shouldn't worship our planet but should look around us and figure out how to better use the earth's resources to serve God. I can see ways I can do better. But, I guess it is not really an accident that I have made some good environmental choices. Because, it is not an outcome of being an environmentalist, it is an intentional attempt to be a good steward for God.


Connie said...

Wonderful post Debbie!

Brooke said...

Debbie, you really ought to submit this to a Christian magazine next year for their April issue. You are an AMAZING writer- so clear and concise! Thank you for sharing!

Holly said...

I think you've gotten to the heart of the matter. Good stewards will be good environmentalists, and our actions in that regard bring honor to God. It also helps us recognize how good God is to us! Thanks for a great post!