February 8, 2012

hug a tree--why I think Christians should care about the enviroment...

Yep, long title. My college poetry teacher would be proud!

While I haven't blogged much this year (despite my desires and intent), it's only February, so I have lots of time to make up for a sluggish January. Let's start off with something that struck me (again) as I was driving to the grocery store last night.

I needed to stop at the store because I didn't have the ingredients for a whole meal--lots of odds and ends, but a real meal was lacking. So I'd made a list and figured I'd stop on the way home. Great plan.

Well, I pass two grocery stores on my direct route home. There are another two or three options if I want to drive a bit longer. But last night, in the almost snowy weather, I decided to go to Whole Foods. It's not the closest, it's not the cheapest, so why go there? Let me tell you.

I'm starting to appreciate better ingredients. Not just in that they often taste better, but that they are better for me. It's a slow process, and one that didn't start with health. It actually started more than a year ago with my desire to know more about where my food was coming from--and the desire to have my food grown locally.

Long explanation short, a lot of food grown for commercial use has been stripped of a lot of it's nutritional value. That, and shipping it across country (and in many cases, across the ocean) means cost for fuel. It also means that a lot of pollution in that transportation, more loss of nutrients due to travel time, and so on. Throw in the fact that a lot of animal food sources are treated poorly (to put is mildly), it's just not a happy picture.

So I've started shopping at Whole Foods for some items because they grow things more organically, they offer meat products from responsible farms that care for the animal. I like that about them. (I do, however, still turn my nose up at bananas grown in Peru, even though it's Peru, because it's just too far. I want something closer to home!)

And guess what. When I shop at Whole Foods (and other places), I try to remember to use one of the handful of reusable shopping bags I own. I have the kind that fold up pretty small and tuck into my purse. I try to carry several with me at all times.

And some Christians look at me (and those who are so much more gung ho than I am!) and shake their heads. I can see the accusations in their eyes: you are going native, next thing you'll be signing up with GreenPeace, protesting the killing of whales.

But it's not like that. Don't get me wrong, I think killing whales is a nasty thing to do, but I'm not going to chain myself to a boat to prove it. However, I am going to do what I can in my daily life to make sure I'm not trashing the planet. And I've got a pretty darn good reason: the Bible.

Remember back in the very first book, Genesis? Remember how God put Adam and Eve in the Garden? He put the Garden under their care. God told them to take care of the animals. God expected us to be responsible!

I'll give you a second to grasp that.

We have a God-given responsibility to take care of the earth and the animals on it.

That means we shouldn't tromp through this world as destroyers and usurpers. We should get upset when chickens and cows and lambs are kept in pens too small for them to even stand up in. We should use a reusable bag instead of asking for plastic every time.

I'm not saying we should all run out and hug a tree (not that it's a bad habit--trees are very calming and wonderful, and some of them smell like butterscotch!), but that we should take a moment to consider what impact we are having on the world, and how we might change that for the better.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not going to ever put animal rights before human rights--nor am I going to say that we should die to save a plant. But I am saying that God put this planet into our safe keeping, and well, we've done a doozie of a job so far. We can't fix it all, but we can manage the damage, so to speak.

So next time you are thinking about where to shop, consider shopping the "natural" grocery store--you might pay a tiny bit more, you might run into some weird health nuts, and you might have a bruise or two on your fruit, but you will also be taking care of this planet. And since we all call it home, it might be in our best interest to not trash it so quickly!

Agree? Disagree? Just feeling like saying something? That's what the comment button is for!


Tippie said...

I agree with you -- it is important to take care of the earth, after all that's something God instructed Adam and Eve to do. I do, on the other hand, have a HUGE problem with people who seem to put too much strength and care into the matter that they are literally worshiping the earth, and not it's Creator. I've never been huge on the whole 'green thing', but I do take measures to make sure I'm not hurting the earth carelessly.

We get plastic bags from the store at times, even if we do have reusable bags, because we find use with the plastic -- we don't throw it away, we reuse them for other things.

I do feel sorry for those who seem to worship the earth, though -- I mean, it is going to be burnt up with fire when God decides to end the world. :P

MangyCat said...

I completely agree that we need to care for the earth in the best capacity we can. We've tried shopping at Whole Foods for groceries, and while the food is awesome and good for you and all that, it outright doubles our grocery bill. And when we can only afford to spend $150 every two weeks to feed four people, well, we must take that into consideration.

Caring for the earth is good. Absolutely. We recycle, we at least reuse the plastic bags, getting more life out of them than one use, we try not to drive any more than necessary.

But I suppose if it comes down to "adequately provide for the family" or "save the earth"... Well, I suppose when it comes down to it, my priorities are on the people, not the planet.

That said, I do make it a point not to tromp through the earth with no regard to preserving nature, but it has to be done in the capacity that I am able in my everyday life, while still providing what is needed for the people I care for.

Sara said...

I totally agree on the budget thing--I only usually am buying enough for one, and in many cases, I'm just getting two apples, three potatoes, and so on. And WF does a much better job with small portions at lower prices (like with their sliced pepper mix, $1.77 for the perfect amount compared to $4 for a whole one that I will throw 1/2 of away!). I still pick up a lot of things at other stores, but I'm buying a little more there as time goes on!

And Tippie, yes, worshiping the earth is not right, but caring for it, that's something I can get behind! And there are so many easy ways to be better stewards, I figure I should do what is within my grasp :) Yay for being as green as we can!

Pro Consumer said...
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