I have to admit that even though the evidence has been mounting up over the last 20 years I have been slow to accept the fact that I have contributed to the current world environmental crisis. I am part of the western world that uses far more power, water and other resources per capita than is equitable! I have also come to realise that as a Christian I have a God given responsibility to protect this world and be a good steward of those limited resources. Sadly, history shows that the western church has been a willing partner in exploiting and destroying the environment and is strangely silent in this current debate.
It seems to me that the message of the Bible is that injustice makes God angry, and that when nature is in pain He takes notice! God is on the side of the powerless and downtrodden and He expects us to be accountable for what we have done with what He has given us. Just like my mother expected me to tidy up the mess in my room , so too I believe that God expects us to do something about the mess we have made in the world and adjust the current inequitable distribution of resources.
The key to all this is knowing where to start! Most of us get overwhelmed because it seems too hard, but here are three things that we can all do:
- Reduce! If we would all stop and reassess the difference between what we want and what we need, we would probably be able to reduce both what we buy and what we use. That would in turn reduce our consumption of resources and power! Do we really need all those things that the media is telling us are essential?
- Reuse! What we need to recognise is that we have grown up to be a throw-away society, yet we can choose to buy a reusable bag and NOT to accept and use a plastic one. Our landfill tips are full of things that could have been reused, but in our affluent western culture we just don’t bother, we buy a new one. Stand against this trend and be different.
- Recycle! We are getting better at this but we still have a long way to go. With just a little effort on our part we can recycle all the aluminum, steel, paper, glass and some plastics we use – this will reduce consumption of raw materials. By choosing recyclable items over non-recyclable we can all do our part for the environment.
Acting on these simple recycle facts will help reduce our carbon footprint, our power consumption and our waste, with the result that we will have a healthier and more equitable world. You’ve got to be happy with that!