Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Going green

I was quoted in an article about environmental stewardship in the May/June '07 issue of Today's Christian magazine:
Where once there was a gaping hole in the conversational landscape, Christian voices are ringing out across the country.

"I remember that on Earth Day 1990, my local church didn't mention it at all," says Albert Hsu, associate editor of InterVarsity Press and author of The Suburban Christian. "My pastor later told me it wasn't a Christian thing to care about. That was a wake-up call. I think a lot of this goes back to Gnosticism, when people thought the physical world was evil. Those ideas can lead to bad stewardship. Certain denominations believe this world will be destroyed in the end times so we needn't bother caring for it. But God declared this world good and calls us to take care of it."

. . . Even so, says Hsu, with so many American Christians living in the "land of plenty," it's difficult to keep the environment at the forefront of one's mind. "Suburbia is a consumer culture," he says. "If we need something, we buy it and use it, instead of finding alternatives. One of the problems in suburbia is that it's a place of abundance where we don't see the scarcity and limitation of resources."
The article also has this handy list of ten things Christians can do (adapted from Matthew Sleeth's Serve God, Save the Planet):

1. Turn off the faucet while shaving, brushing teeth, and washing hands.

2. Pre-cycle by buying minimally packaged goods and choosing reusable over disposable.

3. Buy only "tree free" toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues made from recycled paper.

4. Bike, walk, carpool, or use public transportation instead of driving.

5. Change at least five light bulbs to compact fluorescents.

6. Install low-flow showerheads.

7. Caulk and weather strip around windows and doors to plug air leaks.

8. Use no pesticides or chemicals on your lawn or garden.

9. Pick one endangered species and do something to help save it.

10. Pray for people whose forests and habitats have been destroyed by material consumption.


Anonymous said...

That's quite a challenging list. When I read it, my first response is a kind of pride. I think of all the things I do already.

But then I think, oh boy, there's a lot more I could be doing. There's a lot more all of us could do.

Anonymous said...

Amen to biking!

Though I'm not sold on CFLs. Have tried a few, and just don't like the light, not aesthetically pleasing. Takes them some time to warm up too, esp. in cold weather. Think I'll prefer LEDs when that technology becomes more available.

Just discussed "environmentalism" in our cell group last month.

Anonymous said...

I just heard a piece on All Things Considered today on NPR about the new evangelicals who actually care about the environment. At first I thought it funny that Christians who care for the earth seemed somehow newsworthy. Then I thought about how even in my own circle of friends, my efforts at green living as a Christian discipline are considered unusual and weird.

Al Hsu said...

Charity - I heard the same NPR article and found it very encouraging. Nice to know that there's a tribe of "younger evangelicals" for whom creation care is normative, not weird.

N. said...

I am so glad I stumbled upon this post! I just started research for a book I am writing on the subject of Christians and "green living." Glad to see other Christians realizing the importance of this...