Caring for the Environment

by Josée

During Earth week, I talked a lot about the importance of reducing household waste. During the week our household worked hard to reduce waste as well. Of course it is always much easier to say something than to do it, especially to do it consistently.

Over the week we stopped using disposable diapers and wipes, even for outings! We worked on reducing food waste and using reusable bags for purchasing food from the bulk bins (raisins, nuts, lentils, beans). A few people mentioned the challenge of food waste cause by little ones because they leave behind un-salvageable leftovers. We experience that same thing here. I’ve been trying to offer smaller amounts of food and waiting until it is eaten before giving more. This seems to help a little.

It was great to see all those participating in the challenge. These days more people are open to the idea of taking steps to protect and care for the environment. But there are still many others that aren’t open or willing. Surprisingly, some of the biggest contesters I came across were conservative Christians. There is the thought among many conservative Christians that caring for the environment is too liberal and not worth our time or effort. I’ve heard things said like “why worry about saving trees? we should worry about saving babies!“. I’m not saying that trees are more important than humans. I am saying, however, that there should be a natural outflow from the desire to protect and care for human life to protect and care for the environment.

Elizabeth Foss, author of Small Steps for Catholic Moms, recently wrote an article entitled For Catholic, every day is Earth Day. Catholic or non-Catholic, Christian or non-Christian, it’s worth a read. Elizabeth reminds us that we “have a responsibility to think deeply about all of God’s creation, to teach our children to respect and protect it, and to remind our families, by the way we live, that for practicing Catholics, every day is Earth Day.” Amen to that!

“The environment must be seen as God’s gift to all people, and the use we make of it entails a shared responsibility for all humanity, especially the poor and future generations.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI from his massage If You Want To Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation (January 2010).

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Elizabeth May 1, 2011 - 12:47 am

I'd definitely fall into that conservative christian category and personally I think Global Warming is not happening, i know, i know, the term is now "climate change." If we think back to when were were in school the big thing was the supposed hole in the ozone layer and before that we were supposedly going to go through another ice age. It's not that I don't think man made global climate change is possible I just don't think it's happening.

However, and this is a big however, I live a much more "green" life than most liberals who preach the gloom and doom of climate change as a psudo-religion. I think it is mans responsibility, given to him by God, to take care of the earth, I think mindlessly buying things/using things/throwing things away is wrong and at times even sinful. As Catholic's I think we have to walk a thin line between the good stewardship of an authentic christian life and the worship of the false god "mother earth." Unfortunately most movements to preserve the earth are run more by mother earth worshipers than good stewards of God's creation.

I have a hard time joining the "green" movement because I really think that the goal of environmentalism is the depopulation of the earth through birth control and abortion. This is not to say that I think all people who call themselves environmentalists actually think this is a good idea it's just what I think the leaders of the movement see as an ideal.

I find it interesting that my day to day actions and interests line up more with an ultra liberal person than the typical north american conservative (which I am). For example: interest in self sufficient life, homeschooling, no chemical birth control, interest in farmers markets, living a simple life, not bowing to the whims of popular culture. It's just that the reasons for my actions are based on a totally different outlook on the world a liberals similar looking actions.

I actually have a lot of respect for the flaming liberal who is willing to live a counter cultural life. At least they care about something and have passions other than acquiring the latest and greatest gadget. The verse from Revelation "because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth." comes to mind.

Sorry for the rant, hope it makes sense and didn't offend you. Ever read the book "Crunch Con" ? It has a lot of the ideas I tried to express, only a lot more coherently.

Josée May 1, 2011 - 1:08 am

Thanks for the comment Elizabeth! Don't worry I wasn't offended at all. Yes, I agree that there are serious issues with the "green" movement. When children at school are told that they are causing global warming and that there should be less of them… I don't believe that that is right. I do also recognize that there is a lot of "green advertising/propaganda" that's not "green" at all (green washing etc.).

We need to recognize our responsibility for caring for our environment but in the right order of things. How can a person justify caring and respecting for the environment without respecting life itself?

I'll have to take a look at that book, thanks for the suggestion!


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