Is the Earth Crying?
With a resumption of the arrival of spring, after a set back of a few days in mid-March, all of us really rejoice in a Low Country Spring. The profusion of colors, the sweet aromas of flowers opening and yes, the coughing and sneezing because of the release of so much pollen really tells us that the earth is still in the business of creation and regeneration.
So what’s the big fuss about climate change? What’s the concern about human ecological damage? There seem to be so many voices crying in the wilderness about what’s affecting our atmosphere, water, green space, waste creation and the continuing misuse of our planet. My response is this: they can’t all be wrong. Even in my small universe I see the changes happening. There’s a reduction in the songbird population, water is warming, green space is disappearing, I fill up to the brim my blue recycle bin with regularity. I burn petroleum products, I create waste materials, I take up too much space, I throw away too many things that can be recycled: clothing, out of date food, old tools, used garden products, batteries and so on. Where does it all go? As long as it disappears from my pile of clutter, should I care?
Christianity has been late to this party despite good thoughts about stewardship. There is a greater need for the stewardship of the earth. On Ash Wednesday we repeat a statement of confession about our “waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us.” There is a prayer for the stewardship of the earth, on page 259 of the Prayer Book.
Often our response is that it’s too big a problem for individuals to do much about; so on we all march to a world compromised by our indifference. How can we make a difference?
Here are a few suggestions:
Use less of everything. Reuse your own stuff. Recycle other’s cast offs. Extend the life of what you have with good maintenance and care. Purchase things (food and household goods) that have minimum packaging. Use your own bags at the grocery store. Make more food at home instead of buying prepared items. Start a compost heap-the Internet will show you how, and grow your own. Use rain barrels instead of commercially treated water for outside use.
Above all, be mindful of every decision to use anything. Evaluate these purchases in terms of life of use, impact on environment, possible toxicity versus natural products and so on.
A final hint-teach your children and grandchildren to respect the earth. Please remind them, it’s the only home they’ll have.