Ah, I had a mental break, and I’m back.
Ready to jump into the waste fast!
Jen started off this chapter this this, “The bible and I are all ready to turn you into a tree-hugging, dreadlock-wearing, organic-farming, compost-producing hippies (kidding… mostly.)” And I got excited, because yes, we are somewhat hippies (minus the dreadlocks…)
ooooo, that one hurts a bit, huh?
Skim through Job chapters 38-41 and the words God uses to describe his creation are magnificent.
“I wonder if we enjoy such a cavalier attitude towards creation care because we’re so removed from the effects of its squandering? We are Americans. We are above the nuisance of depleted resources. We’ll just buy more. Surely there is more.”
And how about Isaiah 24:5-6, “The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed laws, violated the statues and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt.” The whole of Isaiah lists the sins of Gods people over and over again.
If creation is a spiritual mirror, what does the earth currently communicate about the level of injustice God’s people are allowing and perpetrating?
“When we exploit the labor of the worker and plunder natural resources and deny the social costs of production and poison our air and water and exhaust the earth’s forests, the poor are profoundly affected. The depleted earth isn’t just an indicator of injustice; it is an injustice itself. The impact of environmental degradation falls most heavily on the people who are least able to mitigate these impacts- poor and vulnerable populations.”
So is taking care of our earth not just about respecting our Creator and his magnificent creation, but also about taking care of the poor, those we are called to serve? Does curbing our rampant uses of natural resources and flagrant ignorance of the egocolgical choices we make ACTUALLY serve God in the ways He has called us?
I believe so.
We can unlearn destructive habits, foster new habits that help creation to sustain and flourish, in the ways God intended. And thus, help the most vulnerable populations begin a new history. We can change our consuming habits that simply feed our own desires and comforts while others barely scrape together the necessities.
There are some choices we made, before, during, and after this study that really focus on this.
For her fast- Jen chose to focus on seven habits of a greener lifestyle: gardening, composting, conserving energy and water, recycling, driving one vehicle, shopping second-hand, and buying only local.
This was an interesting one for us. We do garden, we compost, we conserve energy (hubby is the electric police and my kids have learned his ways), and we buy second hand clothing and local food whenever possible.
We weren’t recycling (because hubby has concerns about the energy efficiency of most recycling– aka, potentially using more energy and creating more emissions through recycling than from brand-new production.) but that’s a whole other ball game, I’m not going to debate that now. We did recycle during this fast, and have continued afterwards, but honestly, the BEST approach is to simply REDUCE your consumption of all packing, including recyclables.
The key to doing this??
BUY LESS STUFF.
I know, it’s crazy. Wait what. You want me to buy less?
But Chelsea, we have to eat, but Chelsea, Amazon Prime is so much easier than driving to Walmart (plus Walmart has questionable business practices and support questionable employment methods in those vulnerable countries you had mentioned).
I hear you
screaming talking at me.
Believe me, I am an Amazon Prime addict. I think it happened somewhere in the middle of a North Dakotan winter storm when I had newborn twins and a two year old. Why in the world would I drive 45 minutes to town when Amazon delivers in two days??
But man, Amazon is TERRIBLE about packing. As are most online suppliers. So this was something that hit me for sure. We try to reuse whenever possible with packaging, but definitely something to think about. I now try to group my orders so there are fewer boxes and packing.
No Impact Man is a fascinating documentary about a family who attempts to make the smallest environmental impact possible for a year. In NYC. It’s really eye-opening and enjoyable to watch.
And there is something to be said about cooking with real food, there is a whole lot less packaging when you buy bulk, real foods than there is with pre-packaged processed foods.
Here are a few practices we do that reduce our waste: (more information on each of these practices here)
reuseable snack bags
reuseable grocery sacks
reuseable produce bags
wash and reuse plastic ziploc bags
These are some things that we started as a result of this fast:
refilled reuseable baby food pouches (since at the time, Jean preferred the pouches to baby food on a spoon)
reuseable cloth coffee filters
And there are a few things that we would still like to learn more about- such as capturing rain water for use with our livestock and garden and self-sustaining gardening practices. And of course, cutting down our consumption. Because let’s be honest, we just have too much stuff already anyway.
As part of this whole creation focus, hubby has recently become interested in the practice of Permaculture, which is “a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that develops sustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.”
He has learned a ton already, and is actually taking a course through Permaethos to learn even more. These practices, put into place on the most destitute of land areas, have been shown to create thriving, self sustaining farms that not only support the people living on and near them, but also the creatures and plants around and in them as well. It’s fascinating stuff. I’m making the hubs write a post another time.
And another thing that became even more important to us after this fast was Fair Trade. There’s ton of information to get into on this, but here’s a great website. I make sure our coffee and chocolate are fair trade, and aim to source things even more as we go further and replenish our bulk resources.