Monday, April 23, 2007

Earth Day

I like taking opportunities to reevaluate my lifestyle and/or teach a lesson to my family. Earth day is perfect for this. It is good to ask ourselves how steeped in the materialistic and excessive American culture we are and whether God would call us to greater stewardship. I think as parents of larger families, too, it is important to demonstrate that we can raise our children thoughtfully, generously, but with moderation. Many of the large families I know do find ways to creatively stretch their resources, becoming good stewards of their families and environments.

For some relevant reading regarding Earth Day and big families see here and here. For my own family, although we are still working on being more thrifty, we do try to keep our lifestyle and consumption balanced. Some choices we have made to lighten our impact on the earth are to live in a neighborhood, in town. That way the kids and I use our own two legs or bikes to get to where we need to go. We walk to soccer, ballet, church, the library, post office, coffee shop, haircuts, music lessons, etc. So although we have a 15 passenger van, we make limited use of it. My husband takes public transportation to his office in the city too!

We try to "eat locally", as in we try to find food sources that support our local economy, are raised with minimal chemicals, and don't need fossil fuels to be transported across a continent, from the farm to our kitchen table. So, we enjoy our locally raised, organic chicken and beef, eggs, and milk (in glass bottles!), all delivered to our door too! We just joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), so we will have local, seasonal, fresh and organic produce brought to our home each week during the growing season. I walk to our local farm market on Saturday mornings, and have a tiny (but growing) garden in our backyard. I also started a co-op and order bulk, organic items that are delivered to my home once a month. Not only do these food choices reduce our impact on the earth, it also supports the local economy, helps our children to see where their food is coming from and the work involved in growing it, and it fosters the community, as neighbors cooperate to acquire these foods. It is a real blessing, and the fact is, it doesn't cost more than shopping at the local store (which I unfortunately still have to do at times).

And for whatever it is worth, we recycle all of our paper, cardboard, glass and aluminum and make attempts to reduce our home energy consumption --- I am a broken record, "Did you turn the lights out?" "Turn that light off!" "Why are all these lights on?" Or, kid to mom, "I'm cold," said with pathetic shiver, and Mom to kid, "Put a sweater on, it IS winter."

All this is to say that the above description is what our family has been able to do, there are many things that we can't do with what God has given us, or don't do at all because we're failed humans and spoiled Americans. However, we try to set new goals to be better stewards with each Earth Day. Your family may be called to do some of the same things we have done, or God may call you to other areas of stewardship. I think the key point mindfulness.

Check out your family's environmental footprint here, and for some suggestions on how to minimize your ecological impact check out the site here.

Peace, Hope