Living in a town with a rapidly growing landfill has lead me to think more consciously of the environmental impact we all have. There was one particularly windy day when I was on my way shopping. I saw plastic bags clawing the wire fence that only briefly held them in their landfill prison. Other bags dangled from a nearby tree like Christmas ornaments. I hated that. I also hate seeing those plastic bags stuck in trees throughout any neighborhood in Fargo. It’s disgusting and makes our town look trashy. I decided I would take a picture of the mess and send it in to the newspaper (I have yet to do that). I got out of my van and noticed this large white wall. As I squinted, I noticed that this large white wall was a fence covered in plastic bags. They were so thick I thought the chain link fence was actually a white wall…

Did you know that grocery store baggers are trained to NOT ask, “paper or plastic?” but to say, “Is plastic okay?” They typically do this as they are putting your items inside a plastic bags. It is faster for them to bag the plastic and cheaper for the grocery store for them to use plastic. The paper bags cost 8 cents each and the plastic ones cost a fraction of a cent. I know this because I worked in a grocery store when we first moved to Fargo.

Being green is something that I feel is important for everyone, but is one of many areas that evangelical Christians run away from. I think the overall view of those who are green is that they are new age, liberal hippies who are so far from God they might as well be in hell right now and anything they do is probably a sin. NOT TRUE…

I’m thankful that our overseer lives a green life. He is not a Christian that would have a negative view of someone who is conscious of the environment. He is an example, though some might view it as old fashioned, I view it as being responsible with the earth that God gave us to care for. Here are ten things that we can do to be responsible citizens and good stewards of the earth God gave us. Unfortunately there are things that I categorize as being green that are expensive, but if more people start doing/buying it then the prices will go down. (Kind of like DVD players and digital cameras). I’m just making a few changes at a time, because it can be expensive.

These are not in any particular order.

1. When asked if plastic is okay, say No and request paper. Better yet, bring reusable canvas bags. Many stores also sell cardboard tote boxes. Most stores will take some amount of money off your bill for each bag you bring of your own. I also take reusable bags to other stores I shop in (even clothing stores. I don’t have to advertise for them, they aren’t paying me). When I forget, I save the colorful bags for this project and use the others in our bathroom trashcan.

2. Buy fair trade: The people who farm the crops are well taken care of and actually get a fair wage for their work. Things like coffee, chocolate and woven fabrics are things I have noticed for sell as a fair trade item. Sam’s Club even has inexpensive, whole bean fair trade coffee.

3. Buy locally: Buy produce and other products from your local farmers market. Ours is kind of small but there is a grocery store in town now that only sells local products. Sweet.

4. Buy organic: Some foods are more important than others to eat organically. I could write a whole separate post about this. Maybe I will.

5. Conserve electricity/water: Turn things off that you aren’t using. Take a shower instead of a bath. All the basic things we all probably know. Also, use solar power. I think this would be fun, but doubt well ever do it. A good dishwasher should use less water than washing by hand. Buy energy efficient models. They pay off and are getting cheaper by the year.

6. RECYCLE: I don’t just mean bottles and cans. Take your clothes to a thrift store. Maybe your town has a freebie site where one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Buy items made from recycled materials. Like these floor mats.

or buy things in reusable containers and then reuse them. Save clothing to make quilts. Make paper from your paper (sawdust works too).

7. Use the public library: Or borrow someone else’s copy of a book. Ebay and Amazon are okay too, but you have to spend money…

8. Compost: This is also very educational. And FUN FUN FUN! I’m a geek. You don’t need a fancy container. We use a wire type thingie. My soon to be gardening tutor just puts everything in a pile in her backyard (I don’t like that method, but it looks like a big pile of dirt and not a big pile of trash). You can compost lots of stuff (coffee filters with old coffee grounds, lint from the dryer, paper towels, produce scraps, hair, leaves grass) Our friends don’t compost, but the wife uses their garden roughage to make great hand milled soaps.

9. Hybrid cars: My husband will never buy “one of those tin cans” but maybe it is an option for you.

10. Cloth diapers: I argued heavily against this one with my kids. BUT it is an environmentally responsible thing to do

We see in Genesis 1:26-27 that being able to live on the earth is a blessing given to us by the Lord he “lets” us live here. It is our responsibility to take care of it–the land, the animals and ourselves.

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over (be responsible for: The Message) the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”