Monday, April 22, 2013

Caring for God's Creation

I am not a fan of "Earth Day" as it seems to me to be a celebration of "Mother Nature" and the earth as if it exists apart from God.  While I do not consider myself an "environmentalist"  I have over the last few years began to be more conscientious about how I care for the environment.  No Christian should really be able to say that it doesn't matter.  While recycling may not be the end all answers to "saving the earth" it is a wise and caring thing to do.  Is it really fair to fill up our land fills with disposable junk simply because we are in too much of a hurry to use anything else?

WMU stands for Women's Missionary Union and I am the leader of one of these groups in my local church.  Their focus for the last 2 years has been Project HELP: Human Exploitation which covers everything from human trafficking to bullying and also covers the exploitation of natural resources for personal gain.  Yes, pollution, land destruction and deprivation for personal gain at the expense of others is tied into human exploitation.

That really convicted me. What am I doing to make sure that our natural resources are being protected?  I realized there were at least a few things I should be doing to show more respect and care for the earth that God has given us.

The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for it and to maintain it (Genesis 2:15)

Is God then not upset when we do not "care for it and maintain it?"

Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must trample the rest of your pastures with your feet? When you drink clean water, must you muddy the rest of the water by trampling it with your feet? (Ezekiel 34:18)

So at our house we made some changes.  One change was we ditched the Styrofoam.  I will no longer buy or use Styrofoam plates and cups, even if they are cheaper. We do still use a lot of paper products but at least those will decompose.  Styrofoam will not.  It stays around forever and ever and ever!  I also stopped using plastic silverware and now just wash more dishes.  Yes, it's filling up my sink more often and using more water but it's not ending up in my landfill. 

The other thing we are doing is recycling more.  We started a few years ago by recycling our cans. We actually found that you could make a decent bit of extra cash doing it.  That has now become Gess' responsibility and a way for her to make some money.  We also have friends and neighbors that help us by donating their cans.  Each time we go Gess usually makes between $5.00-$10.00!  That's not bad for a kid!

Here is Gess visiting our local recycling center cashing in her cans.  (They also take tin.  It doesn't pay as much but it's a way to keep your canned goods from going to the dump and since you are cashing in cans anyway, it's no extra trouble!)

First we take the cans out of the trunk.

Then we dump them into these barrels which are marked with their own weight.

For this trip we had 3 barrels each filled about 3/4 full.

Then we take them inside and they weigh the barrels, subtract the original weight of the barrel and give you a ticket for the weight of the cans you turn in.  We then take that into the cash office and get paid.  Gess loves this part the best!  Here she is with her money!

It's a great way for kids to earn extra money and help encourage your friends and neighbors to recycle!

We also started recycling our plastics.  We don't have a place to do that locally where you get paid.  In fact the only place we have to do that is our local Wal-Mart.  You know Wal-Mart takes a lot of heat and sometimes gets a pretty bad rap but I am thankful for our local Wal-Mart and shop their often and I have to tip my hat off to them.  If not for them there would be no where to recycle plastics in this town!

I used to think that their recycling bin was just if you had a plastic bottle while you were in the store or something but my son, who used to work there, said no. You can bring your plastics from home and leave them there! I do that constantly now.  All the 2 liter pop bottles, water bottles, juice bottles, milk cartons, plastic packaging, wrappers and well, basically everything plastic that is washable goes in my bag.  When I have filled a garbage bag we take it and drop it off when we go shopping.

I even use the garbage bags that were made from recycled plastic.  I certainly take the phrase "reduce, reuse and recycle" to heart.  It's about reducing so there may be some plastics that still end up in the trash or if I go to a restaurant that gives me Styrofoam I don't refuse it.  But we are certainly doing our part to reduce our waste, reuse our own dishes and items when feasible and recycle when we can.  I praise the Lord for the world He has made so I want to do my part to make sure that it is cared for properly.

The Lord owns the earth and all it contains, the world and all who live in it.
 (Psalm 24:1)
Since it is His, let us give it the respect and care it deserves.

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