So, after listening to today's sermon at church, I was reminded of why, ultimately, we've made the decision to live as green as our budget allows and why we're as thrifty as we are. It's not about the savings, although that's great, and it's not about the "warm fuzzies", although those are nice too... it's about stewardship.
We live in such a consumer driven, "throw away" culture, that sometimes we forget that people weren't necessarily intended to live this way. We were given a gift of "dominion" over the earth, and that certainly shouldn't mean that we trash it for future generations. In our lives, this means that we take care of what we have, including the property and land that's around us, and try to create a space that we enjoy, and through that, God enjoys. That also means that we give back to God and the community what we can, taking care of others along the way.
For us, taking care of others includes tithing with our church, using our coupons to purchase items for the local food pantry, supporting worthy nonprofits (sometimes through gifts in honor of someone else--we'll talk about this in a later post), and providing for the land and animals that are in our lives. This is part of the reason that we support local business as much as we do, especially our friends who raise animals as livestock, because we know that they are providing those animals a good life while they're here. It's part of why we want to raise our own chickens, not only to have fresh eggs, but to know that the chickens are living good, happy (I assume chickens are happier having some space to run and clean nesting boxes) lives while they're here, and so they'll return that with great eggs that will feed us. It's also why we want to keep bees, to provide a ready source of pollination for crops and flowers, while providing the bees a safe and plentiful habitat. They'll return the favor one day with honey for us... and who doesn't love honey?!
We budget so that we know we'll be able to take care of our children (one day) in a way that is somewhat a reflection of our relationship with God; enjoyable, although trying at times. It's important for us to be able to save some so that we're not always stressed, living paycheck to paycheck, as many families do. This savings offers us a sense of security, and it also means that when we see a need, we have some means to respond to that. Living within our means is a critical part of stewardship for us, showing that we're responsible with the funds our jobs provide us.
Living green for us is a way to be good stewards of the earth beyond our property. It means that we keep our water as clean as possible, so that it's cleaner later in the water cycle. Since we know that only about 1% of the water on earth is drinkable, it's key for us to conserve this. We're so blessed to live in a place where we don't have to worry about having clean water, so we try to support organizations, such as Wine to Water, that make this a reality for others. We recycle because it saves landfill space, which we're rapidly running out of in this country, and it means that we're being better stewards of these limited resources. It's important to us to purchase recycled content products because that shows companies that it's important, which means they will eventually produce more things using recycled content, rather than using up valuable natural resources. We're careful to use every part of the food that we have because we know we're blessed to have it, so even the stuff that goes into our compost will nourish us again this spring and summer as it provides nutrients to our garden. Buying what we can organically is another way to show commercial America that we care about what chemicals are put onto and into the earth, and our bodies, and it means that we feel better, both physically and mentally, as a result of those purchases.
So, not to preach at ya, but I hope this has provided you some time to reflect. (I'm not trying to call anyone out or pat ourselves on the back.) How can you change a few small things in your life to be a better steward? (We purchased recycled content toilet paper and organic milk yesterday.) What are you already doing to be a good steward of the gifts you have? (We compost, supply the food pantry, and provide our animals and plants happy, healthy homes, among other things.) How can you influence others in your world to make more thoughtful decisions? (I wrote this post for you.)
Sharin' the green love.