In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would do a repost on why I am trying to pursue a sustainable lifestyle. This is a post from almost two years ago and it is quite interesting for me to revisit! I hope that you enjoy it and that you all have a lovely and ‘green’ Earth Day.
Originally posted on 10/16/2008.
I don’t know that I’ve taken the time to explain why I think it’s important for me to live a life that honors the planet so I thought I’d take a (long) moment and reflect on my learning/growing experience over the last year or so.
When I was young, I had a great 3rd Grade teacher that taught me about the environment. We learned a lot about ecosystems, endangered species, the three ‘R’s’ (Renew, Recycle, Reuse) etc. I think that is where it all began for me. As I grew up, this interest lay dormant. I partially think it didn’t surface because it wasn’t ‘cool’ and we all know how hard we strive for coolness in middle school and high school. Well, this began to change as I hit college. The degree I choose (Landscape Architecture) had a strong sustainable aspect to it. This began to awaken the interests I had for the environment as a child, but in college, it was coupled with a strong faith. I think everyone knows about the poor record of the church and the environment (conservative Christian = republican = DRILL DRILL DRILL!) and I felt pretty disheartened about the internal conflict I had with my desire to ’save the environment’ and what I saw being modeled for me in the faith community.
I sometimes listen to podcasts at work and on one particular day I was listening to the Mars Hill Church podcast, where Rob Bell turned the pulpit over to Matthew Sleeth. Matthew Sleeth is an environmentalist. A CHRISTIAN environmentalist. Not only that, but he’s sane, well spoken and educated. After listening to his 3 or 4 podcasts, I felt strongly convicted of living a selfish life. I had the American attitude of convenience, disposability and entitlement. I never thought about my actions having a negative effect on someone else’s life. I had believed what had been drilled into my generation’s head, that I should do whatever makes me happy. Greatly impacted, I bought Sleeth’s book, Serve God, Save the Planet. It sounds ridiculous, but this book helped to change my heart and the way I was living my life.
Sleeth’s approach to this issue is not one of gloom and doom. He gently brings to light issues and consequences that you may not have considered in your life and suggests why that behavior may need to be changed. He also competantly reveals the spiritual side of living a life that protects the planet; he called my attention to many actions I was participating in that would ultimately affect the ‘least of these’ (Matthew 25:35-40).
Utimately, I believe that it is important to live a sustainable life because the way you live affects other people and most often it affects those that don’t have the financial or medical ability to take care of themselves. The definition of sustainability is ‘meeting the needs of today’s generation without compromising the needs of the generations of the future’. In other words, caring about people, even if they are future people. I don’t believe that a selfish life is a fulfilling life and living sustainably means living selflessly. If you believe Christ, then you have been called to live a life that loves others the way you love yourself. I believe that you can show people love by showing the planet love and in an age that is disillusioned with the Christ followers of the world, love can still speak above those preconceptions.
I know there is a lot of gloom and doom out there (especially about the destruction of our environment), and often I feel crippled by the lack of care/motivation and the depth of depravity that exists in our world today. But I believe that by living with less, living with concern and love I can begin to show love to people in a way that is tangible and real, which is the way I believe I should live my life.
And that, my friends, is why I pursue ‘environmentalism’. There is no political motive in me, just a love of people and hope of communicating that love . What is the driving force behind you living a ‘green’ lifestyle?