Article by Kip Coerper, organist and choirmaster for St. James’ Episcopal Church in Skaneateles and 2021 GreenFaith Fellow. He will offer reflections on climate justice and caring for God’s creation in this space in the months ahead.
Psalm 147:7 –9
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
Make music to our God upon the harp.
He covers the heavens with clouds
And prepares rain for the earth;
He makes grass to grow upon the mountains
And green plants to serve mankind.
Do you believe this? Our earth is a blessing that provides us with an abundance of beauty and nourishment for our bodies and for our souls.
In last month’s article I talked about recycling. (Please note that each community has different restrictions on what can be recycled, so check with your local community. The suggestions I made last month were based on Onondaga County’s expectations). We recycle to reduce the amount of trash filling our landfills.
Most of us here in America have unwittingly entered in to a society that has grown at cosmic proportions. In the process of acquiring more and more, we have become hostage to an advertising behemoth that constantly pulls at us, without observing the consequences of our actions. All the material stuff in our life comes from somewhere and is discarded somewhere. That somewhere is God’s green earth. It is our responsibility to realize that and make choices that will care for God’s creation. To do that we must enter into a new consciousness.
How do we think about products we use? Can we borrow them? How much do we need them? Can we get one with less packing material? Can we get it locally produced? Is it possible to avoid toxic chemicals? All of these questions have to do with thinking about the effect on our environment of what we consume. Challenge your thinking. Do you turn off lights when you leave a room? Do you let gallons of water go down the drain while you are brushing your teeth, or while you turn and go to the refrigerator? Could you turn the shower off while soaping your body? Could you steam all the vegetables in one pot with the same water, rather than using separate pots and separate burners? Do you turn off your hot water heater when you go on vacation? Do you plan your errands to make one trip rather than three trips? Or could you walk or bike to pick up your purchase? How about sharing magazine or newspaper subscriptions with your neighbor? Or share your garden tools, including lawn mowers? Have you been to the local farmer’s market? The local produce is usually fresher, hence it has more nutritional value, tastes better, does not have unnecessary packing material, and has a low transportation cost involved with its production. And furthermore, you are supporting your local community in purchasing it.
These are all suggestions to simply raise our consciousness about how our actions affect our environment. We have the ability to control our impact on God’s kingdom by simply paying more attention to what we do and how we do it.
Here’s some more ideas:
- Check out your carbon footprint at carbonfootprint.com and enjoy the challenge of trying to improve God’s wonderful gift to us–our earth and environment.
- Visit creationcare.org.uk to learn about Creation Care, an organization created by scientists and faith leaders to encourage households to make environmental decisions that care for the earth.
- Visit climatechange-action.com to connect with Climate Change Action and Awareness, an organization centered locally in Syracuse. Their mission is to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere through individual and community education and action while supporting fair and just public policies and legislation.
- Visit edf.org to connect with the Environmental Defense Fund, a remarkably effective organization which looks at environmental issues from multiple points of view and enlists scientists, lawyers, business partners, and government officials to work together to address major environmental challenges.
- Visit creationjustice.org to connect with Creation Justice Ministries which educates, equips and mobilizes Christian communities, congregations, and individuals to protect, restore, and rightly share God’s creation.
“The Heaven of heavens is the Lord’s,
But He entrusted the earth to its people.”