Photo by Mark Ahsmann, Courtesy of Wikimedia
Litter in Paramaribo
Litter lines a gulley in Paramaribo.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything it it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths.” Psalm 24:1-2
Looking back on our trip to Yellowstone National Park, I still have a lot to process. We saw (viewed) a lot: mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, mountains, rivers, falls, people, geysers, beautiful flowers and scenery, etc. And after seeing a lot of trash at YNP and our local parks I have been stewing about careless humans who don’t clean up after themselves or are too lazy to find a trash can (which are generally everywhere in our parks).
I heard the story of the extinction of passengers pigeons and the near extinction of the bison and the wolf and the re-introduction of both and I ‘stewed’ about humans ‘not taking care of the creation’. Yesterday while driving back from Charlottesville a grocery bag was flying across the highway, and across windshields (blocking drivers view momentarily – very dangerous) and how it ended up on the front grate of our van, and I stewed over that litter. We live near a VDOT lot for snow plows and such and they have a sign out in front that says how much it costs our state government to clean up litter on the highways. I think its something like $25 million a year. And here we are trying to balance budgets and eek out a few more dollars for schools or feeding hungry people and providing health care. It makes my blood boil.
But we can view and stew or we can do….
In my journal I made a list of things that I saw YNP doing to ‘take care of the creation’:
- Concession stands use Earthware made of corn/corn starch and it is compostable
- Hotels had signs in our bathrooms saying – we use lots of water to wash towels, please consider using them more than once, etc…they did the same for changing your sheets
- there were recycling bins everywhere
- in the showers they had large containers of soap and shampoo hanging on the wall instead of giving us little ones in our rooms
- they encouraged the use of reusable water bottles
- they were encouraging the destruction of invasive species by asking everyone to fish for and take home the lake trout – if you didn’t take it home to eat you were encouraged to kill it so that native species could live
- they regulated where you fished so as to leave the fish hatcheries alone and give the fish some ‘safe’ places to be
- There were signs saying how once upon a time you could drink this spring water, but now it is contaminated….
I am sure they did many more things I forgot or didn’t write down or didn’t even see. Obviously they have lots of park rangers taking care of the park and animals etc. Many of the displays along the road and at the special sites had admonitions on caring for the earth and geysers and animals, etc.
But we don’t have to be a National Park or a park ranger to ‘do’. Any Covenant Discipleship Group I have been a part of had a ‘taking care of the earth’ clause. I used to carry a trash bag with me when I walked the dog so I could clean up our neighborhood. I need to get back to doing that again. At home we recycle our paper, cans, and some plastics. We are trying to use less energy by turning off lights, electronics at night, and raising the thermostat. Maybe some day we could put in solar heating. We have a rain barrel to catch and recycle the rain water on our backyard garden plants. We drive a prius to save gas. My husband regularly goes to the Fairfax County Green Breakfasts to learn more about how we can care for the earth as individuals but also what our county is doing to ‘save the earth’. We belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Waterpenny Farm – to support a local farmer – and to get good, fresh, organic veggies. Every little bit helps.
Each of us belongs somewhere – we have a network to which we contribute – be it work, or church, or pta, or homeowners association or neighborhood watch, or Boy Scouts or….. We can each work to save the earth through these connections. Our church, Silverbrook United Methodist and Retreat Center, is also ‘going green’ and so we can encourage our work and worship places to ‘go green’ as much as possible. The United Methodist Church has a group called Church and Society that you can reach via: http://www.umc-gbcs.org/site/c.frLJK2PKLqF/b.2794235/k.8FD2/Knowledge_Center.htm. This group takes on issues such as environment, clean fuel, no mountain top coal mining, etc. We can all join and support these type of groups to reach a wider audience and to be able to make a bigger impact. Or you can join a group like Interfaith and Light: http://interfaithpowerandlight.org/
And of course there is a lot we can do on the politic stage or in our neighborhoods and churches. One google search will probably bring up 50 ways to save the earth.
Jesus was a doer and a healer. I am sure he would encourage us on doing what we can, where we are at, to take care of and to heal the earth.
All of us can do something to care for the creation. We are to be caretakers of the earth God has ‘lent’ us”.
James 2:14 says: ‘What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them? AS the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.”
The life of the planet and the life of the people and the animals and the very souls of the people depend on living out our faith in ways that care for creation because in that we care for God and for our own spiritual well being.
Let’s DO…for the glory of God….