April 22 marks the observance of Earth Day this year, and in the interest of stewardship and global citizenship, it marks an opportunity to ponder the mystery that is the Earth and consider its majesty and fragility in individual actions and choices. Earth Day is a perfect example of thinking globally and acting locally, being mindful of stewardship- how everyday choices affect the environment.
Creation is not to be abused, but revered, because humans possess a unique responsibility to defend the Earth’s resources- “In wisdom has Earth been made, full of Creation.” (Psalm 104:24)
Like other holidays, Earth Day presents an opportunity to carry sacred values into everyday life throughout the year. Through teaching and social action, Earth Day can be celebrated every day.
Speaking to others on Ecotheology , our sacred duty to be good environmental stewards, is a great way to educate others and motivate them on implementing positive lifestyle changes. Exploring how global warming and pollution can be remedied through simple lifestyle changes that anyone can economically and practically implement at home or at the office is another crucial strategy:
Switch from incandescent light bulbs to eco-friendly CFL light bulbs. According to the Carbon Fund , switching over to CFL bulbs is one of the most beneficial and economical lifestyle changes one can make to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and also lower one’s electric bill. They have a sleek curly shape, and save more than two-thirds of the energy of a regular incandescent. Each bulb can save $40 or more over its lifetime.
Use public transportation, carpooling, bicycling, and walking as sustainable (and calorie-burning) ways to get around. You’ll drastically reduce your carbon footprint, save money on gas, and get in shape.
Go vegetarian . Switching to vegetarian meals is not only cheaper and healthier, but can also save you 3,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Also consider choosing fish and poultry over red meat- these not only have a lower carbon footprint, but are also lower in fat and cholesterol.
Adhere to the principles of recycling: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
This Earth Day, our family will be replacing all of the incandescent light bulbs in our home to CFL’s, and our family will be reducing our red meat intake to once a week, and incorporating more vegetarian meals into our diet.
Making these simple changes and choosing to educate others is our best hope for preserving our planet for future generations.
RaeLeann Smith, “Meat’s Not Green: This Earth Day, Go Vegetarian to Save the Planet,” Encyclopedia Britannica Blog
The Carbon Fund, “Reduce Your Carbon Footprint,” Save Energy, Reduce Carbon Emissions
Ursula Goodenough, The Sacred Depths of Nature (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. 170)