My favorite lens through which to view all this "God talk" is liberation theology which exams what God is up to based on the experience of the poor, oppressed and marginalized. Another concern of this field is ecojustice and looking at how we should be treating the world we’ve been blessed with. Sometimes I forget that not everyone in the world is as environmentally conscious as my family and community back in Colorado, but I've run into some folks who are flat out against recycling, Christians and non-Christians alike. I remember talking to people in Colorado Springs who stated that there is no need to take care of the earth since it is just a temporary habitat for us, while our true home is in Heaven with Jesus. One of those folks from my college days was kind enough to remind me of this viewpoint in her Facebook update (which basically hated on Earth Day).
Their argument kind of seems legit, but here's the thing I'm hung up on: Creation matters to God and it should matter to us. Why would God go through the trouble of creating such an intricate and beautiful world and give us permission to destroy it? I think most would agree that we should take care of our bodies, nourishing them and avoiding harmful toxins. I haven’t heard any Christians encouraging the use of drugs or saying that obesity is a good thing. Why is there an embrace for taking care of our bodies but such a stigma attached to concern for the environment? And also, it seems like a lot of the damage we do to the world, directly affects those marginalized and impoverished people who are stuck living in the filthy urban mess we create. In Galatians, Paul tells us that we are mutually indebted to one another and that means we must consider the needs of others above our own. I don't think we (America in particular) are doing a very good job of that.
Never before have I been so aware of the footprint I’m leaving on this earth. Perhaps it is the Michael Pollen books I’ve read or documentaries I’ve seen or just the fact that I’m from Colorado where there are still bits of undeveloped, unpolluted paradise. I feel like my eyes have been opened to this major problem that I and everyone around me is guilty of contributing to. I’ve become inspired by a few friends who are incredibly concerned for the environment and I’ve followed their lead by making a few small changes in my habits, baby steps if you will. I don't like to brag, but I'm going to anyway: I'm much "greener" this year than ever before and damn proud of it!
I’ve ventured over to the dark side and I fear there is no turning back. I am a vegetarian. I didn’t really mean for it to happen, it just sort of did. I heard the reports about how the meat industry is the largest contributor to greenhouse gases and was appalled. So I gave up buying meat to cook at home. Then I gave up ordering it at restaurants. Now I don’t think I’ll eat it at friends’ houses. The Hebrew word for flesh is transliterated as “basar” and the way that I remember the translation is that it sounds like bizarre as in “how bizarre to eat flesh!”
I’m riding my bike more. I hope to start riding to work now that the weather is nice and it is getting dark later. Last week I rode it to the grocery store, then to dinner with a friend and then to the pet store to buy dog food. Turns out it is really hard to ride with a 40 lb bag of dog food in the crate, but I managed to make it work after three failed attempts. To those who were watching me in the parking lot: you’re welcome. Glad you found my stupidity entertaining.
I am now a proud owner of the Wheatsville Co-op, a local alternative to the big box grocery stores. They promote environmentally conscience shopping and buy from local vendors. Can’t wait to start going to the Farmer’s Market. I’ve decided to use reusable bamboo towels rather than paper towels. No more using the dishwasher, disposable feminine hygiene products and incandescent light bulbs. I hope to wean off of the clothes dryer, but that is tricky living in an apartment complex with limited space to hang clothes to dry.
With all of these positives, it is hard to believe there are consequences. I realize that a lot of “environmentally conscious” actions have negative affects as well. For instance the organic bananas may be better for the earth, but they and other organic products could potentially be harvested by slave labor to counterbalance the cost of production. And while it is great to buy fair trade or fair trade plus in order to ensure fair wages for the farmers and growers, it is nicer on the environment to buy locally. So what is to be done? How do we decide between which “cause” to support or protest? I don’t have any answers other than ones that are extreme and unrealistic. It seems like the best solution is for all of us to do the best we can to make small changes that will make a huge impact.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Friday, April 9, 2010
No, I haven't redecorated. This is what happens when you buy assembly required furniture, disassemble it, drive it across the country and reassemble it in your new apartment. Said furniture will decide to collapse causing quite a raucous at 3am when you are peacefully sleeping.
This was the first moment when I felt even remotely afraid since moving here to Austin. I sat up in a panic thinking someone was breaking into my apartment, and had to nudge Chloe to wake up and go investigate. Good thing she isn't called to be a watch dog, given her pitiful efforts last night. Miraculously nothing was damaged (big relief since my bike is parked in front of it) and I think I can even salvage half of the shelving unit.
The funniest part of this situation is that this mess will likely remain this way for a least a few days if not weeks until this semester is over. Tonight a friend told me about women who, following trauma in their lives, get some weird motivation to move all of the furniture around in their house. She and I agreed this is bizarre behavior, since I am usually paralyzed after trauma. Not that this semester is traumatic or anything...