I recently had the opportunity to spend several days in London listening to top theologians, business leaders, and scientists gather to discuss creation care–our responsibility to be intentional about caring for our planet. We were even invited to tour Highgrove, one of the homes of Prince Charles where we visited his organic farm before meeting him for tea. Throughout our time together as a group, the presentations and images presented were compelling, but they weren’t new for anyone in there. Or anyone reading this post.
It’s no secret that there’s an increase in climate disruptions taking place around the planet. Whether tornadoes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, or extreme lightening storms (like the that hit Denver on July 12, 2011), there’s an unmistakable sense that climate disruptions are on the rise. The question is whether or not you and I can do something about it. That issue is still a hot debate in our nation–though other countries have long since moved from debate to action on the issue.
For me, I had never seen the link between caring the environment and caring for the poor so clearly. I knew of the connection, but something stirred in my heart as I listened and learned. Sure, we recycle. We use energy efficient lightbulbs. We bought energy efficient appliances. We replaced our toilets with the water efficient models. We just had a whole home energy audit performed last month and we’re making decisions on what changes need to be made to our home. We’re making efforts to reduce our carbon footprint, but in my mind, the reason we did these things was because it’s good stewardship, it’s a good thing to do. But at the end of the day, it saves us money. It makes us feel good. It’s even part of our culture.
A better and I believe a more sustainable reason to do these things is founded in love–love of others. When I choose to become more energy efficient and environmentally sound, I’m making a conscious decision to use less so others can have more. And that’s meant to be more than a tagline.
Does my choice to use less energy somehow prevent a Burmese family’s home from being washed away by rising flood waters? Maybe. Maybe not. If it doesn’t, no harm done. We’ll simply have a lower electric bill the month. But if it does, then my energy choices are impacting someone’s life and livelihood. Loving my neighbor means becoming more intentional and thoughtful about the fact we’re sharing space with an increasing number of people on a very small planet.
And suddenly, the smallest decisions–whether turning off a light switch when leaving a room or being more diligent about what goes in the recycling bin–takes on new meaning. It’s not just a click or deposit, but a reflection of loving others. Motivated out of love of others, yes, some of whom are on the other side of the planet and I’ll never meet, my decisions and yours can have an impact….on ourselves and others.
What compels you to become more environmentally sound?
*Photo courtesy of here