Tuesday, July 15, 2008

On Green Living

My husband is an environmental attorney and while that has spurred on our interest in green living it has not dictated it. We are conservative, pro-life Christians and you don't often hear of environmental awareness accompanying our views - I think that is too bad. While we perhaps don't agree with some of the hyped problems (and resulting solutions), we do know that as Christians we have been given the responsibility of stewardship here on earth. When God created man, He gave us dominion over the earth and gave direct commands to care for and subdue the earth. I hardly see how this doesn't directly apply to us today. It is an undeniable fact that pollution, waste, and chemicals are at an all time high. Sometimes (maybe often) these go so far as to effect people's home, lives, and health (all are my husband's area of work) and yet, we often continue to deny that it has anything to do with us personally.

While we've been somewhat conscious of all of this, we became very convicted of our personal responbility last year. The 6th commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill," which also means, "Thou shalt preserve life." So our journey in green living started with that realization. We have a responsibility to decrease our physical impact on this earth that God has given us to live on. We are still figuring out what this means. We are not vegans or vegatarians, we do still drive an SUV and a mini-van, we do not "hug trees", but we do desire to make practical changes that will lower our impact on the physical world.

Some of the things we are trying to do:
  • buy locally as much as possible
  • grow/produce some of our own food
  • take reusable bags to the store or (if we forget) reuse or recycle the bags we do get
  • use nalgenes for portable water rather than bottled water
  • leave our a/c (when on) set higher
  • turn off lights
  • multitask with the oven
  • wash clothes on cold more
  • convert to non-chemical cleaners (in process)
  • switch to eco-friendly laundry soap (does an awesome job and smells great!)
  • use a reel mower
  • drive less
  • donate
  • recycle newspapers, cans, bottles, and plastic
  • buy used
  • teach our children how to be better stewards

Some things we are planning to do:
  • start a compost (we've kind of done this)
  • buy recycled paper goods when we do need/want them
  • use cloth diapers at least some of the time (I can't believe I'm saying that!) if we are blessed with more children
  • use newspaper instead of paper towels in the kitchen and for cleaning
  • switch to cloth napkins
  • buy a hybrid car (eventually - it would not be good stewardship to do this right now :))

I would contend that most of those changes have very little impact on the convenience of daily living. Some of them may take a little extra time but in the long run, I know it's worth it. We don't obsess over green living and sometimes we fail more often than we succeed but we do try. We are enjoying this journey and finding it fun to see where else we can make changes. I'm thankful for my husband's leadership, encouragement, excitement, and research that have really pushed us to think beyond ourselves. He has challenged our family to make changes, read books, look ahead, and most of all to honor God.

We had a wonderful time at the Green Festival in Chicago (back in May) and while we didn't agree with everything, we learned alot. It was an interesting gathering of people from all types of backgrounds. I think as we make changes and are committed to conservation, we gain a hearing with many people. It's another way to be a witness since our reasons for green living are usually a little different than the average eco-friendly person. I offer this post as the reason we have chosen greener living and as a challenge to those who haven't given it much thought - neither had we until recent years. You can make a difference with a little effort and a little change.


Merrilee said...

Have you ever heard of the book "Gorgeously Green"?
I'm in the process of reading it and so far, I'm really enjoying it. The author contends that if we can each do one thing each day to improve the environment, we have a far greater impact than we realize. Also, to live green doesn't mean that you have to a tree-hugging hippie but just someone who is aware of their impact on the earth. It's really good!

Alaina said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I've not read it but it looks great - I'll definitely be checking it out!

Thad & Ann said...

We have been doing quite a bit to be more "green". I have to be honest & say that most of what I do is for the money it saves. :) I love the topic & it's so fun to get new ideas. :)

Cloth Dipes aren't as bad as you would think. :) I did quit using them when Gunnar outgrew the Bumgenius, I tried so many different kinds/systems & the Bungenius were the best. I will be using cloth if/when we have another baby, Thad doesn't like them at.all. so I now I will be changing the icky diapers. They do save ALOT of money, although it took me a bit to find out what worked best with my front loader to get the suckers clean. :) I bought mine used on diaperswappers.com, that is a great place to get a good deal. I just "stripped" the dipes & they worked great.

Jen said...

Excellent post Alaina!

Chris and Gretchen said...

I can second what Ann said. Cloth diaps are much easier than you think. We use BumGenius too and love them! I also used gDiapers too. I would use cloth inserts with the gpant instead of the flushable.