Resources For Individual And Household:
Being good stewards of God’s creation is a calling each of us have, both as individuals and as households. Here are some simple things that you can do.
- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle and Compost
- Walk, bike or take public transit when possible
- Make your home more energy efficient
- Purchase and use environmentally friendly products
- Purchase energy efficient appliances and cars
- Care for green spaces around your home and in your community
- Eat locally grown food when possible and eat meat less often
- Learn what your ecological foot print is or how much greenhouse gas you contribute and try to reduce it
- Stay involved and get informed
Let us know what you are doing to practice your stewardship of creation
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are three central practices of our stewardship of creation. For many of our grandparents, the three Rs were simply a part of life, a part of how a person would care for the limited resources they had. Now we must relearn these old lessons.
Reduce: In a world that continuously tells us to always have more, to reduce what we have and consume offers a prophetic response to our consumer society. It also has deep roots in our faith. In the call to reduce we hear echoes of Jesus’ call to sell all that we have, give it to the poor and follow him. We hear the wisdom of the many saints who saw that chosen poverty and simplicity was essential for finding God and experiencing the joy and freedom of the Gospel. Today it has a new wisdom, for in reducing what we consume we reduce the amounts of wastes that creation must absorb and we create a space in creation for others. The next time you are about to buy something ask these questions “Do I, or the other person I am buying this for, really need this? Is there another product that would do the same thing but more sustainably? Will this last a long time? Do I know how this item was made, how it will be used and how it will be disposed of? Where was this made and under what circumstances? Are the materials used to make this renewable and have they been harvested in a sustainable manner?” (Greenpeace, 2007). Reducing is the most important thing we can do to reduce our waste, but if we can’t reduce the next option is . . .
Reuse: Our disposable society always tempts us to see what we have as not good enough, out of style, or used up. Reusing challenges us to look at what we have as a gift. How can what we have be cherished, reused, or renewed to be used in different ways. This takes practice. When you purchase an item, take into account how long you can use it and in how many different ways. Learn how to repair what you have. Ignore fashion. If you can’t use it any more, can someone else? If so, share it. When something can’t be used for its original purpose, be creative and find new ways to use what you already have. But if you can’t reuse it then . . .
Recycle: Recycling is far from perfect. Recycling an item requires energy and often pollutes, but it is far better then simply disposing of items. Thus recycling remains an essential part of our stewardship of creation. So find out what you can recycle in your community, what you need to do to recycle and start recycling. If your community doesn’t have recycling programs or a blue box program talk to your local government and encourage them to begin. Recycling, in the long run makes sense, both environmentally and economically.
Compost: Composting is nature’s way of recycling. Composting is an organic process by which organic wastes become food for other organisms, which in turn break down the wastes, releasing their nutrients to be used again. Not only does it cut down on wastes that go into landfills, compost is also great for your garden. The following sitecontains further information on composting or see Greenpeace’s tips for composting.
For more information see:
Our cars are major polluters. Not only do their emissions contribute to global warming and air pollution, but their manufacture and disposal both use up additional resources and release toxins into our environment. Just think about how much land has been covered by pavement so that we can drive where we want! Reducing how much we drive makes a big impact. So what can we do?
- Whenever possible walk or bike – not only does it save the environment, but it helps us stay in shape and as we see our neighbours and communities at this slower pace, we help to build our communities.
- Take public transit – an important part of reducing our reliance on cars. It is so important that our Federal government will provide tax credits for transit passes. Give it a try. Buy a transit pass and see what it is like to live car free for a week.
- Car pool – We have to face it. Many of our cities are designed for cars and rural areas involve distance which requires cars. So when possible car pool. Get in the habit of picking up the neighbours for church or to get groceries. If you live by a co-worker, protect the environment and cut down on commuting costs and car pool.
Further information is available on David Suzuki’s Challenge Page.
The homes we live in have a significant impact on our environment at the same time they are one of places that we have both the opportunity and the responsibility to be good stewards of creation. So what can you do?
- Buy Energy Star rated appliances.
- Buy and use a programmable thermostat and turn down the heat or air-conditioning when you are not at home.
- Use compact fluorescent lights.
- Add insulation to your house and fix air leaks.
- Reduce your hot water use.
For more tips on reducing your home energy consumption see:
- The Government of Canada’s web site
- The Office of Energy Efficiency
- Tips from the David Suzuki Foundation
Most Canadians purchase and use a wide range of products in their everyday lives. These include everything from food to cleaning products. So when you purchase and use these things, think about the environment. Here are some things you can do:
- Buy organic foods.
- Avoid toxic cleaners. To find other cleaning alternatives see Greenpeace’s Basic Ingredients and Basic Recipes
- Avoid using pesticides. For alternatives to pesticides see tips from Greenpeace and The David Suzuki Foundation
For most of us our life styles and demands placed on our life require us to use cars and appliances. We can still care for creation by purchasing energy efficient appliances and cars. This can make a big difference. For tips on more energy efficient cars and driving habits see these resources from The David Suzuki Foundation. For information on appliances see Energy Star.
An important place to begin our stewardship of creation is by being good stewards of the creation that we find right around us. Look around your home and community what needs some care. Here are some things you can do.
- Walk around your community; identify green spaces, and what is needed to care for them.
- If you live by an abandoned lot join with others is your community to clean it up.
- Clean the garbage out of nearby green spaces.
- Plant a garden, garden it using organic practices and use it as an opportunity to teach your children about being good stewards of creation.
- Plant native and drought resistant plants, then water less.
- Plant trees.
- Avoid using pesticides.
For more tips on caring for the environment while caring for your yard visit Greenpeace.
On average our meals travel roughly 2,400 km from field to plate. That is a long way to go to eat. Not only does that mean that getting our food to our plate requires the release of greenhouse gasses, it also means that our food has to be treated so that it can survive the journey. Buying local produce means that we can reduce transportation, and at the same time support our local farmers. Click here for 10 reasons to buy local food.
Eating meat also has a major impact on our environment. Producing meat requires lots of land, for grazing and to raise crops to feed livestock and poultry. It also requires lots of water, and run off from feedlots is a growing problem. This doesn’t mean we all need to become vegetarians, but reducing how much meat we eat can be an important way that we care for creation. To learn more visit The David Suzuki Foundation.
Caring for creation is a life long calling. So it is important to stay involved and get informed. Here are some ways you can do this: