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Living Green


I am hardly one qualified to talk about politics. I wish I knew more about them so that I could make informed decisions. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never even voted once in my life as I left my home nation of Canada when I was fourteen and haven’t been back (except for short, wonderful visits) since. However, I must say that the Green Party intrigues me. If I didn’t disagree with a lot of their “moral” issues, I’d probably vote green. I think I’d actually be in an awful conundrum if I did vote because with every party I know about, I agree with half their views and disagree with the other half. I think my only solution is to start my own party. Hmmm… maybe I’ll call it The Living Green Party—LGP for short. Okay, enough about politics. Like I said, I don’t really have any soapbox to stand on there.
Voting “Green” is one thing, but I really think that more important than who you vote for is how you live—in this case, living “Green” (just to warn you beforehand, I’m more extreme on this view than the average North American; however, I’m not an extremist by “their” standards). I am passionate about recycling. One thing I loved about living in San Francisco is that the city also is passionate about this issue. One has four bins for separating their refuse: 1) trash, 2) recyclable plastics, 3) cans and glass, and 4) compost. Compost includes such things as leftover food, rinds, peels, and even coffee grounds. Living here in India is hard for me as there doesn’t seem to be a way to recycle. I feel my gut turn as I go to throw out perfectly good recyclable plastic and glass bottles. I can’t bring myself to throw them in with the trash so I separate them. It may be futile, but hopefully somehow, somewhere, they are being recycled in one way or another. Recycling is a great way to live green: there is hardly any personal inconvenience involved, most of the work is done for us, and we are helping to put a stop to waste. Most wealthier countries make it pretty much as easy as taking out the garbage. In my opinion, everyone who is given the opportunity to recycle should.
Another thing I feel strongly about, but consider more of a personal conviction, is using cloth diapers. I change Aria’s diaper six to seven (if not more) times a day. That equals180 – 210 diapers a month—imagine the amount of diaper garbage that is accumulated over a year! And then there is the cost incurred for such a vast amount of diapers. Using cloth diapers is not only a great way to cut down on garbage, but it is also a way parents can save a lot of money. There is the initial cost of getting everything (around 2 dozen diapers, diaper covers, and pins), but you can reuse them over and over again and each child you have can use those same diapers—maybe by kid number six or seven you may have to get replacements.;-) There is definitely more work involved when it comes to using cloth diapers. It takes time and effort. In some cases, it’s not practical. After all, many mothers work and most children’s care facilities won’t deal with cloth diapers. Other people do their laundry at Laundromats and therefore, it is far more difficult to have to think about washing diapers. When I lived in the States, I did about half and half. Here in India, cloth diapers are pretty much a given and only wealthier people can afford disposables as they are even more costly here than in the States. So Aria’s wearing exclusively cloth. A big reason is, of course, not wanting to spend the money. But the more I use cloth diapers, the more I see that it is doable, and that this is something I can do to help the environment. I have to wash them by hand, but it really isn’t that hard. Something worth considering…
I’m also passionate about the way forests are cared for. I’m not against loggers or using wood as a commodity, but I am against the cutting of old growth forests. When John and I were with Prodigal Project and were staying a few days at their community in the Redwoods, it was appalling to see big trucks drive by with HUGE trees cut up and bundled onto them. Some wouldn’t even fit on just a single truck. These trees are hundreds of years old and our great grandchildren’s great grandchildren will never see the like of them if we allow them to be harvested. I don’t know what I personally can do about this without becoming a tree-sitter (like some people I’ve met). But I will speak out against it whenever the opportunity arises.
There are so many other ways of living green: buying organic food when possible (it’s more costly than regular food, but so much better for the environment and for the body), carpooling, turning off lights and fans when not in the room (I’m weak in this area!), walking or cycling when possible, instead of driving, shopping and donating to goodwill and thrift stores, I really could go on and on.
Mossy RocksBeing lovers of God and people who are concerned about spiritual things is no excuse for us to turn a blind eye to things that we can do to help protect the earth God’s given us. Like us, creation was subject to frustration, but “will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Romans 8:21) Have you ever thought about the earth that way? Just because we know that Christ is returning to make all things new does not give us excuse to abuse what he has given us. Who are we to say when he returns? It could be tomorrow or it could be three hundred or more years from now. We are called to do our part.
I will end with a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Return of the King that states the way of things perfectly: “Other evils there are that may come;… Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”

3 Responses to “Living Green”

  1. Tara Hills
    April 15th, 2006 12:04

    I love your heart Rachel…sweet; like fresh air. I savored the whole post…food for thought. Thank you.


    ps. I’ll get those measurements tomorrow! We went on a road trip the past few days…

  2. AWHall
    April 17th, 2006 22:01

    Hey Rachel – great thoughts. One of the most frustrating things about living “green” is that so many products that we throw into the recycling bin end up being taken to the dump.

    While we can’t get too many organic foods here, we enjoy “grow your own” food. And one of our largest green projects is composting. Each week we compost 3-4 pails filled with food scraps (not meat of course!).

    Oh, by the way – If you start the Living Green Party, you’ll have my vote.

  3. Rachel
    April 18th, 2006 11:40

    They get taken to the dump?!? That stinks! Down with plastics! Just kidding (sort of );-)
    Hey, growing your own food is awesome. I want to do that someday when I have the spot, though I shudder as I wonder whether my plants will live or not. As much as I’d like to have a green thumb, it isn’t convinced it wants to be green! I remember the compost at your parent’s old home in Thunder Bay… a fabulous place! Glad to be related.:-)

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