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November 25, 2006

But What Can One Do?

Jim’s post below has spurred me to set down a few, seemingly trivial yet concrete actions I have taken to reduce my negative impact on the earth.

First, to restate the problem, regardless of Global Warming, it cannot be gainsaid that (i) landfill space is not infinite, (ii) fossil fuels will run out, and (iii) tailpipe and smokestack emissions, however much scrubbed, have a negative health impact and mar our surroundings. It is possible, as well, that average global temperatures are rising caused, however much, by fossil fuel burning.

Second, as a Christian, I must also give thought to God’s call on me to be good steward of His creation. This is true both for the present and for the future. Regardless of your eschatological beliefs, it is quite possible that our great grandchildren will live to see our leavings. I contend that we ought also to take some thought of what we bequeath to them.

Thus, it behooves Christians and non-Christians alike to give thought to how their everyday actions can change our earth for the better, or worse. Even if all you do is little, you have at least done that. If we all do a little bit, it could perhaps add up to a lot.

Here are some things I have done. I do not pass them on as things that everybody can or will want to do. I only provide them as examples of small things that can be done, if a little forethought is given to one's actions:

• I bring my lunch to work in a re-useable lunchbag. This enabled me to stop buying, and throwing away, paper bags.
• I bring my sandwiches, etc. in Tupperware. This has reduced dramatically my use of disposable Ziploc bags.

• I shave with a straight razor. This enabled me to stop buying, and throwing away, around 40 razor heads a year. Small, yes. But, then again, all those semi-sharp blades aren’t out there cluttering up some landfill.
• I use a high-quality hard soap for my shaving lather, and I use a brush. This has enabled me to stop buying, and throwing away, approximately 15-20 metal cans of shaving cream a year. I have had my current bar for four months and have barely made a dent in it.
• I have asked to take my Mars Hill Audio magazine subscription in downloadable form, rather than the CD form. This avoids having to deal with six CDs a year, plus their cases.
• We have started using cloth napkins for dinner rather than paper napkins.

None of the foregoing has had a negative impact on our lifestyle. Indeed, some of the changes have been enjoyable, and saved some money to boot. Take shaving with a straight razor. I enjoy it and it gives me a bit of a connection with the way my forefathers shaved. I suspect I could change still more and not negatively impact my lifestyle.

So, what little can you do?

Posted by Mark at November 25, 2006 12:52 AM