Earth Day is April 22, 2021. The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement is providing these tips as a tool to equip church members, families, and individuals to respond to God’s call to care for creation and do justice with our neighbors. For more about the UM Creation Justice Movement, go to umcreationjustice.org.
Through the waters of baptism, we are reminded of God’s renewing grace and gift of water that literally keeps us alive. Working to keep water safe, clean and available to all is a sacred trust. March 22, 2021, was World Water Day (worldwaterday.org). At home visit watercalculator.org, or to learn more, browse “ocean conservation organizations.”
Learn about water.
Switch from paper towels to washable, reusable cloth ones.
Doing so, you save trees, which are one of God’s natural systems for cleaning the planet, and you avoid adding to landfills, which not only contribute to global warming but also to environmental injustice because they degrade the lives of people who are stuck living near them.
Stop wearing plastic.
Are you surprised? Did you know that synthetic fibers from clothing are a significant contributor to microplastic pollution, especially in waterways and the oceans? Go back to nature — wool, cotton, silk, and even bamboo and hemp. Remember plastic doesn’t go away.
Research has proven pesticides and other chemicals used in industrial farming are not good for us or the planet. In contrast, organic farmers don’t pollute the air or groundwater. They protect pollinators and livestock, and they are making inroads toward changing farming practices for the better. When you buy from them, you support them and the earth that feeds us.
Start a garden inside.
If you can, involve children or grands in the endeavor, planting seeds in cups or pots. Copy and place the verse 1 Corinthians 3:6 by the pots. As you talk and work together, you will be growing not only food and flowers, but also a new generation that loves nature and wants to care for it — because you do! If need be, make showing your far-away young gardeners the progress of the plants a part of a weekly Zoom.
Work for justice.
With COVID-19 and other life circumstances, we cannot always do all that we see is needed for creation justice. However, nonprofit organizations are still at work. Are you concerned about environmental justice, the need for trees, care for oceans, safe habitats for endangered species? Browse the Internet for groups that have boots on the ground. Donate so they can succeed in caring for God’s planet and people.
If you live in an apartment or condo complex, do they have recycling service? Are they planting trees? Or switching to LED lights? If not, advocate for God’s creation. Gather a Green Team of residents who care, educate the other residents and lobby for change. Drive less. The No. 1 contributor to climate change is the drastic increase in the last 70 years in greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) for electricity, heat and transportation. Drive less AND advocate for new laws at local, state and federal levels that shift us to renewable energy sources.Start small. Feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be done to protect the planet and its people? Imagine a huge bowl of something you’d like to eat. You take a bite and then another bite — but not the whole thing at once. Choose one action you can do and do it. Don’t stop there. Take on another “bite” and then another. Invite others to join you. You are making a difference.