Monday, March 25, 2013

One more week...

Lent is almost over, and as a concluding point, let us remember to "Learn from God to create and not destroy.  Be mindful that destruction shows a lack of respect towards our Creator and each other" (2013 Lenten Care for Creation Calendar).  We put forth great effort to teach our children from an early age to respect others; let us not forget that the Earth is a living, breathing being who deserves our respect as well.

Maundy Thursday:  Baptism can and should take on a different meaning for us if we consider how we have desecrated the world's waters with toxins.  We knowingly, willingly, baptize ourselves in these waters, immersion in toxic rather than healing waters.

Good Friday:  Fast from violence...thoughts, words and deeds against each other and against our world.

Easter:  Rejoice.  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son... 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Lenten Care for Creation Considerations March 17-23

As I went through the Lenten Care for Creation calendar for this week, I thought again about how many good ideas this organizational planner holds.  Here are four that were particularly noteworthy to me this week.

1.  Put out some bird food.  Anywhere.  The birds will find it.  You don't have to have a fancy-dancy bird feeder (or over 30 as my mom does) in order to make an impact with wild life.  Cracked corn...sunflower seeds...nijer seed...peanut butter slathered on all works.  This one is easy and anyone can do it regardless of urban or rural setting.

2.  Another easy reminder is to unplug unused electronics as much as possible.  Granted, you might be disinclined to unplug your tv every time you turn it off, but it's certainly not an inconvenience to unplug any of the multitude of chargers households are accumulating now.

3.  We've all heard of Meatless Mondays by now, right?  How about Fasting Fridays where you fast from multiple car trips for one day a week.  Is it possible?  It certainly seems reasonable, and it's okay if it's something of a sacrifice, right?  This is Lent after all.

4.  Along the same vein, perhaps we can collectively be more mindful of supporting local eating establishments, even if it's just once a week.  If you're someone who eats out regularly throughout the week, it is certainly something to consciously consider.  Would you really miss the chain restaurant?

I find myself trying to qualify many of the ideas and reminders that I put on here as "oh, this one is easy..." insofar as I'm trying to not scare people away.  But I realized that in typing this today, that's really part of the purpose.  Care for Creation is often a sacrifice, but that's okay.  We wouldn't think twice in sacrificing something small and easy to do for someone we love; why would we think any less of our love for the Earth?  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lenten Care for Creation Calendar

My Lenten commitment to writing weakly about the Lenten Care for Creation Calendar has gone awry.  However, my intent is to get going while the going is still able.  So here we go for the week of March 10-16. 

This information comes from a special Lenten Care for Creation calendar that was "designed by the Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation as one way you can creatively prepare for Easter this year." 

The calendar begins the week with the suggestion to "Visualize one of your most spiritually meaningful landscapes.  Let God fill your heart with this gift.  In quiet and prayer, let God bring you peace through this landscape."  I can think of no better imagery that can be conjured to help us individually focus our minds and intentions on preparing and renewing the Earth.

Many of us are indifferent to, apathetic about, or ignorant of ways that we can advocate for Earth-friendly laws and regulations.  Regardless of "large scale" commitment, we can all do the small things, which is a decided focus taken from this week's calendar.

Commit to becoming cognizant of water waste through drips and leaks.

Commit to using lighting energy effectively and recognizing lighting waste.

Commit to cloth napkins/towels in lieu of paper.

Commit to caring for your car; adjust tire pressure if necessary to avoid wasting gas.

Any or all of these is probably easier to commit to than you might otherwise think.  For example, our household only uses paper towels to clean up after our cats.  This week, I discovered that a damp cloth and a quick scrub works just as well on our carpeted areas.  That's it--no chemicals and no paper waste.  And since we keep a stash of old dishcloths and other stained up cloths handy in a closet, it's no harder to grab a cloth than it is a paper towel.

Lent is a season of renewal; perhaps you will be willing to challenge your commitment to renew your pledge of fostering a well Earth.   

Monday, January 21, 2013

Creative re-purposing

I came across this article recently, and thought that this is the perfect time to put this up here for others to consider.  (I summarizing the ideas quickly, so if you're interested in more specifics, check out the site.  It goes into more detail on many of these.)  Personally, I find this timely considering the increased amount of coffee that my household has been drinking lately with the cold weather.  And I'm also curious: does anyone have any other useful tips?

Creatively re-purposing used coffee grounds & tea leaves

1.   Used coffee grounds or tea leaves/tea bags can help remove food smells from your hands before washing them with soap & water. 

2.  Tea can shine up a wood floor or wood furniture.

3.  Coffee grounds can get rid of garden pests like ants and slugs (and cats!).

4.  Used coffee grounds work as a natural abrasive for cookware.  Soaking a greasy piece of cookware with a used tea bag is another way to make clean-up much easier.

5.  We all knew that some plants flourish when fertilized with coffee grounds, right??  Tea can provide some good nourishment, too for plants that have less acidic needs.

6.  Tea soaked toes (sandal season is coming sooner than you think!)...

7.  Used coffee grounds (completely dried) placed in an open container in the fridge is even cheaper than a box of baking soda.

8.  Crafty?  Coffee makes for a quick and cheap natural dye.

9.  There are a million different recipes for homemade beauty secrets.  Here's #1,000,001: coffee as an exfoliant and tea to reduce puffiness (check out the site on this one, for sure).

10.  Dark-colored dress shoes can benefit from a buff with a used tea bag.

Again, if you have any other helpful hints on this topic, please leave a comment.  And, if any of these tips have worked especially well for you, we would like to know that as well!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dr. Brabson at Christ Lutheran

At the last Care for Creation meeting, we joked about how Lutherans really like the word "steward" (are we the only faith community that utilizes this term so readily?).  But there's a definite reason why this term works so well--every definition of "steward" entails someone who is caring for or managing something.  We truly are stewards of this earth!  God has enabled us to be the caretakers of our spectacular world...what a humbling task we have been called to perform.

But we also need help because ignorance and good, old fashioned stubbornness continue to permeate our culture that increasingly becomes (willingly!) dependent on unhealthy habits.  Arguably, the  simplest and most inherent purpose of education is that it never ends for those who seek it.  Being a steward of the earth also means being open to life long learning. 

With all of this in mind, Christ Lutheran Church has worked in cooperation with Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light to schedule a visit with Dr. Bennet B. Brabson, Professor Emeritus from Indiana University Bloomington, who will join us on Sunday, January 20th at 3 p.m. to talk about how climate change is intrinsically connected to life in Kokomo, Indiana.  (Climate change is not synonymous with the term global warming, mind you!) 

Regardless of personal beliefs, what a unique opportunity for the Kokomo and surrounding communities to engage in dialogue with someone who is so well versed in a topic that we cannot in good faith ignore.  Please join us!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The holidays are coming...

...and with them come a chance to reaffirm your community with our earth.  Advent is a season of waiting, expectations, and finally a sense of light and oneness.  The Advent season is also the perfect time to put these positive feelings into practice in a number of ways, not the least of which is by connecting with loved ones, and who doesn't love this big old planet that we live on?  We all love to give well intentioned, meaningful, appreciated gifts to those that we love; how cool it would be if this is the year that we didn't neglect putting Mother Earth at the tops of our gift giving list!  (If we can feel so generously with our hairdressers and mail persons, then shouldn't we also spread some eco-love?)

According to the Georgia Interfaith Power and Light people (Sound familiar?  This is a southern chapter of our very own Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light chapter.), Americans "throw away 1 million extra tons of garbage each week" (emphasis my own) from Thanksgiving to the new year.  That's about 6 weeks, right?  Let's figure this out, then: we're talking about an extra (as in on top of the MASSIVE quantities that we are already throwing away every day) 6 million TONS of garbage just because we're all feeling particularly celebratory and spirited.  That's not a very merry Christmas for our world.   

Here's a place to start: Thanksgiving.  It's coming up (really!) quickly.  Free-range turkeys might be beyond your budget or capabilities at this point, but don't forget the rest of the spread.  Organic veggies.  Local baked goods (did you know that the winter farmer's market is open again in the YMCA from 9-12 every Saturday right now??).  Decorations from your own backyard (or your neighbor's if they're better at general landscaping than you are...).  The focus always seems to be on the turkey, but anyone who has prepared an entire, traditional Thanksgiving meal for a group of people will undoubtedly affirm that the turkey can be just about the easiest part of the process. 

Some of us who travel to the homes of our family members have little say so in whether our dinner comes to us on paper, plastic or china, but if you are the host, why not bring out those special plates, even cloth napkins?  Guests will help, gladly even!  No one wants to be the guest who doesn't pitch in while their host slaves away over everything.  It might seem like using real dishes is a big waste of time, but the time that it takes to wash a few is nothing short of a blip on the radar of the amount of time it takes a plastic (or even worse...styrofoam) plate to break down in a landfill. 

Black Friday is rampantly out of control by many peoples' standards.  If you share this philosophy, perhaps this would be a great year to start a new tradition: Bright Friday...choose an activity that continues the focus of giving thanks, such as whipping up a delish something or other using Thanksgiving leftovers and then taking it to some local firefighters, rather than gratuitous getting (which, arguably, has little thanks involved). 

And, finally, we would all certainly be remiss if amidst the general busyness of Thanksgiving day, if we didn't take a moment to pause and reflect on the incredible, truly awe-some blessings that God has blessed each of us with every day.  If you're into some family time reflection around a groaning dinner table, then perhaps From the Beauty of the Earth by Steven Bouma-Prediger would be something that you would be interested in checking out.  Hey, why not...your dinner might be a degree or two cooler, but it will undoubtedly taste infinitely better with an appetizer of gratitude to whet the palate.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The ABCs of Being Green

Admittedly, many (most?) people who are aware of this blog and might be reading this aren't in the same stage of their life as I am.  But as you may have noticed from my 4 month absence (wow--sorry about that!), I've been consumed with other things lately.  The link that I'm going to share speaks to that as well, and it has been hanging around on the desktop on my computer for months now.  Suffice it to say that while I haven't been posting regularly, or at all, I've still very much been thinking about posting and about what I want to post.  In fact, I already have an idea for the next one, which will be posted sooner next time...I promise! 

Today's site that I'm sharing is from one of my favorite go-to sources for information as of late:  Granted, this is a site specifically designed for newbie parents, but this one just has good information on it, for grandparents and other care takers of young children, too!  Check it out, and let me know what you think.  I really like how this just explains common "green" terms in an effort to take some of the question mark out of the conversation because how can we have a conversation about best practices if we don't all speak the same language? 

The ABCs of Being Green