Lately, I have been dwelling a lot on the importance of being good stewards. Now I am not referring to being good stewards of our finances and resources as we often think of when this is said, but I am talking about being good stewards of the world around us.
In the cultural mandate of Genesis 1:26-28:
“Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His image…God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’”
There is a truth in this first command that is often overlooked! God has made us rulers of the earth and we are to be stewards, caretakers of the world around us. What does that mean? As Christians, we cannot ignore our environment. I often made fun of those environmentalists out there to save trees…but the more I meditated on this passage, the more I realized the significance for us as Christians to take the lead in caring for the world around us. How can we play a part?
I find the more I become environmentally friendly, the more money I save too! Isn’t that interesting? Frugality and good stewardship of our environment go hand in hand! These are a few ways that I am seeking to play my part:
1. Cloth diapering!
2. Use cloth/canvas tote bags for all your shopping! I bought three large canvas bags at $1.50 ea. from IKEA the other day and have been using them like crazy for all my shopping, everything from groceries, clothes, etc. They are continually reusable and no need to use those plastic or paper bags at the store. I just keep them in the car when I’m done. Easy! No more clutter of excess plastic and paper bags around my house. Every little bit helps!
3. CFL bulbs. I am replacing all my standard light bulbs around my house for CFL’s. They save me energy costs and better for the environment. They last 10x longer than regular light bulbs and use 13watts instead of 60 watts.
4. Cloth napkins & towels. Not only are they nicer to use and elegant for guests, they are saving trees. I am no longer using paper napkins or towels. Just use kitchen towels to dry those hands!
5. Reusing plastic zip lock bags.
Now…I might be sounding a little crazy by now, but I think this is important. Christians need to lead the way! How can we think to share the truth of the gospel with others if we are not concerned about the things they are concerned about.
7. Hang your cloths to dry!
Speaking of washing clothes, try using a cooler cycle than what you are used to. Nine times out of ten your clothes aren’t so dirty that they absolutely require the hot wash, and you’ll save 30-60% of the energy consumed using the hot cycle. When it comes to drying, don’t over-dry your clothes, and consider using the cool-down cycle to utilize the residual heat in the dryer. Try hanging them to dry! This will make your cloths last longer anyway.
8. Turn off the lights when you are not in the room.
9. Eliminate the use of chemical cleaners.
10. Limit trips to town to 1-2 times a week. Don’t run out every day for that little thing you need. Start a list at the beginning of the week, post it on your frig, and add to it as you realize a need. Do this with your grocery needs as well and save yourself the extra trip…plus the gas!
11. Pay all bills and charity gifts online. Eliminate the extra use of paper, envelopes, stamps, etc.
12. Don’t buy bottled water. It isn’t good for you anyway!
The environmental impact that the bottled water craze is having on our planet is staggering:
“Bottled water is responsible for an enormous increase in world production of plastic bottles. Surging sales of bottled water coincided with and may help account for a 56 per cent increase in U.S. plastic resin manufacture in the U.S.A. between 1995 and 2001 (from 32 million tons to over 50 million tons annually). Consuming critical supplies of petroleum and natural gas, plastic bottle factories create and release toxic wastes, including benzine, xylene, and oxides of ethylene into the environment.”
13. Buy locally. Buy as much food as you can from local farmers around you. This food will be so much fresher than what you can find in the grocery store. It will hold and preserve more nutrients as well. Lastly, you are supporting local agriculture!