Happy Earth Day

My parents were conservationists long before it was cool, teaching us to be good stewards of God's creation. We reused everything: my sister even had a "stuff bucket" full of odds and ends that she turned into various craft projects. My dad, an engineer, did everything possible to reduce energy: in one case he even chilled his morning drink outside overnight so as not to suck unnecessary energy from the fridge. We recycled: in particular I had a profound experience collecting recyclables and sharing them with a homeless man in California. We abstained from junk food: on Saturdays we had a "junk food day" that allowed us to engage in unhealthy eating, but other than that we were good to our bodies (and thus the earth). We ate from health food stores long before that was chic: in part due to my sister's severe food allergies, we purchased rice bread, corn pasta, and soy milk (among other "special" foods) from the tiny shop 30 minutes away in middle-of-nowhere Wyoming. We planted: there was always a garden of some sort, flowers or food, and even a compost pile in our yard in West Texas.

So these lessons have stuck with me. Recycling is like a game to me, and even though our house misses the city pick-up by one street, I still collect and drive to the recycling center every other week (on my way to somewhere, of course, can't go wasting gas! :). I take canvas bags everywhere. I bike whenever possible. These are all little things, and might not save the earth, but they all make me more conscious of my dramatic impact on the planet.

Most recently, we have joined an organic produce co-op. I've known about it for a few years, but to be honest was really intimidated. I didn't know how it worked, and I feared that signing up for a "share" would mean one week I'd get two pounds of swiss chard we had no idea what to do with. And I thought since we're not vegan and we sometimes eat fast food we wouldn't belong. But finally some friends explained the process, and we finally had a pattern down for cooking and grocery shopping, so we felt empowered to try it out.

We signed up for a small mixed share, which means each week I pay $15 and I get a grab-bag of produce. It's all organic and local whenever possible, but due to high demand they have to import some from other states. Each week is different, based on the availability of the farms. Today, I came away with green beans, eggplant, apples, cilantro, mango, celery, and some others I can't remember. Last week it was potatoes, kale, carrots, etc. It's like a fun surprise every time, and it's all so beautiful and colorful. And we're learning how to cook and prepare (and juice!) new things. Try fresh kale sauteed with pinenuts and paremsan... delicious!

I figure with all the things I do daily to damage the earth, these are significant steps in caring for it, in their own right. It's a definite journey, and we're taking it step by step. (Next step: start using a compost crock or bin, and taking it to the community compost pile once per week). I am consistently amazed at the complexity of the earth and thank God for His design, and for entrusting us with it. Happy Earth Day!

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it."

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Crystal said...

Thanks for explaining the process.
I've always felt a bit intimidated as well.

Maybe we'll try it out ourselves....

Lots of love to you!

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