I find that it's easier to have a conversation about conservation and responsible use of resources with people who don't claim to be followers of Jesus. I'm not sure what that's about. If you are not a Christian but you like being a good human then please read on! If you are a Christian and haven't given thought to these things please take this in prayerfully.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. (Genesis 1:26)
Believers are challenged to have dominion over the entire world and it's contents. If we follow Jesus' example of being a good leader that means caring for everything and everyone with love. Christians tend to cop out of this responsibility or take it too far and read dominion as domination in the aggressive way.
I'm passionate about several of the following challenges because they are either an example of love and caring, or they have direct affect on other humans which is something we should DEFINITELY be concerned with.
#1: Circular Economy Concepts
In a nutshell this means ceasing to take resources while simultaneously ceasing to throw anything away.
The concept of circular economy focuses on making things to last from cradle to grave and to be passed from generation to generation. It also focuses on finding innovative ways to utilize waste in useful ways. Like using old tires to pave roads and insulating homes with jeans.
Planned obsolescence ensures continued consumer reliance. Everything we own is designed to break down and be replaced. Have you heard people say things aren't built they way they used to be? They're absolutely correct. Planned obsolescence ensures continued consumer reliance. It breaks, we throw it away, we buy more, so they make more, we break more, we throw away more. Everything we own is designed to break down and be replaced far before the materials they are made out of actually break down. Your grandparents say things aren't built they way they used to be? They're absolutely correct.
#2: Ethical Shopping
How is that shirt $5? Who is making it and where? And why do we need to buy seven $5 shirts if we could instead by 1 for $35 and it lasts longer than 2 seasons?
The self-soothing excuse, "Those people wouldn't have any work if we didn't have factories for them to work in" is a load of crap, guys. I hate to break it to you, but that's a lie we've been told to feel better about the exporting of industry and fast fashion. Just scratch the surface of that lie and it explodes into a mound of abuse and waste.
I'm particularly passionate about this topic because of it's a DIRECT impact on other humans; humans I am called to love. How am I showing them love by feeding dollars in to an industry that is not only trashing water sources and depleting natural wonders, but is blatantly squashing human lives?? If you're telling yourself that you can't afford to buy ethical then please skip down to #5.
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)
#3: Voting With Your Dollars
Every time you spend a dollar you vote for the agenda of the company who makes and sells it.
So next time you're in Target ask yourself who gets the money you are spending. Because those dollars could be going to fund lobbying in Washington D.C. to shape decisions in favor of those who have the money rather than in favor of what is right. Example: Johnson & Johnson has skewed or blatantly lied about research connecting talc and cancer. They have spent more money than we know to make sure thir product is not labeled harmful, and now the are funding a gigantic campaign to further cover their lies despite the incredibly toxic effect it has on people. Are you supporting them without knowing? They are one of LITERALLY THOUSANDS of other brands currently involved somewhere in the spectrum of this kind of toxic battle.
Second thought: you may also be surprised to find that many brands you use out of habit are made by corporations who support issues that you are adamantly opposed to. And while I would discourage you from using Facebook as a reliable news source I would definitely encourage you to do a google search looking for information both for and against so you can get an informed answer.
It's overwhelming; take it one product, one brand, one store at a time, but it is ABSOLUTELY the responsibility of those who have shouldered the responsibility to love the people of this world to fight for what is right. Plus, we're living in a time where SO MANY cool companies who are not just not hurting the world and humans, but actually HELPING the world and humans!
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. (1 Peter 8-10)
#4: Holistic and Non-Toxic Lifestyle
You've been given a body, a mind, and a promise to be protected from the curse of the world. It's your responsibility to use your amazing minds to take care of not only your bodies and the bodies of our families, but to advocate for all humans.
When I walk through VONS I start to feel panicked because I know what's in all those brightly packaged products lining the shelves. From neurodisruptors, endocrine disruptors, and hormone disruptors to mystery fragrances and harsh chemicals deemed safe by a crooked FDA we are consistently bombarded by toxins. It's no wonder our immune systems cannot keep up. It's no mystery why America is SICK.
Don't even get me started on the food. Basically: it didn't natural grow that way then don't eat it. If it's been tempered with it's probably not good for you DESPITE what the packaging may say. Best tip I can give anyone: stop believing packaging right now.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
#5: Minimal Living
We gotta stop feeding the culture of stuff. Why are we consuming so much? To fill a void? Have we not learned how fruitless that is? Most Americans have BEYOND what they need, and the Americans who DO NOT have what they need could really use that room full of extras that you have. We are an EXAMPLE of trusting God to supply all our needs. Are we misusing what we're given?
Clean out your closet. Stop shopping to feel good. Ask yourself if you NEED or WANT that pair of jeans (I'm talking to you, Tabitha.) Ask you're if you're truly replacing or just want to "keep up with the Joneses". See point #1. Stop spending thoughtlessly and instead be intentional with your money so that 1) we stop over-consuming and cease to contribute to toxic economic practices, and 2) we go counter-culture to the stuff mentality to create an example of where happiness, joy, gratitude, and contentment truly come from.
How much do we buy to throw away? Paper towels, cling-wrap, disposable diapers and razors...it gets crazy. Start itemizing everything you throw away in a day and see if you can find a replacement for something you buy once and use forever.
Need it once? Borrow it. Need to replace it? Second hand purchase it. Need to purchase something and want to be responsible about what you're supporting? Do research and support a company and product you would vote for.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:26-30)
Don't Get Overwhelmed...
Start out slow. One at a time. Your effort and attitude are what are important. Don't beat yourself up for not changing your ENTIRE LIFE in a month. I've slowly but surely whittled away at these concepts for 10 years now. TEN. YEARS.
But Americans are complacent. Fat and happy. Do the work it takes to be a good steward of the world. Train yourself to think about purchases in terms of how it benefits other humans.
But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10)
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