Archive for the ‘Climate Change’ Category

When we decided to fast from TV for a year I had an idea in mind about what that would be like: more reading, more time to do things together as a family, more time for prayer and meditation, and somehow I believed that I would have more peace. While most of those expectations have been met I have been surprised by how unsettling it has been in recent days. The first month was great. We were outside more, getting more exercise, doing more things together and I felt better than I had felt in a long while on a variety of levels. After school started things got more challenging as our schedule picked up with kids activities, church activities, etc., but still it felt good. The last six weeks, however have been quite unsettling. As I have been reading more about the serious problems facing our world due to climate change, political unrest, social inequity, etc., I have experienced more anxiety than have had at any time previous in my life. This experience of anxiety has given me a new empathy for those that live with panic and anxiety on a daily basis. I can understand more now about how it can be debilitating.

As I have worked to manage my anxiety through prayer, exercise, meditation, play, and writing, I have gained a new understanding about how our culture uses TV and other forms of electronic media and entertainment to self-medicate. Karl Marx said that “religion is the opium of the people” but it seems to me that in 21st century North America TV and/or electronic media is the opium of the people. One can spend an evening watching most network or cable programming and other than the few minutes of news programming which brings in a bit of reality, albeit mostly about things that happen to other folks, one can convince oneself that all is well. (sigh of relief) However, if we turn the TV, computer, radio, CD player, or iPod off or put away the book we are reading and sit in the silence it doesn’t take very long for most of us to feel uncomfortable and unsettled.

Why is it that we, who are among the most privileged humans on the planet, fret when faced with silence and feel the need to be distracted? What is it we feel that is so uncomfortable? I have come to understand that we need to be distracted because much of what we invest ourselves in does not satisfy us on the deepest levels. We are investing in things that will not, that cannot, last and somewhere deep inside we know it.

In these past few weeks I have had to come face to face with some things that scare me, that unsettle me, that feel out of my control and it has not been comfortable. I have been challenged to look beyond myself and move out of my comfort zone and what I have encountered challenges me on many levels. But in the process I have also encountered the “peace that passes all understanding” as I have prayed and invited the Holy Spirit to transform my anxiety into an energy that can be a force for good in the world. I feel as though for the first time in a long time I’m really paying attention in a more sustained sort of way to what God has to teach me and what I need to learn about living as a faithful disciple of Jesus.

“Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55: 1-2

Thanks be to God.


Read Full Post »

I heard on the radio today that if every home in America switched just one regular incandescent light bulb for a compact fluorescent bulb the savings in carbon dioxide emissions would be equivalent to taking one million cars off the road every year. While the compact fluorescents are more expensive, they last up to 30 time longer and use much less electricity which saves you money in the long run. I can’t tell any difference in the quality of light and if you don’t like the white light typically associated with the tube fluorescent bulbs, just stay away from the bulbs marked “daylight.”

If you’d like to read more about this, click here.

Read Full Post »

I bought a blanket for my water heater today at my favorite home improvement store for less than $20.  Our water heater is more than 10 years old so it can be made more efficient by adding extra insulation.  I also turned the thermostat down on the water heater to 120°.  These measures should lower our energy usage and reduce the amount of carbon we are putting into the atmosphere.  Doing my part to be a good steward of the earth and saving money; what more could I ask for?

Read Full Post »

I’m wearing a sweatshirt and keeping the thermostat low (you should know that I like to be warm, my husband would say too warm, in the winter so this is a big step for me). We can reduce our family’s carbon dioxide emissions and save money on heating costs at the same time by taking this one step.

Read Full Post »

I would recommend that everyone read the summary report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the “Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability” due to global warming. It’s not very long and you don’t have to be a science whiz to understand it. The report summarizes the current and the projected impacts of global warming by continent as well as by looking at such things as food supply, ecosystems, coastal & low lying regions, health and industry. It includes graphics and charts that are helpful in understanding both the changes that have already occurred and what we could expect if temperatures continue to rise and gives the expected likelihood of such changes. This document is the most helpful thing I have read to give me a broader understanding of where we are and where we are going. Even if you only look at the graphics and charts, you will come away with a better understanding of what changes global warming is bringing and will continue to bring for the foreseeable future.

Click here to read the report.

Click here to go to the IPCC website.

Read Full Post »

As I am educating myself about the environmental crisis we are facing, I have to admit that I often feel scared and overwhelmed. These feelings are what have led me to avoid facing the truth for so long. I don’t want to know about the villages in Alaska having to relocate because the permafrost is melting. I don’t want to know about the threat to communities who are dependent on glaciers (which are quickly receding) for their water supply. I don’t want to think about the plants and animals that will be forced into extinction by changes in their habitat. It frightens me and makes me sad to think about the legacy we are leaving for our children.

In forcing myself to think on these things, however, I am learning that there are things I can do and that even one thing, one small change that I make adds to the other small changes that others are making and together, can make a substantial difference. So here’s my one thing for today. I’m turning off my computer when I’m not using it. Leaving computers, televisions, and other electronics on or leaving them plugged in uses a lot of electricity and electricity generation adds a lot of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. It’s one thing and it’s not much but it allows me to face down my feelings of fear and helplessness.

We can take heart from the encouragement given to Joshua when he was about to take over for Moses and lead the Hebrews into the promised land; a task that must have struck fear in his heart because he is commanded three times to be courageous.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

We are not helpless unless we choose to be. We are not alone unless we choose to reject the presence of the one who created us and charged us to be stewards of the land. Today, I’m choosing this one thing. May God add a blessing to it.

Read Full Post »

“You must become the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

In my quest to stop sticking my head in the sand and face into the fact that global warming is real and I have a responsibility to be a good steward of the planet, I have been looking into what my family can do to contribute to a solution for the environmental crisis we are facing. (If you are still in doubt about the reality of global warming, click here.) What I discovered is that there is a lot we can do. We have started recycling which is not easy in the county where we live since there is no curbside recycling at our residence. I did discover, however, that Delaware County, IN, does have a lot of recycling resources. Click here to discover more.

For information on what you can do, here to read about some of the things I have identified as small changes we can all make or click on one of the links below.

For teaching kids about global warming and what they can do, see the sites below:

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and afraid and do nothing. God does not call us to be responsible for everything but God does call us to be responsible for ourselves. We do not have to have great faith, only act on the ‘mustard seed’ of faith that we have. Working together we can make a difference in protecting the earth that God has blessed us to be a part of. Let’s become the change we want to see.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »