Creation Care Tip-of-the-Month

3/2/2009

 

It’s a “Catch-22,” isn’t it? Shopping! If we continue to consume the earth’s resources as we have in recent years, the earth will not be able to sustain us. Yet, as the current economic crisis reminds us, if we do not shop and spend, our economy cannot sustain itself either. So shop we must. Finding the fine line in this conundrum is vital to our future.
Because it is clear that the way we shop, spend and consume has such a huge impact on all that God created, has the potential to alter our climate system and is often an act of injustice to the poorest among us, we want to offer the following shopping tips:
Buy Locally when possible – Did you know that the average item we purchase in the grocery store travels over 1200 miles to get to our dinner table? Buying items grown, produced and packaged locally cuts down the freight and reduces the pollution in the air our children breathe. (When the local farmers’ market opens, be a regular.)
Buy in Season – Do we really need watermelon and cantaloupe in February or apples and plums in March? When we buy items out of season (or exotic fruits and vegetables that can’t grow around here), we encourage the shipment of items from far away. Think about it, fresh strawberries are such a treat in the spring if we haven’t required them all year long. Let’s celebrate the seasons with the food that belongs there.
Look for Sustainable Packaging – If you have a reasonable choice between a carton of eggs in a recyclable cardboard container or a Styrofoam one, consider the ecological impact before finalizing your decision. Some companies go overboard in the size and mass of their packaging just so it will catch your eye. If it works, they will continue to over package their products. Make a statement! Buy products that are packaged with minimal impact on the environment.
Buy Organic – Surely you would agree that a few less chemicals in the earth would benefit all of life that God created. Not to mention that organically grown products usually taste better.
Buy Fair Trade – Coffee, tea, chocolate, and bananas are now commonly available through Fair trade organizations. These co-ops ensure that products are produced sustainably and the farmers/laborers growing them are treated and paid fairly. Sure, you may pay a little more, but your purchase speaks volumes to those who take advantage of poor laborers and small foreign farmers. Go to www.equalexchange.org  or www.greenamerica.org . for more information and to order.
Say “No” to both Paper and Plastic – Most of us have multiple totes lying around the house. Put them in your vehicle and take them with you when you shop. Your effort is not only responsible, but it is also a fabulous witness that you care about God’s creation.
Remember! Genesis 2:15 makes it clear that the human being’s first job was defined when God placed Adam in the garden to “tend it and keep it.” That first job still belongs to all of us. Happy shopping everyone.
The Memphis Conference Creation Care Team