Being Environmentally Relevant

In September 2006, an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science warned that the earth is within 1 degree Celsius of a million-year high. In October 2006, the British government released a landmark study of how climate change could effect the economy, concluding that if nothing is done soon, we will risk losing up to 20 percent of global GDP. In February 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a premier, multi-national think tank chartered by the United Nations) declared with “very high confidence” (90 percent) that human activities are responsible for the recent increases in average global temperature. Scientists everywhere agree that there is a problem which is very real, exceptionally current and most decidedly man-made.

And yet we still drag our feet. Our government refuses to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, putting us behind every other industrialized country in the world except for Australia. The Environmental Protection Agency has been fighting fierce battles in courts all across the land to keep carbon dioxide out of the Clean Air Act. According to the US Department of Energy, our country is the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, responsible for more than all of Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Central America, South America and Africa combined.

The debate is over, and the time for action is now—in this country, in your city, in our lives. As Americans living in this global community, we have a responsibility to do our share and clean up our act. As Christians living in God’s gift of creation, we have a mandate to protect His garden and not destroy it. Arguments that individual actions do not have an impact are only excuses for indifference. When we all take this attitude, we are all still part of the problem. As individuals, we must strive to be part of the solution.

Many of the most environmentally friendly actions you can take are easier than you might think. Here are five things you can do to be part of the solution:

Drive Less

An easy way to start is by riding your bike and carpooling more often. Try riding your bike to the coffeehouse next time, or when you go out on errands, call up your friends and see if they need something too. Carpooling saves gas, money and even builds community.

Recycle

Start with the small things like paper. Instead of throwing your paper in the trash, toss it in a different bin for recycling. Many cities now have comprehensive recycling programs that don’t even require sorting. All it takes is a little effort to remember that the good majority of our trash should be tossed in the blue bin instead of the black one.

Say “No!” to Plastic Bags

Next time you go to the grocery store, bring your own bag to put your purchases in. Plastics are made from oil, and so the less plastic we use the better. If you forget to bring your own bag, save the plastic bags to recycle them later.

Switch to a “Green” Electric Provider

For those who have a choice, look for an electric provider who uses renewable sources like wind or hydroelectric. In many places, companies offer 100 percent pollution free electricity at competitive rates.

Spread the Word

Perhaps the most important thing is to tell a friend. Environmentalism is not just for hippies and Californians anymore; it is something important to you and me. The more people that are part of the solution, the bigger difference we can all make.

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