A New Year of Creation Care

posted on January 01

With the start of a new year, many of us take the time to reflect upon our lives and our lifestyles and resolve to make some positive changes as we move forward into the new year. To facilitate this process of reflection, resolution, and action as it relates to our impacts on God’s Creation, here is the first posting of our monthly “Creation Care and Justice Tips” for prayerful consideration throughout the coming year.

“I have a dream….” Martin Luther King cast his vision for all to see and aspire to. He also worked to bring it about. What is your dream for creation? for justice? How will you work to bring about a healthy, equitable, and inclusive future for all of God’s kin-dom? Read God’s vision: Isaiah 65:17-25.

What if we switched to renewable energy? What if rooftops welcomed the sun with solar panels? What if plentiful green spaces were filled with trees and pollinators and grew organic food for the community? What if oceans were clear of plastic? What if humans and all of nature were thriving, not merely surviving? Hold the vision, live the vision, share the vision.

Imagine you live in a recreational vehicle (RV). Your water tank holds only 50 gallons. Every time you turn on the water, the noisy electric pump turns on too, sucking up your RV's battery power. Would you keep the water running while you brush your teeth or rinse the dishes? Would you take long showers? Imagine saving the world, one precious drop at a time.

Feeling overwhelmed by all that needs to be done to protect the planet and its people? Imagine a huge bowl of something you would like to eat. You take a bite and then another bite—not the whole thing at once. Choose one action you can do and do it. Don’t stop there! Take on another “bite,” and then another. You are making a difference.

Bringing about a better environment for all requires individual choices and group effort. Power up for change with a group. Join your church’s green team or a national organization, like Interfaith Power and Light, World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy, or The Ocean Conservancy. Or pull together a small group of folks willing to work locally. Start by reading what Margaret Mead says about a small group of committed people.

Moving or decluttering? Keep in mind that 146 million tons of solid waste goes in to landfills in the U.S. every year. Imagine that! Located in “someone else’s backyard,” landfills are notorious for environmental injustice and for methane, which contributes to global warming. Look for alternatives. Donate, rehome, or recycle instead of trashing.

When you need to return an item of clothing you bought online, do you imagine it is handled with care and eventually sold to someone else? Unfortunately, much of what is sent back gets sent on to landfills. Before you buy, take your measurements, use the size charts, and rely on customer reviews. Before you return anything, check with friends. Perhaps they would add the piece to their wardrobe if it’s right for them.

It’s a new political year, a new opportunity for you to urge local, state, and federal lawmakers to act on behalf of Earth. Describe your vision for change. Even if you do not know the details of what legislation or policy is needed, you can speak as a person of faith, as an advocate for God’s creation. Ask those in power to support what you value.

Look beyond your insurance policy to see what’s happening administratively within your insurance company. Collecting money from all the policy owners, the company invests it—often in fossil fuels. Imagine if that money went instead to renewables or other life-giving enterprises! It’s your money. Find an insurer that
invests in the future, not the past.

Imagine your home as warm as you need it to be without costing you or Earth a penalty. Reap the advantages of a smart thermostat for heating and cooling or add weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors, thermal drapes or blinds, and insulation. These relatively inexpensive changes pay off rapidly for you and for future generations of earth-dwellers too.

These tips were created and provided by the United Methodist Creation Justice Movement as a tool to equip church members, individuals, and families to respond to God’s call to care for creation and do justice with our neighbors. For more information about the UMCJ Movement, visit www.umcreationjustice.org and have a Happy New Year!

Kim Richmond
Convener, 2020-2024 for the WNCC Creation Care Ministry