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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thoughts About Earth Day

Monday was Earth Day, dedicated to “saving the earth.” Plant a tree (or hug one), recycle your plastics and paper, mulch your shrubs, and so on. One of my friends shared this poster, which I loved.

My husband should get a medal for recycling and a wise use of resources. He has planted more than a hundred trees on our four acres. We use—thanks to his hard work—a renewable source for heating our home. He plants and tends an organic garden every year.

I do my part by recycling, hanging clothes on a line year-round, and turning off lights I don’t need. I save peelings and other veggie scraps for compost. I use a few wood cooking utensils and stay mostly away from plastics for food serving and storage. I confess to using paper towels sometimes, plastic wrap, and rarely, aluminum foil, so I’m not completely natural. I haven’t yet gotten into vinegar for cleaning. (I prefer it on my salad!) I also refuse to wash out—using soap and hot water—cans that are super dirty inside, just so I can have a clean conscience about recycling them later. I would say we are a fairly normal European household.

When God created the world, man was given dominion (rule) over everything that God put on the earth—all the plants and all the animals. (Genesis 1:27-30) I believe we have a responsibility to be conscientious about how we use what God gave us.

But, there are those who would have us to go on a guilt trip about using the earth’s resources.

Let’s take paper, for instance. Just this week, a machine told my husband that it would be good not to get receipts at the bank’s ATM (which are maybe 3” x 4,” on thin paper), so as to save trees. Granted, paper does come from trees, and you do have to cut them down in order to make it. This process usually involves chemicals, and it’s stinky. But, trees, especially pine trees, are some of the most easily renewable of renewables. A pine tree takes only 30-40 years’ growth to be ready for the sawmill. That means two whole stands of pines could grow in a lifetime. I would doubt seriously that a whole tree would be needed for the ATM receipts of our lifetime, all piled together. I refuse to feel guilty. (Besides, we cut off the bank number and recycle them!)

Animals? Well, you might be a vegetarian. (Fine with me.) But, if I choose to eat a piece of meat, say chicken, it’s renewable also. Now, I admit I don’t care to farm chickens myself, but I appreciate those who do. Little chicks grow to adulthood in eight weeks, and they can grace my Sunday table shortly afterwards. Other meats are renewable, too.

And, how about coal, oil, and other fossil fuels? I believe they can be used responsibly. I refuse to go on a guilt trip every time we fill our car. Oh yes, it would be nice to run a car on electric, solar, hydrogen, or something else—when it becomes cost effective and is actually good stewardship of our money.

And, when solar, wind, and water power become as inexpensive as other sources of electricity, you can give me a call.

The Bible says:
The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1, quoted twice again in 1 Corinthians 10:26 and 28).

The Christian knows there will be an end to this earth, followed by new heavens and a new earth:
  • For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind (Isaiah 65:17).
  • But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:10-13).
God put the fossil fuels and minerals in the earth. He is sovereign. He knows how long they will be needed. I have full confidence that the God of the universe will have planned His creation well enough to care for all of mankind during all the time we will be on this beautiful, old earth.

I liked this one, too. 

Happy Earth Day—a few days late!


  1. It's so easy to go to extremes on either side of this issue. You sound very balanced. :-)

    1. Balance . . . a lifelong project, I think. Thanks for your comment, Barbara.


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