Many of you may not know about my brief time of fame. When I was in 8th grade, I won the North Carolina essay contest for my Keep NC Clean and Beautiful essay. I wish that I had the essay now so that I could laugh at how bad it was. When I won, my teacher, parents and I traveled to Raleigh. I read my essay, had my picture made with a person in a costume of the NC state bird, and made a commercial that was played for the following year in NC. The essay said something like, "As I walk down the side of the road, the strong wind blows angrily around my feet. I glance down expecting to find the rustle of new fallen leaves, but instead find discarded candy wrappers and litter ...." Brilliant stuff, I know.
Anyway, I've always been interested in the environment. I grew up in a rural area, and I spent my summer days outside in the woods. My cousins and I would run into the woods in the morning, return for lunch and a brief rest, and then we were off again to explore. We made up games and used the natural wonders of the world in our imaginative play. Although I am not outside now as much as I would like, I still enjoy biking outside, hiking, camping and discovering the natural wonders of the world.
Despite my love of nature and animals, I often fail to think about my connection to the environment. I rarely, if ever, think about the trash that I produce or the impact that I am having on the environment.
Rob Bell has stated that the way we treat a creation reflects how we feel about the creator. A concrete example of this is a box full of scribbles, paintings and art that my kids have created. These works of "art" are not worth any money, but I cling to them because of my intense love for my kids. These creations are a part of them, and I cherish their creations because I cherish the creators.
I never thought about the fact that the way that I treat the world around me, including other people, reflects how I feel about God. If I trash the environment or treat other people badly, I am reflecting that I do not care so much about God or his beautiful creations. By disrespecting the creations, I am showing a lack of respect for the creator.
Despite this revelation, I am not going to go and buy a new hybrid car (we can't afford a new car). However, there are small steps that I am taking to respect and love the world that God has created. For example, in our office at work, I am trying to make us paperless. Actually, we will not be completely paperless (that may be impossible), but at least "more electronic". Lawyers are the WORST at wasting paper. We are taught from our first day of law school that we must document everything and keeping everything. Although I am still a pack rat, I am trying to document and store things electronically. I also try to reuse paper. If I print something and no longer need it, I let the kids color or paint on the back. I buy lots of items used (cloths & toys at consignment sales, etc.) Will these small efforts save the world? No, but at least these are small concrete steps that I can take now to make a difference and to show love for God's creation.
I would love to hear about small steps that others are taking to help the environment.