Happy New Year! I’m a committed environmentalist. But during the last few weeks I’ve often just let my standards lapse. Maybe that’s happened to you, too. Now, with the holiday distractions behind us, let’s get back to saving the world!
The best thing to do right now is to focus on basics. According to a recent National Resources Defense Council newsletter, there are three important things we can do in 2022 to help reduce global heating.
The first is to vote on climate. Make sure you are registered to vote. Put all elections, national, state and local on your calendar. Research the candidates’ position on environmental standards. Follow how they vote. Find out who supports them. (Hint: support from fossil fuel and plastic companies probably indicates they are less than committed.) Watch the news for voter initiated ballot measures to protect the environment. Support them. Sign the petitions.
Second, join something local. You may already be a member of a national environmental organization like the National Wildlife Federation or the Sierra Club, but the best way to meet like-minded environmentalists is to be part of a local organization. Here in Columbus there are many opportunities. I have just joined B.R.E.A.D.’s new research group on Environmental Justice. Simply Living publishes a great newsletter on local events where you can volunteer or learn called “Be the Change Weekly.” You can sign up on the simplyliving.org website. Green Columbus gives away trees, plans our local Earth Day, and, when not limited by the pandemic, hosts monthly gatherings to hear from local environmental experts. Or, you can volunteer at the Franklinton Farms Community Garden and help alleviate local hunger as well as green the environment. (Gardens actually absorb more CO2 than trees.)
Third, you can read well and deeply. Environmental issues are complicated. It’s hard to know who to believe, given all the misinformation, greenwashing ads, and disinformation campaigns online. Make sure that the information you get from the internet is from a reputable local or national news organization or magazine, and that the article cites reliable peer-reviewed research in scientific journals. You can subscribe to a free weekly environmental news summary like that of the Guardian‘s “Down to Earth” or Grist’s e-newsletter. Yale 360 is another source of reliable news, and the National Resources Defense Council has a library of basic information about the different forces driving climate change. And, if books are your thing, the New York Times has recommendations for “Five Books about Climate Change to Read Now.”
You can find this and all the Creation Care blogs for the church website I have written at a consolidating blog I have created: ststephenscreationcare.blogspot.com
Next week I’m launching a series on why changing our consumer culture to protect the earth requires religions to step forward.
Thanks for your commitment to caring for God’s creation!