ecological footprint

i know you’re probably thinking “another greenie rant?!?” … but bear with me for a minute.

most of the time when i talk to people about sustainability they turn and start pointing things out that i do wrong.  usually this has to do with obvious and car-related, eg.. “you drive a turbo” or “your family drives separate cars to church” or whatever.  and it’s true – my lifestyle is shocking and i won’t hide from it.  i do like driving, i like buying gadgets, i love pearl milk teas and i even enjoy eating sharks fin soup.  i just did another ecological footprint quiz and it says my lifestyle needs 7.8 planet earths to support it (my first said something like 4.6 – it really varies according to the calculator you use – but that’s still bad).  isn’t that ridiculous?

i think most of us YFers have come from a culture that is very consumerist and convenient – take as examples how we want to be up to date with the latest tech, and how we want to have the convenience of using and chucking disposable stuff.  thing is – we don’t need to be commune-living vego hippies (not that there’s anything wrong with them at all) to make a difference. being sustainable doesn’t mean having a bland and boring life.

firstly though, why should we care?  i think the answer is twofold…

  • the idea of stewardship – we know that God created man as having dominion over the earth (see Genesis 1:28).  what matters, then, is what our interpretation of stewardship or dominion is.  it obviously doesn’t mean that we can use everything irresponsibility.  it ALSO doesn’t mean that humans have the same worth as a horse or a starfish or an insect.
    i am not saying that it’s definite sin to live the way we do.  instead, i’m suggesting that it’s our responsibility as Christians to make sure we care of everything that God has created and put us in charge of. what’s your take on it?
  • the idea of social justice – i think we would all agree that Jesus has called us to love everyone, including (or especially) the oppressed and those less fortunate than us.  the consequences of our way of life are ultimately going to affect people.  some island nations will cease to exist in the next 50 years or so.  millions are predicted to become “climate change refugees”.  isn’t that scary? shouldn’t we care?

don’t get me wrong – our priority as Christians, and the Church, is to reach people. but i hope you’re convinced that we can’t be ignorant about God’s creation.  it’s my hope that sustainability becomes an opportunity for the Church to show people that we really do care about them.

so what can we do? i’ve been trying to think of easy first steps that are appealing to us asians (ie saves us money haha).  being a super wasteful consumer myself i will be trying to put these into practice as well…

  • try to drive less and carpool more – this sounds so simple, but i have been able to halve my driving distances in the past year or so 🙂 although my car is a valuable ministry tool so i’m gonna prioritise that and use it as much as i need to
  • say no to plastic – it might involve some washing up after trig/supe/party/church.  or maybe sharing a meal between two at a restaurant so you don’t need a takeaway box…
  • bring a water bottle – QUT z block level 9 has a filtered chilled water tap that doesn’t taste like it’s got 50 years old water pipes. find somewhere like that.
  • fit water efficient showerheads – if you haven’t done so, do it – and save yourself big money (cost ~$100 and save $1800 over its lifetime – more if water prices go up, which they undoubtedly will)
  • try to buy local produce – i know this is hard, because we love our asian snacks, drinks and icecreams.  but when it comes to fruit and vege, just get stuff that’s in season 🙂
  • try to buy natural products – especially when it comes to detergents and whatnot… so many chemicals… why?
  • get a compost bin – i am going to give this a try and let you guys know how it goes

and if you can afford to…

  • switch to green power – costs a little bit extra, but coal power is ridiculously polluting, inefficient and needs crazy amounts of water – which takes lots of electricity to pump and treat – it’s a vicious cycle
  • if you’re ever thinking of building anything, build green – yes i’m an architecture student, and i know green buildings cost 2% more to build on average but their lifetime savings are SO much more.  i will be trying to compile figures to show the church when i finally get my new design proposal done, so let me know if you want me to keep you in the loop.

finally,  just want to leave you with a picture of the maldives… which may not be here by the end of this century

maldives_cocopalm_beach_01

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47 Responses to “ecological footprint”

  1. i need 7.05 Earths!

  2. onya Billy (sorry for very delayed reading of this post) – how have you been going with your resolutions??

  3. ooo it’s hard!! struggling a bit with my commute – i save about 2 hours per day if i drive compared to using public transport. i do try and give colleagues a lift home – almost never head home with an empty car – it’s good to chat and serve them through that.

    just need wisdom to know where to draw the line in terms of prioritising sustainability! a lot of blame is on the shoulders of town planners and designers who – by being obsessed with the things that are typically done in the US 20 years ago – really force us to depend on car use. but at the same time, there’s so much more that we can do!

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