This series is dedicated to the humble, but wonderful "blue towel."
In my (Betsy's) family, with three children ages 1, 1, and 2 1/2, we don't mean "reading, writing, and arithmetic" when we refer to the "three R's." Instead, we are referring to "reduce, reuse, and recycle." There is a lot of information out there these days about "going green" and being environmentally friendly. Have you noticed that frequently this involves buying yet another heavily marketed product or perhaps includes suggestions that just won't work for your family (i.e. growing all your own food or converting fully to solar energy). I must confess that my husband and I are eco-friendly enough to think these ideas are cool; however, we do not possess the means to do either of those ideas as of yet.
Since I am very interested in ways we can make our house/family/lifestyle more eco-friendly, I thought I'd start a little mini-series on our blog to encourage anyone else with similar goals. I'll tell you about the strategies we've adopted, the goals/habits we'd like to begin, and the wonderful nature of trading with friends and neighbors. First, though, I'll explain a little bit about why these ideas are important to us.
My husband and I believe strongly in the idea of stewardship: God has created a beautiful world and placed mankind (made in his image) on earth to exercise dominion over it. We are supposed to be filling the earth and subduing it. I do not believe that means using up the earth's resources as fast as we can; in other words, the Lord did not put us in charge of the rest of the planet so we can take, take, take. Rather, I think we are to view the earth as his creation--a gift here for our enjoyment, sustenance, and, thanks to the fall, sanctification. Because of the entry of sin into the created order, our world is fallen. Disease, pollution, greed, etc. all play their part in the fallen creation; our calling as Christians, people made in God's image, is to bring restoration to the world as God equips us. We cannot recreate Eden, fully erasing the effects of sin. But I do think we have a responsibility to tend this earth with the mindset that it is a gift for us to take care of and to use for God's glory--not a gift meant to be mined willy-nilly for whatever might benefit us in the moment. God told Adam he would eat by the sweat of his brow; part of the consequence of the fall is that we will have to work to tend this earth, to eat, to glean its benefits to us. So, don't throw out all "green" suggestions as just another hippy idea. Take some time to think through the ramifications of stewarding God's creation as he has equipped us--each of us in our current situations.
My family's current situation involves two kids in diapers, one in diapers part-time (nap/nighttime), baby food (a necessity which is fast waning!), a big gas-guzzling SUV, the necessity for my husband to drive to work, a decent yet still finite income, and the willingness to use lots of elbow grease to fix up our old (80 years old) home. All of these factors, plus many more (like living in a medium-sized city in the Southeast) play a role in what we can do or choose to do in our stewardship of God's creation. Stay tuned for the methods we've adopted, the habits we'd like to change, and the suggestions we've heard from others.
Part 1: The Blue Towel
Part 2: Children's Clothes and Toys
Part 3: The 3R's for Food
Part 4: Appliances
Part 5: Reusable Grocery Bags
Part 6: Cloth Diapers
Part 7: Toiletries and Cleaning Equipment
Part 8: Lawn and Garden
Part 9: Technology and the Paper Trail
Part 10: Final Thoughts
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