Eco-Friendly on a Budget

As the calendar turns to April, our focus turns to environmental stewardship. Later this month, on Friday April 22nd, the World will observe Earth Day 2016. In observance, the COMPASS blog will feature perspectives all about being environmentally friendly on a budget and our stewardship of the Earth.

eco friendlyThe first post in this series will take up the idea that “We Are What We Eat.” In addition to this, other reflections will include thoughts pertaining to: the stewardship of recycling; sustainability; community agriculture; the work of restoring creation; as well as water stewardship. If you would like to share a post or reflection within this theme, please let me know as we are always looking for more perspectives to share as part of COMPASS and our shared conversation about faith and finances.

To begin our conversation, consider these questions:

  • Do you think about where the food you eat comes from?
  • Do you actively recycle in your home and office?
  • Do you produce more things that go into recycling each week, or the garbage?
  • Do you leave lights on in rooms that you are not seated in? How about water running while you are brushing your teeth?
  • How might the answers to these questions be informed by your faith?

A Personal Confession

In asking these questions, I have to confess that I often come up a bit short. I don’t always eat the healthiest diet, nor always look for the most sustainable source of food. I do occasionally leave lights on in rooms that I am not in, and from time to time catch myself leaving the water running while no longer actively using the faucet. Even with the ability to recycle, I still think my wife Allison and I produce more garbage than recycling.

I work hard to recycle both at home and in the office, and this is made easier by living in neighborhoods and cities where recycling is a priority. However, I have come to learn through traveling, that this is not always the case across the country and world in all communities.

The way we care for our environment matters to me, because I believe that we are called to be stewards of creation. In Genesis we are reminded that God has created all, and invites us to participate with God in caring for it and working with it. When we lose sight of this, when we don’t show care for it, we are all impacted. Not only does it negatively impact the quality of our planet, it shows disrespect for the beauty that God has created for us to live and work in.

Environmental Stewardship on a Budget

How we live faithfully in this way on a budget sometimes may mean a bit more of a cost. Choosing to eat healthier may not always be the cheaper option. Recycling may not always be more budget friendly than garbage. But at least, utility costs are usually positively impacted when you turn the lights off as well as the faucet off. And, if you don’t mind it in the summer, you can turn the temperature up on your thermostat to save energy during the day, as well as down a bit during the winter to cut down on heating costs.

As we take up these questions this month, I invite you to share your perspective, and I look forward to the conversation together.

timothy headshotAbout the Author: Timothy Siburg is the Communications Associate for the Ecumenical Stewardship Center and focuses especially on the center’s COMPASS initiative focused on creating conversations and resources for faith and finances among younger Adults and Millennials. Timothy also currently serves as a congregational mission developer, among a few other roles and blogs regularly on his own blog as well.

Image Credit: Eco Friendly

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

Happy Earth Day!

During the month of April, the COMPASS blog is providing space for questions and reflections related to Earth Day and creation care.

earthdayapril22Happy Earth Day!

Previously on the blog we began to share some reflections about environmental stewardship, creation care and the way we care for the Earth. As today is the actual day that we celebrate Earth Day, here are 9 questions for reflection that I am using today, but perhaps you too might find useful:

1.) How do I actively find ways to “reduce, reuse and recycle?” For example, in thinking just about paper products, how many napkins do I use when I eat a meal? How many paper towels do I use when using a public restroom? Do I use both sides of paper before recycling it?

2.) How much water do I consume each day for daily chores and cleanliness? How much of it is used outside? In what ways might I reduce my water usage?

3.) In what ways might I be able to reduce my carbon foot print through driving less or using mass transit more intentionally?

4.) How might my asking questions and inviting conversation about the care of the Earth make an impact in a positive way?

5.) What does it really mean when we are reminded that all we have has really been entrusted to us by God? What are the implications of this on our daily life?

6.) In what ways might I be able to help clean and steward the natural habitats around me by volunteering or participating with local efforts to restore streams and watersheds?

7.) How can I make a positive impact in my own community in creating for the earth?

8.) In my travels and experiences, what is the most unique or ingenious way I have seen by someone of creatively stewarding natural resources?

9.) When thinking about the hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth,” what images come to mind as you listen to the lyrics or sing them?

Oh, and for a bonus question, how might God be calling or leading me to respond to the needs of creation?

What do you think of these questions? How are you observing Earth Day today or this week?

Image Credit: Earth Day

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.

Earth Day, Creation Care & Stewardship

During the month of April, the COMPASS blog is providing space for questions and reflections related to Earth Day and creation care. To start this month’s series, I thought I would share some of my own thoughts and reflections.

EarthPsalm 24 begins, “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it.” (NRSV) This claim has great implications for our understanding and interaction with the earth and all of creation. I begin here because COMPASS provides space for reflections around faith, finances and stewardship for young adults.

Sometimes when we think about stewardship, we only think about money. In his book Shalom Church: The Body of Christ as Ministering Community, Craig Nessan writes that, “Contrary to prevailing stereotypes, stewardship is not only about money. Instead stewardship has to do with responding to God’s generosity by caring for all God has entrusted to us” (127).

Buddy with Allison and Me

Buddy with Allison and Me

As I think about the ways I care for all that God has entrusted to me, a few initial thoughts come to mind:

  • My wife Allison and I have a pet cat named Buddy. We care for Buddy as a part of our family.
  • We own one car.
  • We try to recycle as much as we can.
  • We turn off the water while we brush our teeth.

I could go on, but these are a few examples of how we are trying to care for all God has entrusted to us.

Some aspects of creation care are probably easier for young adults to do than others. For example, using less transportation (like having one car like Allison and I have) or public transportation may be a financial necessity. Reducing our use of technology and resulting consumption of electricity may be a harder commitment to make. Millennials and young adults have grown up with computers, laptops, television, cellphones, etc. which we are largely dependent on for work, livelihood and entertainment. Do we think about how this effects our carbon footprint because of the electricity used to power them?

On a larger scale, because of the issues of natural resource usage and climate change, Millennials wonder what kind of earth is they are inheriting. What are the implications, for example, of the great water emergencies in California on food supply sustainability, the provision of life, etc. and our life and consumer choices related to them?

Reflecting about Creation

Reflecting about Creation and the way we steward it.

During the month of April we will try and unpack some of these questions as we reflect about creation and the earth in observation of Earth Day.

Things to Consider

How often do you use electricity? How much water do you use in your daily life? Do you intentionally recycle? Do you think or reflect about the way you use the earth’s resources?

Future April blog posts will feature perspectives from others related to creation care and stewardship of the earth. If you would like to share a story or reflection as part of this series, please let me know, and welcome to the conversation!

Image Credits: Earth and Question and Reflection.

This blog is a component of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s COMPASS initiative to engage young adults in conversations about faith and finances. Like what you see and want to know/do more? Visit the COMPASS web page and join the COMPASS community on Facebook.