Thank you for committing to this 30 Day Christian Green Living Challenge with us! Each day as we step through our journey, I’ll share the challenge for the day then, depending on your green goals, I will share resources where you can learn more, dig deeper into the topic, or challenge yourself even more. We will do the challenge once *live* together, but you can participate anytime by joining in on the comments below and by using the hashtag #ChristianGreenLiving. So, when you’re ready, let’s Go Christian Green!
On day 22 of this challenge, we started to talk about the “throw-away culture” when we decided to take on a short spending freeze with the goal of reducing consumption by buying less. Today we want to discuss over-consumption again, but to consider the rapid rate we consume, dispose of things and the results of some of our choices.
In the first chapter of Laudato Si’, Pope Francis explains that although change and advancement is overall good, it is the speed and goal of our human activity that may be the most harmful to us. The speed of development is unsustainable in comparison to the slow change of the natural evolution of the earth itself and now we are becoming distressed and worried about the environment looking back.
Pope Francis boldly challenges us all “to become painfully aware” of our situation and “to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”
By pointing out the effects of the “throwaway culture” Pope Francis wants us to think about these resulting pollutants and look for ways, both as individuals and as a culture, to curb our need for constant consumption. He asks us work to “adopt a circular model of production capable of preserving resources for present and future generations”. A model of production where consumption, efficiency, reuse and recycling are all considered and deliberately made in order to counteract our destructive throwaway culture.
How Can We Escape the Throw-Away Culture?
This challenge is a great place to start, but depending on your field of employment and situation in life, you might be able to do more to help create and influence a circular model of production. AND all of us as consumers can make some immediate, yet difficult changes, starting with the very first and possibly most important step, changing our minds and our habits.
Changing our Minds about Consumption
When it comes to acquiring and buying “things,” we should think about what we want and what we really need, even if money is not holding us back.
- Do I really need a new phone right now or can it be repaired? Can it wait another year?
- Am I going shopping for entertainment or do I need new shoes because mine are worn out?
- Do I really need a new car or can I find a great pre-owned one?
- I’d love a cup of coffee, but can I wait until I get home?
- Do I need a new _____ (you fill in the blank) or can mine be repaired?
Changing our Minds about Waste
We also have to consider what we do with our things when we are finished with them.
- Do we throw our slightly worn things directly into the trash, or do we sell them in a garage sale or donate them to charity?
- When we buy carry out for dinner, do we throw everything in the garbage or do we take the time to wash out the containers and reuse or recycle them? Can I make dinner with what I have on hand instead?
- Can I take my coffee with me in a reusable, stainless steel cup and avoid disposable cups completely?
- Where does our trash go after it leaves our house?
Changing our Minds about Pollution
Some pollution is more obvious than others. Material pollution is much easier to see, but we should take time to consider other types of damaging pollution too.
- If big business causes industrial and chemical pollution, how can I reduce it?
- When I buy a cleaning product for my bathroom that contains 15 toxic chemicals, what happens to the environment when I wash the cloth in the sink?
- I use chemicals and weed killer to keep my yard beautiful. How do those chemicals affect my health when we apply them. What about my children’s/pet’s health when they play in them? The wildlife?
- I love the way my laundry detergent cleans and how great it smells, but what happens to all the chemicals from the detergent after it’s drained out of the washer?
As we wind down this 30-day challenge, today we look at everything we’ve done so far and it brings us to questions like the ones above. The whole goal of our challenge is summed up here with looking at our intentions and working to change our hearts and actions towards those that help others and preserve our common home.
Today’s Day 28 Challenge:
Like on day 22, let’s direct our minds away from things and turn our hearts towards God’s creation. Let’s ask God to help purify our intentions so that we can each personally take up the fight against the throwaway culture, even if we can only start today with ourselves. May God help us to appreciate all that is beautiful and protect all that he has made good.
Consider why you first joined this challenge and then think back to all the different challenges we’ve tried over the last 27 days. Choose one area or challenge that you felt was too hard to try and make a plan to try it today. The only way to escape the throwaway culture is as Pope Francis says, “to dare to turn what is happening to the world into our own personal suffering and thus to discover what each of us can do about it.”
When it comes to consumption, waste and pollution, what do you find to be the most challenging to your thought process and habits? I hope you’ll share by comment below and/or using the hashtag #ChristianGreenLiving.
- “12 Great Resources to STOP Over-Consumption” — by Darlene Goes Green
Here they deliver almost 200 ways to conserve water and a lot of other great information too.
- “Pope Francis’ Guide to Avoiding a ‘Throwaway Culture'” — by Mary DeTurris Poust via OSV
- “How To Stop Junk Mail” — by The Good Life with Amy French
- Opt Out of Junk Mail — DMAchoice is a mail preference service to help you opt-out and reduce waste.
- “The Throwaway Culture” — A short video from National Geographic
- “Having More, Owning Less: How to Fight the Throwaway Culture” — by Business Insider
Ready to pin! Thanks for sharing!