Think having a green corner in your parish newsletter or bulletin is a great idea, but don’t have time to research or write one? Episcopal Climate News is here to help! Every Monday, to help Christians live out our faith in daily life, ECN offers a free green-living tip and a theological quote that your parish can use. Just copy/paste the text below, and feel free to edit/shorten as your space requires. Share this week’s column on Facebook.
Living on God’s Earth
By Episcopal Climate News, facebook.com/EpiscopalClimateNews
This week’s earth-friendly living tip: Green Your Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Here are several tips to help you plan a greener holiday:
1. Use reusable dishes: Avoid the waste of paper or plastic plates, cups, and silverware. Perhaps cleaning the dishes as a family can become a new tradition!
2. Three ways to use less energy: Put dishes that need the same temperature into the oven at the same time, cook less by letting ingredients like butter warm up to room temperature first, and turn down the heat 2-4 degrees since the cooking and guests will warm things up.
3. Reduce food waste by using smaller plates: It’s better to take smaller portions and go back for more than to take too much and throw some of it away. This is especially true for the kid’s table!
4. Shop local and organic: According to Sustainability at Harvard, “There are significant benefits of using local and organic foods, and free range and naturally fed animals taste better. While a lot of these choices may seem cost-prohibitive, buying even one or two items locally and/or organically grown can make a difference.”
5. Eat less meat: Roughly 20% of greenhouse gases come from livestock. We’re not going to tell you to not to serve turkey, but perhaps there are ways to at least reduce our meat consumption. Does that green-bean casserole really need bacon in it?
6. Use natural decorations: Plastic fall decorations at the store may be beautiful, but they’re made of petroleum and needed fossil fuels for shipping. Use berries, boughs, or leaves from your neighborhood as decorations instead – you can even get the family outside together to gather them! Also use soy or vegetable-wax candles.
7. Remember to give thanks for God’s earth, which gave us everything in this wonderful meal and even gave us our loved ones, themselves a part of creation.
Episcopal Climate News quote of the week: Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer
Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, writer, and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York. Kimmerer is an enrolled member of the Citizen Band Potawatomi. This quote comes from her essay “Returning the Gift”:
“In the teachings of my Potawatomi ancestors, responsibilities and gifts are understood as two sides of the same coin. The possession of a gift is coupled with a duty to use it for the benefit of all. A thrush is given the gift of song—and so has a responsibility to greet the day with music. Salmon have the gift of travel, so they accept the duty of carrying food upriver. So when we ask ourselves, what is our responsibility to the Earth, we are also asking, ‘What is our gift [to the earth]?’ … Among the most potent of these [gifts] is gratitude.”
“Gratitude may seem like weak tea given the desperate challenges that lie before us, but it is powerful medicine, much more than a simple thank you. Giving thanks implies recognition not only of the gift, but of the giver. When I eat an apple, my gratitude is directed to that wide-armed tree whose tart offspring are now in my mouth, whose life has become my own…. We human people have protocols for gratitude; we apply them formally to one another. We say thank you. We understand that receiving a gift incurs a responsibility to give a gift in return. The next step in our cultural evolution, if we are to persist as a species on this beautiful planet, is to expand our protocols for gratitude to the living Earth.”