During this class (Environmental Studies at Warner Pacific College) we have discussed many different aspects of the environment and I have learned a lot about ways that we can help sustain the world we live in. I am sure that in this class we have only scratched the surface of the ways we are able to maintain our environment. In this paper I will discuss three ways in which we can preserve our ecosystem. But before I do I would like to tell a short story about myself when I was first in college. I was helping out with the Junior High age group at my local church. Every other Sunday I would give a message to the kids and hope for the best. The Junior High age can be difficult to please so it was always nerve wrecking trying to get them to respond to the message presented so that they might hopefully grow in their relationship with Christ. One particular Sunday I was asked to give a word on the environment. I thought this was an absolute waste of time. Why would I use valuable church time to talk about why we need to environmentally friendly? It did not make sense to me. I preached the message and the youth group was about as interested in the topic as I was. I wish I could preach that message again; I would have a lot more to say. God has given us a beautiful world and we are to be good stewards of it.
The first way we can help with conserving our environment is recycling. I do not just mean throwing away your garbage in the right bins. I mean being less wasteful in general! There are so many easy ways to do this. I always thought that this was so insignificant but after researching and finding all the ways that we are able to help in this area is very eye opening. Here are just a few examples. Using less paper napkins could save over 1 billion pounds in landfills each year! There are 63 million newspapers printed each day in the U.S. about 69%, of them will be thrown away. If we recycling just the Sunday papers we would save more than half a million trees every week. Another fun fact is that if all households in the U.S. paid their bills online and received electronic statements instead of paper, we would save 18.5 million trees every year, 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and 1.7 billion pounds of solid waste. It is crazy how such little things could make such a large impact. Like I said it is not just about using the proper trash bin, the idea is much bigger! Being less wasteful can integrate into every part of our lives. Transportation is one, think of all the ways we could make an impact, using public transit, carpooling, consolidating our trips, these are all very practical. The problem is they are also inconvenient. With the way our society is today inconvenience is not tolerated. We want things fast. But if we looked at being less wasteful as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience think of all that we could accomplish!
The second way we can make less of a negative impact is to buy local. Unlike recycling I did not know how big of an impact this could make on our world. I have always known that recycling was a good idea and we should do it, I just didn't practice it myself. It was not until this class that I heard of how much of a difference this could make. It is not that there is some magic in the way local produce is grown. Our local farms create just as much pollution as others. But when you consider the amount of pollution created to get your food from the farm to your table that is where we can save. Whenever possible, buy from local farmers or farmers' markets, supporting your local economy. This will reduce the amount of greenhouse gas created when products are flown or trucked in. Not only is buying local going to help out the environment it will also give you a much healthier and chemical free body!
The last and most important way in which we can help preserve the environment is education. Just like the way we are all being educated by our professors we are to do the same for others. If we do not have a positive influence on the upcoming generations we will be even worse off than we are now. It is also just as important to practice what we preach. One way to inspire a younger generation is to lead by example. G.K. Chesterton said “Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another” If we do not value the environment with our actions we are not being effective. We must not only educate on the importance of preserving the environment but show how important it is by living it out ourselves.
Throughout this class we have discussed many ways that we can help reduce our footprint on our environment. Although I only mentioned three ways in this paper, there are many more. I believe that many people think just as I did when I was asked to preach that message to the youth ministry. They think that their personal actions are not affecting others and that the problem with the environment is blown way out of proportion so that the media has something to talk about. The fact is we do play a part in this and we should be good stewards of our planet. I believe that this is another way that God can teach us stewardship not only with the environment. I believe God has given us many gifts and talents that we are to be good stewards of. He has a plan for each of us that goes well beyond preserving our world and it would be a shame to waste the plan he has for us. This class has been very enlightening for me and I plan on not only sharing the information I received but to live in out in my own life as well. I believe this relates to all of us in our future careers because how we live and treat the planet today will impact all we do in the future.