Monday, June 10, 2013

We Can Do Better

American trash 1
Over the weekend I worked two events - one was a walk-a-thon for a jail ministry, the other was an event to help low-income residents receive food and clothes and to connect them to various social services.  Both events were held at churches; neither made any attempt to recycle.  It hurt me to watch as plastic bottles and aluminum cans were tossed in the trash.

For me, this problem was wrong on several levels.  First, both churches were a denomination that says the Bible is to be taken literally.  Yet verses pertaining to our care of the earth, such as Psalms 24:1, "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it," are completely disregarded.  To me, such a verse means we aught to cherish the earth, and part of cherishing it means to be careful with our resources.  

Another problem is poor use of financial resources.  At the first church, the use of bottled water bothered me because there was a drinking fountain in the room where registration and other activities occurred.  However, a big sign on it notified visitors that it was broken and to not use it.  My thought was that with all the bottled water they purchased over time, they probably could have fixed the water fountain.  And then could use the money that otherwise would be spent on bottled water to do good works.

At the other church, I saw a different kind of waste. There I watched as aluminum cans were tossed into plastic garbage bags.  Not only is aluminum an easily recyclable resource, it has value to it.  In our community, Habitat for Humanity collects aluminum cans and uses the recycling money to supplement its income.  This organization builds houses for low income families, like the ones the event was helping.  They were, in effect, taking money from the people who they were there to help.

The lack of recycling also set a poor example for the next generation.  The second event targeted families so had lots of activities for children.  Children are impressionable and malleable; setting up a recycling station would have been a great teaching moment.  Instead, the adults showed the children that it's okay to be a throw-away society.

In the future, for similar events, I need to remember to ask about the possibility of recycling.  Small changes can have a huge impact.


EcoGrrl said...


Here's something you might like:

Deanna said...

This is an area in which our church could do much better. A few years ago, my daughter, another church member and I did a "green assessment" of our church and wrote up some recommendations. The pastor at the time wasn't terribly interested and then other things came up which prevented us from actively pursuing this with the Session. I've been thinking about working on this again soon, though. I think the first thing I'm going to do is purchase an attractive receptacle for the Narthex and ask people to put their church bulletins in it after the service for recycling.

Shona~ LALA dex press said...


I am easing back into the world of blogging (still have to transfer stuff over from my Google blog reader to a new service). I had been reading her blog and just picked-up Zero Waste Home from the library, in addition to a bunch of books on green/ minimalist living (Cradle to Cradle is good & scary) it's got me pumped again! My boyfriend (a couple weeks away from 1 year!) saw me slightly lose my $#!+ in Trader Joes because items I bought specifically because they were in glass jars are now packaged in plastic! UG!

Cherie said...

Deanna, I always disliked the idea that the bulletins are used for that short hour and then trashed. Great idea to get people to drop them in a recycling bin!

Cherie said...


Congrats on your upcoming anniversary! I feel I'm partly responsible after encouraging you to attend meeting on a regular basis. ;) I'll look into the book Cradle to Grave.

Cherie said...


Thanks for the link! I wish my area had an office of sustainability. Maybe some day...