The earth is the lord’s, and everything in it,the world, and all who live in it.Psalm 24:1
“The crisis of climate change presents to us unprecedented challenge to the goodness, interconnectedness, and sanctity of the world God created and loves… The church’s commitment to ameliorating it is a part of the ongoing discovery of God’s revelation to humanity and a call to the fuller understanding of the scriptural imperative of loving our neighbor.”
- Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori; speech to the United States senate environmental and Public Works committee, June 2007
Riding bicycles and growing gardens can no longer be seen as quaint hobbies or the past times of outdated, idle “hippies”. We cannot continue to live as though our actions do not affect someone somewhere. Growing food locally, regardless of the scale and self-propelled transportation can negate ecological damage and economic hardship.
If we consider that God’s call to care for creation is the same as God’s call to care for our neighbors, we have to start to live and think as if what we do here matters to someone elsewhere. For example, driving my little car creates demand for fossil fuels. We all know that the extraction, production and use of gasoline for a combustion engine are a lengthy and dirty process. This is often at the expense of ecosystems located where marginalized people of society often live.
If we fail to connect the violence in the Middle East, Asia Minor and/or sub-Sahara Africa to our own North American habits of consumption, we have deliberately chosen ignorance. And while much of the violence and conflict can often be traced back to religious or political ideology, it is also driven by economics.
Riding my bicycle does not exempt me from contributing to an extraction of natural resources and industrial fabrication (also dirty processes). However, by riding as much as possible to go from point A to point B, C, D and so on I don’t increase the demand for more fossil fuels to keep moving. It is my primary form of transportation and runs essentially on food produced and harvested and prepared as close to home as I can manage. Granted I have a weakness for locally made donuts. Perhaps my bicycle then is fueled by them. The more I ride the more donuts I can eat. It’s really a great dividend.
If the incarnation is about what is inside of us being embodied in our actions then spreading the gospel (or at least living as if it matters) might be as simple as getting out of the car and on a bike or even just walking…
We can live as an example and to prove that what we do does matter. I often hear that change on a grand scale is impossible. For example improving and expanding public transportation in La Plata County is often countered with, “It costs taxpayers too much, it’s economically viable and cannot sustain itself” etc. Is it possible to begin to think of the cost in terms of the quality of life rather than dollars?There is the old adage, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you've always got”. It’s time to let our conscience guide us, if we don’t think past the status quo, who will?