THE SETTING TO OUR STORY

 
One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.
— Leo Tolstoy

 

I recently read an article on Nasa’s Global Climate change website entitled, “The Struggle to Reach out and Tell the Climate Story.” The article posed an important question: How do we move people and make them care about how their behavior is affecting the Earth? How do we get people to feel something?

It caused me to explore my thoughts, and more importantly, my heart concerning the topic of loving the planet, caring about climate change and examining how my actions are affecting the beautiful earth that I get to live in. I asked myself, “Do I feel anything?”

Let me begin by saying that I am a creationist and believe in something (or someone) greater than us, not only creating our planet, but also the vast universe that envelopes it. I believe in intelligent design and feel both overwhelming comfort and awe as I consider that a great artist imagined, designed and created a living, breathing, evolving and moving masterpiece. This doesn’t limit my perspective nor close my mind but leads me to a place of wonder, mystery and as I mentioned, awe.

One of the most sacred text ever written (The Bible), opens its pages by paining a picture of a God whom posses a power to imagine, design, create and inspire. Scattered throughout the pages of Scripture, we find a God who imagined the planet and galaxy we’d live in and intelligently designed it with unique purpose and creative intention.

The first book in the sacred text, Genesis, tells us the compelling story of a God that empowers the land to do something. He gives it the capacity to produce trees and plants and bushes and produce fruit and seed. God empowers creation to make…more. He gives it the potential to grow and move and not be the same today as it was yesterday and it will be tomorrow. In this story, creation is loaded with potential and possibility and promise.

The story in Genesis goes on to tell us that God makes people whom he puts right in the middle of all this loaded creation, giving them the responsibility to care for creation, manage it, lovingly use it, and creatively order it. 

These first people have a choice: to do something with it in harmony with God or to use it for their own purposes.

Whether we are creationist, evolutionist or somewhere in between, we can’t deny the evidential reality that our planet, let alone the galaxy is a mystery in all the beauty it consistently displays, over and over and over again.

The more we understand that our lives are a story being told, the greater value we’ll give to the setting in which our story is unfolding. Every action, or inaction demonstrates the value we place on our setting. How we interact, engage, handle and treat the earth will affect future stories and narratives, for better or worse. 

 

The more we understand that our lives are a story being told, the greater value we’ll give to the setting in which our story is unfolding

 

Not only are we living out our stories, we are also living in a story. Every story needs a setting. And while our minor setting may be in our homes, neighborhoods and communities, our greater narrative is on earth, the cosmos and galaxies. 

 

We have to consider the setting to our story.

 

If sustainable and eco friendly living isn’t something we’ve given much though to, where do we begin? First and foremost, it begins with pausing, and interacting with our hearts. Just as I asked myself, “Do I feel anything,” so must you. 

Our stories aren’t intended to be lived alone. One of the things that connect us to the stories of the past and stories of the future is the setting that we live in. Do we care what stories the earth will tell future generations about us? Do we value the mandate to “be fruitful, multiply and care for the earth?” It begins here: what do we want to contribute to the setting of the story we are living in.

Once we get past the erroneous belief that our actions on and to the earth don’t matter and honestly examine our hearts, here are some simple steps we can take to commence our earth loving, eco caring, planet hugging story:

1. Pay attention to how you use water. The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, you're doing something good. Got a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons (757 liters) of water a day [source: EPA].

2. Walk or ride your bike to work, school and anywhere you can. You can reduce greenhouse gases while burning some calories and improving your health. I have the wonderful gift of working from home, so my car use is minimal. But if you can't walk or bike, use mass transit or carpool. Every car not on the road makes a difference.

3. Recycle. You can help reduce pollution just by putting that plastic bottle of water in a different bin. Or, maybe you can just ditch the bottled water and transition over to glass. Also, if you're trying to choose between two products, pick the one with the least packaging.

4. #BYOB. Did you know Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year? A plastic bag can take from 15 to 1,000 years to break down, depending on environment. This is crazy! We can do something about this. Disposable shopping bags are everywhere. From department stores to gas stations. Consider investing in a couple of eco friendly, disposable bags. 

5. Spend time outdoors. I’ve found that the more time I spend out in nature and creation, I develop more of a sense of reverence for it. I feel connected, in touch and enamored with the earth. This connection reminds me of the responsibility I have. Because I want to love the setting of my story, I also want to do my part to care for it. Spend some precious time outdoors and allow its beauty to move you to care…and to…feel something.

 

 
The Earth is what we all have in common.
— Wendell Berry

Alright my friends...may we live today, a story we'd want to tell tomorrow.

- Joel

 

 

 

 

Joel GonzalezComment