"Thank you for being environmentally responsible." That was the message on the little green and white envelope I used to return my print cartridges for recycling.
"It's almost spring. Time to make every room in your home a little greener," screams the cover of the Pottery Barn catalog that now lies in my recycling bin.
Green, green everywhere. I love green. It's my favorite color. Heck, I love the Earth, it's my home. You already know, if you read this blog regularly, that I am more than passionate about saving my mountains. But I am not ready to embrace the "green" movement totally.
My friend Rachel's husband wrote two thoughtful posts on the topic of environmentalism and the gospel that are well worth reading. I think he makes some excellent points, that I will only briefly summarize here. The first is the trendiness of the green movement and how it has become a status symbol of sorts. Hang your clothes out to dry? Use clothe diapers? Take your own bags to the grocery store? Way to go, you! You are so conscientious and relevant. Drive a hybrid? You get a gold star!
The second problem is the way that we can ease our consciences if we choose not to sacrifice in order to care for the planet. If I don't want to downsize my vehicle, I can just buy carbon offsets. If I want to feel good about being green while still buying new furniture every six months and dumping the old, I can just order from that new "green" Pottery Barn catalog. One of the obvious problems here is how this system excuses the wealthier classes, the very ones who have the money and leisure to do more about environmental problems, while making no way for the poor to participate.
I have been a little over the top sarcastic here to make my point. But I am the first to admit that I don't do enough to care for creation. Folks who are jumping on the green bandwagon to be popular are probably doing a lot more for the earth than I am. But I think there are a lot of people like me, too, who are doing a little at a time, changing small things, learning what it means to consume less and re-use more. I think this trend is a good thing. A very good thing. I also think that the posts by my friend's husband show a way forward for Christians who want to get involved.
Green is the new black. It's trendy. But trends that aren't grounded in a deeper philosophy or worldview will never be more than trends. If we can't tie the environmental movement that is sweeping our culture to something more than a vague idea of saving the earth for our grandkids, it won't last. It is unfortunate that Christians have not led the way in this new trend, but they can provide a grounding framework for it. There is a loving God who created this world and cares for it. The decay of creation and its rebirth are intricately tied up in the sin and resurrection of man. Lent is here. We wait for death. But Easter comes, and a new birth. We are reborn into a new creation. This earth will be our home, though in a new form more glorious than we can imagine. And so we have a duty to care for it now, just as we care for our own souls, so that it's glory will be revealed when we are raised up.