We just returned from our Quarterly Meeting. A weekend “retreat” focused on “Finding God in Nature.” Our worship sharing groups were filled with lessons learned in childhood, raising our children and grandchildren to value our earth, and what we are doing now to lessen our carbon footprint.
We found common angst in feeling like all the small things we are doing may not be enough to stem global warming and the disaster that is awaiting all of God’s creatures.
But we trudge on, finding that we are more comfortable in doing the small things rather than not doing anything. Here is a list of “Small Things:”
- one small city has found a way to recycle those brown plastic pill containers. They also will take all the hard plastic tops that aren’t allowed in the typical plastic recycle bins.
- old clothes worn so long that they are unable to recycled to others: made into rags and used instead of paper towels.
- All blinking lights on electronics unplugged at night.
- Ingenious ways to compost.
- Only one cell phone per family.
- Only one computer per family. One lady had given both computer and cell phone to worthy causes and lives without either.
- Wrapping paper reused.
- aluminum foil reused and then recycled.
- 3 minute showers.
- Appliances to save water, including on-demand water heaters.
- Refusal to shop. Most of our group abhorred shopping, especially for themselves.
- Washing in cold water to save on the carbon to heat the water and the drinking water merely running down the drain as it was too cool to use.
- Public transportation used as much as possible, understanding that with budget cuts, this advantage is lessening.
- Eating less, but better with local and organics. Less packaging, fewer trips to the store.
- Ride sharing.
- Entertainment through reading and interaction with nature.
- Older folks: walking, gardening, involved with community, exercising, giving to others–all in the effort to stave off poor health as long as possible and be an asset to the community.
- Reduction in trips, anywhere.
Yes, “Small things.” And if more and more of us find Small Things to reduce our usage of energy, what could we achieve? I can not stop the dust storms created by dirt road usage in China, or keep the world of electronics from using and depleting the valuable minerals it takes to make those electronics. I don’t need to travel down those dirt roads in China, nor do I need to own a sampling of electronic devices.
We returned home from our Quaker Quarterly Meeting, finding ourselves renewed and self-challenged. In no way do we feel that our lack of Things is a sacrifice. Simplicity has become an old cloak that brings comfort to our souls.
Be gentle with yourself and our world.