Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Growing up environmental and Christian

I grew up environmentally active.  And never knew it.

I was taught to pick up trash. My parents even warned me they would stop the car and make me walk back to pick up any defenestrated trash (it never happened, because I believed them.).

I also walked everywhere. I mean everywhere: schools, friends' homes, stores and work. And then I got a bike and cycled everywhere. I even took the RTD to downtown Denver and walked the 16th Street Mall. I didn't get a car until my father suggested I get a job to buy a car to learn responsibility (reducing pollution).

I eventually purchased a used car (that's recycling done right) in my seventeenth year of life. And I paid in cash instead of credit (thus saving on needless paperwork).

In fact, being raised lower middle class (border-line poor) during the greedy eighties really hampered my childhood (or so I have been told). With no computer, big tv, stereo system or large home, my energy consumption and geographical footprint was minimal. And we recycled aluminum cans with a vengeance.

I was green before green was hip.

And I owe it to my Christian upbringing.

Specifically, my upbringing was not always explicitly Christian but it was informed by generations of Christian practice that still undergirded much American culture. Greed and excessive spending were frowned upon. Flaunting wealth (large houses) was a social taboo. And I was always to take care of other people's property and certainly God's property: the Earth.

Such residual Christian thinking is a sane bulwark between the excesses of laissez faire capitalism and guilt-ridden environmentalism. Man does not own the earth. It is not man's to raze nor man's to worship. The earth and all that is in it is God's.

Money, technology, houses and our bodies are owned by God. And accountable to God. Thus, there is an objective and immutable basis for a correct approach to environmentalism.

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