Happy New Year! This January, we have an opportunity to improve upon how we care for God’s creation. Even though a few weeks have already passed in 2021, take a moment to reflect on how we can be better stewards of the Earth. These tips from United Methodist Creation Justice are a fantastic place to start!
|January is a time of new beginnings. As covenant people, we put our trust in God and put ourselves to work caring for what God has entrusted to us. Our past is past. God’s grace enables us to forge ahead on behalf of all creation. |
Tips for January 2021
John Wesley began a New Year tradition of leading people in renewing their covenant with God. At the very beginning, God gave us a garden to tend and till. Now is the time to renew your commitment to be good stewards of our earth. Choose one new thing you can do throughout the year to care for creation.
Recycle your Christmas cards—carefully! Plain paper Christmas cards can go straight into the paper recycling bin, no questions asked. But shiny cards printed on photo paper and ones that have metallic embossing or glitter are no-no’s. However, look closely, even they may have a half that is free of the contaminants and so can be safely recycled. Before you dispose of the cards, take an extra minute to reread them and give thanks for your friends.
Make a green resolution for the New Year. Ask your family for ideas of what you want to do for God’s creation during the coming year. In your discussion celebrate the steps you are already taking, individually and collectively. Choose at least one new thing you will do together. Consider adding one other action for each family member, even the younger ones. Talk also about how you can support one another in realizing their goal. Hint: Blaming is not helpful!
Paul talked about food choices: “’All things are lawful,’ but not all things are beneficial” (1 Corinthians 10:23). His point is that Christians are to exercise their own rights in light of concern for others. Agricultural practices in raising beef, especially, are contributing to climate change. Try a plant-based burger. What you choose to eat is a spiritual decision.
You may not think of Martin Luther King, Jr. in relationship to the environment, but corporate and governmental practices that despoil the land or water affect the poor and people of color infinitely more than richer and whiter communities. King stood against racism, including environmental racism. Caring for creation also means working for justice.
January is trade-out month, going through the old to make room for the new, especially from Christmas. Spare your gently-used toys, clothes, and household goods from the landfill and give them new life with people who need them. Visit givebackbox.com for easy-to-make-a-difference instructions. Note that you will be reusing the shipping boxes too! Good for all!
Are you investing in your values? Scrutinize your portfolio, especially investments that are lumped together. If you find your money is going to support fossil fuels, change to supporting sustainable alternatives—solar and wind, for example. Money talks, and corporations listen. Invest in the future, not the past.
Are you a fan of the convenience of the clips that make it easy to keep a bag closed? Love the convenience but hate the plastic? Go classic! Switch to wooden clothespin clips. A package of 36 costs about the same as a package of 4 plastic specialty clips—10 cents vs. one dollar for each! Good for your wallet and much better for Earth.
Change the light bulbs AND change the laws! Every small action we do on behalf of creation helps, but the key driver of the climate crisis—burning of fossil fuels—can only be stopped through legislation. Write letters or emails, sign petitions, or call. Push the people in power to act on behalf of the planet, the future, and their constituents.
This winter welcome the sun, God’s natural heater. Conversely, shut out the cold. If you have drapes or blinds, open and close them at appropriate times. You’ll save money on your heating bill and also reduce energy emissions that unnaturally heat up the Earth.
The United Methodist Creation Justice Movement is providing these Tips as a tool to equip church members, families, and individuals to respond to God’s call to care for creation and do justice with our neighbors.
For more about the UM Creation Justice Movement, go to umcreationjustice.org.
What is the Creation Care Moment?
Every month, the NCCUMC Caretakers of God’s Creation Committee will provide a brief snippet of information surrounding sustainability in Connections. The moment will vary from the individual level all the way to the global level and seek to provide insight on how to become more aware of sustainability in our world. If you are interested in joining the Caretakers of God’s Creation Committee, please contact Jarrod Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org.