Monday, October 15, 2007,9:02 AM
Blog Action Day - The Environment
Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Today is Blog Action Day for the environment. The idea is to get bloggers all blogging about a single topic (this year the environment) to help raise awareness and funds for that issue. Part of it is to donate the proceeds from your blog that day to the cause, but I guess that would assume you get proceeds from your blog to begin with. Nevertheless, I decided to add my voice and join in.

In some ways I really don't get why we still need to raise awareness for environmental issues. It just seems like a no-brainer - do what we can to take care of the planet. Al Gore just won the freaking Noble Peace Prize for crying out loud. But then I step back into reality. Even beyond those who think global warming is a hoax (and they are out there, in droves) and those who think it is our God-given right to destroy the environment (shockingly too many of those out there too), the bigger problem comes from those who just don't care enough to do crap. Sure they don't want the world destroyed, they like the idea of swimming in the ocean, and they aren't too eager to get cancer - but none of that is motivation enough for them to change the way they live. Convenience, cheapness, and sheer laziness win out over conviction any day.

Which is why I really appreciated the call in the Emerging Church to live holistically and put our beliefs into action. Makeesha just posted a reaction to the recent Emergent Gathering in which she debunked and affirmed popular stereotypes of the emerging church. One stereotype she affirmed is the "hippie" vibe one finds at such gatherings. She writes, "all you had to do was step into the room with the food and notice the almond butter, gluten free granola, sprouted bagels, quinoa salad and organic fruit." Our food was healthy and organic. Sure that gets us labeled "hippie" but I see in that a true commitment to the values of the Kingdom.

For many of us in the emerging church, our faith isn't just a set of beliefs we affirm by talking endlessly about how blessed we are to have them and by singing songs about why they make us so happy. It is instead a commitment of our whole life to living in the way of Christ. And that includes the areas of how we eat, shop, and treat the environment. If we care for the poor and the oppressed we are not going to buy food from systems that keep them in poverty or that expose them to unhealthy working conditions. If we care for God's creation we are not going to buy food that dumps poisons into the environment or is unsustainably grown. If we care for our bodies (as temples of the Holy Spirit) we aren't going to fill them with chemicals and high fructose corn syrup. Living holistically as followers of Christ changes that.

So call me a hippie. Call me a freak. Call me emergent. I am just trying to follow Christ.

And yes that means I care about the environment.

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posted by Julie at 9:02 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 10/15/2007 08:32:00 PM, Blogger James Diggs

    Great post! I just heard about “Blog Action Day” a few hours ago and threw a quick rushed post together in order to participate in a timely fashion. I also just goggled “Blog Action Day” with “emergent” and was pleased to find so many people that identify with the emergent church taking part of the environmental conversation via blogs today.



  • At 10/16/2007 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Ché Vachon

    I have visited often, to read your posts.
    You give a perspective I'm unused to, and I like to stretch.
    But this post was quite hard on those of us who have questions, but have not yet come up with alot of answers.
    I have questions about global warming, about the information given out about it.
    I question alot of the 'hippy' lifestyle as I live in a town run by them.
    I don't know how to change everything that should be changed, so I'm reading and asking questions. Does that mean I'm the brainless person you rant against?
    I am not called to jump on the social issues that you are...and that does not mean I'm stupid...
    I follow where God leads..and that doesn't seem to be in the same areas you are in.
    Please, please don't generalize so...

  • At 10/16/2007 06:38:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Che - this was a short post and hence was very broad. But I do stand by the fact that many of us usually labelled and dismissed as hippies are that way because of our convictions. And for many of us emerging folks, it is because of our Christian convictions that we think the way we do. If I give my life to Christ, I give my whole life and hence following Christ means caring about these things.

    That said. I understand that there are a lot of people out there with genuine questions who are trying to understand these issues. That is proactive, that is doing something. That is very different from those who don't care or are too lazy to care.

    What I have issue with are those who unthinkingly deny global warming without question and make fun of us that try to take care of God's creation or those who go so far as to promote destruction (in those very words). Yes I disagree with those stances and will say so. That will hopefully lead to goo discussions and opportunities to share about my convictions.

    And yes, my convictions that often get me ridiculed as a hippie are convictions. I wouldn't be living them if I didn't think they really mattered. And so I will do what I can to educate others and explain why I think living this way is the "right" way to live. I don't think others are "stupid" as you write. and I understand that the process of understanding these ideas is different for everyone. But sometimes a kick in the butt is necessary to disturb the complacent.

  • At 10/16/2007 07:03:00 PM, Anonymous Karl

    Lots of the Christian blogs on the topic of this Blog Action Day put me in mind of Agnieszka Tennant's piece in Christianity Today, titled "What Would Jesus Buy?"

    "In Seattle I met with about 50 young Christians from various backgrounds to do a little research. Many of them mentioned social justice and fair trade among the top priorities that result from their faith.

    But we also reckoned with an undeniable truth: Fair-trade purchases are an extravagance to most people. I may have the luxury, even on my nonprofit salary, to choose to buy eggs from relaxed hens. But not everyone does. Most Christians in developing nations don't have the time and money for this kind of sophistication. Jesus, since he owned nothing, would probably be among them.

    We try to live fairly in an unfair world. But who can live a fully just life on this planet? Who has not benefited, if only inadvertently, from someone else's misery?

    There clearly is a God if, even though everything we do is tainted by injustice, we still heed a faint aching for a just world deep within our souls—and if we, at least on occasion, don't allow our responsible purchases to turn us into snobs."

  • At 10/16/2007 08:26:00 PM, Blogger Julie

    Karl its not about being a snob. Its about deciding who pays the price for our stuff. We can either be responsible and pay the full price. Or we can make someone else pay it for us. So as (mostly) comfortable middle class Americans we can say, "I'm too poor to buy ethically, if you say I should you are a snob." And so we pass up spending 7 cents more per cup of coffee so we can add the extra syrup or buying the healthy and humane eggs so we can spend our money on breakfast out. We decide to pass the cost of our choice onto someone much poorer than we are forcing them to say choose between sending their kids to school or feeding their family. No matter how many excuses you make that just isn't right.

    And its not just about "relaxed hens" either. Sure some people care for the wellbeing of animals, but most people don't give shit. But the issues affect more than just the animals - the air pollution caused by the factory hen houses where hens are not "relaxed" (meaning they are forced into cages with no room to move, alternately starved and forced fed, have their beaks removed, and fed ground up remains of other animals and their own feces) has been found to cause illness among people in the surrounding areas, drive down property values, and make it impossible for neighbors to spend time outside of their homes because of the utter stench. They are the ones paying the price for your cheap eggs.

    So if its an extravagance to be kind to others and to not force other to pay for our abundant lifestyle then so be it. Perhaps it will take living simply in order to live justly.

  • At 10/16/2007 08:49:00 PM, Anonymous Karl

    The world would be a better place if our means of food production were ordered by Wendell Berry and our patterns of consumption were vetted by Richard Foster.

    I don't think Agnieszka Tennant is suggesting that being a responsible steward is about being a snob - she goes to great lengths in her attempts to make ethical buying choices. I don't go to as great lengths as she does, but ever since encountering Berry's and Foster's writing (among others) over a decade ago I've done more than I used to.

    But I think Tennant is wise to point out to us socially and environmentally concerned types not to take ourselves too seriously. Nor to forget the head-shaking perplexity that would result if we tried to describe our middle-class angst over whether our eggs are humane to the average Rwandan Christian. (Although the Rwandan might be horrified if she visited a factory henhouse).

  • At 10/17/2007 07:31:00 AM, Blogger Kathryn

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post, Julie. I didn't hear about the blog action day at all till reading here, so have posted a very late contribution at my place, inspired by a presentation I heard last week.
    What was interesting for me was the opportunity to discuss these issues with a clergy friend from a poor parish in South India, who was at the same conference...Her attitude, not surprisingly, was that responsible care of creation was a challenge too many for her people, who struggle to survive - but that she could not believe that, knowing what we know, so many westerners are unchanged by the knowledge.
    I'm so with you that these issues are part of our fundamental calling as Christians, and get equally frustrated when people say that they are an optional extra. It's the same mind set that won't buy Fair Trade coffee because "it doesn't taste as good"...Ummm...the difference in taste is miniscule, the difference fair trade makes in the lives of the coffee growers, incalculable. Thanks again.


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