Archive for the ‘Green Living’ Category

Why Choose Cloth? Menstrual Pads for the Modern Woman

I wrote this blog post for Top To Bottom Baby Boutique earlier this year, but I’d like to share it with you, too.  I have used cloth menstrual pads for almost 4 years now, and began manufacturing and selling cloth menstrual pads in my Etsy shop three years ago.  This post stems from that.

So you love cloth – diapers, that is. Maybe you’ve switched to cloth kitchen towels, and cloth wipes, too. And now you’ve been thinking: if it’s good enough for my baby, maybe it’s good enough for me?

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about cloth menstrual pads since I started selling Wee Essentials cloth menstrual pads on Etsy in 2008. Women worry a lot about how well they work, if they smell, and how to wash them. Many remember their grandmothers talking about wearing “rags” that leaked and were difficult and embarrassing to wash. And a surprising number confide in me that when their periods are over, they are left raw, red, and irritated in their most sensitive areas.

But there is a reason why most women who try cloth pads never go back: cloth is comfortable, easy, and actually a little fun! (Hey, you need something that will cheer you up when Aunt Flo comes!)

I’d like to answer some of the questions women have asked me, and explain some of the best benefits to using mama cloth!

  • · It’s comfortable. Disposable pads are made of paper and dehydrated cellulose (ie. Wood fibers!) That’s why they chafe and itch. It’s like wearing cardboard! Cloth pads are generally topped with natural fibers like cotton – just like your underwear.
  • · It’s pretty – okay, this probably isn’t the best reason, but I like it! It sounds silly, but it makes me smile a little when I choose a pretty pad. I need that when I get my period. It’s a whole lot better than bleached white paper!
  • · Yes, they are absorbent. And, yes, they will leak – only if you wear them too long. Just like any pad. But I can tell you this – in my memory, I’ve only had a cloth menstrual pad leak on me once, and it was because I didn’t want to get up to change.

Look for pads that contain a bamboo or hemp core – they are some of the most absorbent natural fibers available.     Bamboo and  hemp hold a great deal more than a cotton core, so they are worth the additional cost. You can also buy    menstrual pads with or without a waterproof layer. Wee Essentials pads typically use PUL, which is the same waterproof barrier used in many cloth diapers. I’ve also made my pads with polyester fleece or with no waterproof barrier at all for customers.

  • · No, they don’t usually smell. That menstrual blood smell comes from bacteria from your body multiplying in your pad. I don’t honestly know why cloth pads smell less, but I do theorize that the plastic in the disposable pads raises the temperature of the blood more than cloth pads does and allows the germs to multiply faster.
  • · They are easy to care for: if you don’t like stains, rinse them after you use them with cold water. (Hot water will set the stain – it literally cooks the proteins in your blood and removing that is kind of like removing last night’s burned lasagna from the pan…)

If you are like me and don’t care too much about stains, you can throw them in a dry pail until you are ready to wash.   They wash best when you wash them like diapers – a cold rinse, a hot wash, and another rinse. If you don’t use cloth  diapers, just throw them in with your towels and add a cold rinse beforehand. Most washers allow you to preset that now, so you don’t even have to come back after the rinse! You can tumble dry them on low in the dryer.

  • · They are designed by women, for women. Granted, the disposable pad companies have figured this out, too. Things like wings and easy-to-place designs help make your period a little easier. I also like that I don’t feel like I’m wearing a huge diaper!
  • · They save you money. Yes, the initial cost is much higher. $8 for a pack of disposables sounds a lot better than $8 for one cloth pad! But when you start to think about the cost per disposable, you’ll begin to see what I’m saying.

I went to drugstore.com today and looked at the cost-per-unit for Always and Kotex brand regular maxi pads with  wings. I found that prices ranged from 17 cents to 26 cents a pad. (For reference, that’s about what a brand-name disposable diaper costs!)

When you realize that you can use the same cloth pad several times during a cycle, you can see how quickly the  cloth pads will begin to pay for themselves. And that doesn’t even include the costs spent on medications…

  • · Anecdotal evidence suggests that cloth pads may actually reduce or stop yeast infections, vaginitis, and other irritations of your private areas. On several occasions I’ve had new customers complain of redness, soreness, or even raw skin after a week of using disposable menstrual pads. When they switched to cloth, they no longer had those symptoms – the disposables irritated their sensitive skin. Many people have told me they have had fewer yeast infections since changing to cloth (myself included – I don’t think I’ve had one since I switched, and I used to have one nearly every month!)
  • · Oh, and the most obvious one: Cloth pads are more environmentally friendly than disposables. All but the waterproof or water resistant layer and any plastic snaps can be composted or burned, rather than wrapped in a plastic wrapper, thrown into a plastic trash bag, and then into a landfill. Also, cloth pads don’t require a separate wash, and they are small, so they can be thrown in with any load of laundry – no extra water or soap is required!

 

I would love to answer any other questions you may have about cloth pads. Please feel free to post questions or comments here, or to email me at weeessentials.com or on Etsy with your questions if you aren’t comfortable asking them here. Don’t worry – I am not easily embarrassed!

Although I am a cloth pad maker and seller, my main goal is to introduce women to cloth – even if you buy elsewhere! (Though, of course, I do hope you will buy the Wee Essentials brand!) I’m delighted to be able to pamper the mamas with cloth just as much as the babies!

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Ewwww?

Just over four years ago, I discovered cloth.  We were broke with an 18 month old, and I was trying to save money.  It wasn’t too long after that, I discovered cloth menstrual pads and nursing pads.  But if you had told me four years ago that most of the disposable paper products in my life would be gone I would have looked at you sideways!  And here I am, not only using them, but selling them!

Set of 4 Light Flow Pads by Wee Essentials

Set of 4 Light Flow Pads by Wee Essentials

I get to talk to a lot of people about my business.  When people ask what I do, the reaction is pretty fascinating when I say, “I make reusable menstrual pads!”  Most of the time, women (and men, too) listen enthusiastically and ask me lots of questions.

It’s a little disarming when it’s the men asking these questions.

Regardless of their gender, I explain flows, absorbency levels, comfort, and – most often – how I wash my pads.  Washing them has a particular level of intrigue.

Occasionally, though, I run into people, who, for one reason or another find the idea of mama cloth fantastically gross.  Often, these women are not comfortable with their bodies or their flow, or don’t have any problem putting poop or vomit or greasy clothes in their washer, but don’t understand how something with blood could ever get clean.  I don’t mean it to sound like I’m criticizing them; these are genuine arguments I heard from two women from my mom’s group.

Obviously, these women were not ready to switch, and not really even ready to try cloth.  And that’s okay.  We win them over one-by-one!  But it got me thinking again about the different arguments people have against cloth, and how to respond to those anti-cloth arguments. I know if I could get them to try cloth, they would switch!  After all, someone convinced me, and look where I am now!

Can consuming make you healthy and wealthy?

Our culture of consumerism is damaging to both our earth and our wallets.  One of my goals with this blog has been to document our steps away from the greed and gluttony of first world society and toward a more sustainable life – both monetarily and ecologically.  Fortunately they go hand-in-hand.

I haven’t approached this before on this blog, but between student loans and credit card debt from a previous failed business as well as our own poor financial planning, my husband and I have found ourselves deeply in debt – and almost dangerously so.  We have been working the past few years to erase that debt – although in the past few months we have finally become truly serious about it.  We’ve started using Dave Ramsey’s plan, which in theory is brilliant.  With the right attitude, I am confident it will work – because it’s about changing our mindsets about consuming, not just about getting out of debt.

I think that’s the key to changing our ecological habits, too.

If we can overcome the mentality that our self-worth is in what we own, instead of who we are, we can overcome the consumerist mentality.  We can overcome the burdens we’ve put upon ourselves in our search for satisfaction and adoration.

The problem with “going green” in the US is that it’s marketed as a salable lifestyle. Shop at whole foods, buy the right (and expensive) cleaning supplies, cash in your clunker, and install solar panels.  If you buy the right things, you will be so ecologically friendly.

These companies see green alright – in the form of cash.  But do their products really make the world cleaner?  Sure, that organic cotton t-shirt has fewer chemicals in it, but how much water did it take to grow the cotton so you could buy another t-shirt to add to your overflowing closet?  How much gas did it take to transport the cotton to the processing plant, the fiber to the spinners, the spun thread to the weaver, the fabric to the factory, and the finished product to the warehouse, where it sat until the store called for it?  We don’t see anything but the end product, so we don’t think about all of the resources it took just to make those items.  In the end, the fact that the cotton is organic is only an insignificant change in a long series of events that are no better than they ever were.

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But it’s reached a new low. Yesterday a new commercial came on as I was watching a cartoon with the kids, and every time I saw it, I grew more disgusted.  The commercial advertised a book called “The Green Millionaire” by Nigel J. Williams  (Free with a trial membership to their emagazine, which is expensive  and probably impossible to cancel.)

The premise of this book is that there are ways to be green that will make you rich.  Most of the ideas appear to be fairly obvious and require purchases.  Some of the claims from the website:

Would you buy a used car from this guy?


“Get your share of the billions that will go unclaimed in Government “green” money.”

“Learn how to keep your gas tank full for free.”

On the commercial, the author talks about “making your electrical meter flow backwards” and getting cash for greening up your automobile, your appliances, and your home.

First of all, many of you have probably figured out exactly what he’s talking about with a lot of this.  The electrical meter – installing solar panels or wind generators may mean you can sell energy back to the electrical company.  But installation on that scale is still expensive and requires a good investment of money.  You won’t get rich on that, though I have heard of people making a small profit.  And what about the manufacturing process for the panels?  And disposal of old electric systems?

Gas for life?  Complaint boards are full of explanations – the book tells you to buy a diesel vehicle, install a biodiesel converter (more buying), and find a source of free used vegetable oil.  Where do I start?  Raw vegetable oil is not a legal motor fuel and will cost you in expensive government fines if you got caught using it.  It has to be converted to biodiesel to be truly efficient, which for the average person, could be costly as well.

Cash from the government for your clunker?  That program is over, and even when it was running, you wouldn’t see a dime of the money in your pocket.  It was a rebate – a discount, basically – off a brand new car.  When we bought our Chevy back in August, it simply meant we got a better deal. But we still paid $18,000 out of pocket in the form of a loan.  We aren’t getting richer, my dear readers.

We won’t even head in the direction as to whether or not the program was effective – considering an estimated 25% of the lifetime emissions on a vehicle is from the manufacturing process, it probably wasn’t.

And cash for your appliances?  That’s over, too, though the story is the same.  You may save some electicity, but the manufacturing and transporting process probably required a lot more than you will ever get back in green brownie points.

The book appears to talk about government grant money for “green” improvements.  You don’t need Williams’ book to get that information – it’s right here. And it’s free.

I could go on and on, but that’s not my point.  Everything this man advertises is scammy – not only is the internet fraught with complaints from consumers about this guy and his book, but nothing he says seems to come close to actually helping the environment or his readers’ wallets.  Every suggestion from the book that has been publicized requires buying stuff! Stuff that the average person doesn’t need to buy!

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The most “green” thing a person can do is not consume unnecessarily. Buying new things when what we have is perfectly serviceable is not ecologically friendly, and it’s not frugal.  (I also don’t think it’s morally wrong, just for the record.)

Here’s my plan to help the earth and grow my wealth:

1. I’m going to remove my financial obligations to others by paying what I owe so I can put future money in the bank.

2.  I’m going to buy what I need, and only a little of what I want, so that I have more cash to put towards those debts/savings and so I have less that requires manufacturing and disposal.

3. When I do buy, I’m going to buy mindfully – buying used when possible and choosing products that have a minimum of packaging – particularly packaging that can’t be recycled or reused.  I’ll also try to choose products that are as whole as possible – that is, they are as close to their natural state as possible, with fewer chemicals, dyes, chemical fragrances and preservatives.

4. And I’m going to consider whether or not I really need it.  Can I do without?  Can I use something else? Instead of buying the $10 all-purpose cleaner, can I use vinegar?  Baking soda?  Can I use potent essential oils to scent my house instead of buying fake smelling air freshener?  Could I use cloth napkins instead of paper or cloth menstrual pads instead of tossing away uncomfortable paper ones every month?

Ultimately, I know there will be purchases I make that will be unnecessary.  And that’s okay with me, as long as I’ve considered the things above and made a purchase bought with thought rather than compulsion.  And we must think about these things – our society is capable of change only when we change our minds about the necessity of consumption!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Okay, so this may be a little late in coming, because today – right now – it’s 46 degrees outside.

The last time I remember warmth of this quality was back in December, so I’m pretty excited. It’s an indication that spring is on its way – and that idea is solidified by the fact that the long-term forecast doesn’t show the highs dipping into the 30s again in the near future.

(I know all of you from up north are laughing at me, since Nashville hardly qualifies as having frigid weather.  I grew up in Minnesota and most recently lived in Northeast Ohio, so usually I’d laugh, too, at what I’m saying.  But let me tell you something – electric heat is nowhere as cozy and warm feeling as oil or natural gas!)

Anyway, one of the things I learned in Minnesota is to layer, and it’s something I’d like to remind you to do today.  If you can stay warmer by wearing the right clothing, you can turn down the heat, thus saving on electricity, as well as the resources needed to produce that electricity.  Another tip that’s good for the world and your wallet, right?

So I was reminded to layer, which I’ve stopped doing mostly because I had separated my maternity wardrobe from my regular wardrobe in my mind.  Once I realized I do still fit into most of my regular, pre-pregnancy undershirts, I took to wearing them under whatever shirt I planned for that day, just like men commonly do (except mine are prettier.)

Since I’ve been doing this, the extra layer keeps me significantly warmer even when the house feels cool.  And it feels cool a lot – we just discovered a hole the size of a TV cable going all the way through an outside wall!  (This is not the first time we’ve discovered large holes in this house.) We plug the holes as we find them, but between electric heat and a drafty old house, it’s no wonder it’s had high electricity bills!

See that beautiful sunlight?

This one was at eye level and I only noticed it because it was sunny outside and there really shouldn’t be flashes of sunlight catching your eye through a solid wall.  And I have to laugh at it all – who puts a hole in the house to fit a TV cable at eye level in a dining room?  And then who doesn’t fill it in when they take the cable out? Until today, we thought the hole was confined to the plate, but it goes right through!

Hmm…maybe I should just give the previous owner the benefit of the doubt…after all, who doesn’t enjoy a little tv while you eat a family meal?

Anyway, back to the undershirt.  The undershirt keeps me warmer, and it also means that I often can wear my outer shirt again.  Perspiration and other body odors don’t usually soak past the inner layer, meaning that as long as you don’t spill something or get chocolate drool on your hem from the kids, you can stick it back in the closet and wear it one more day.  It’s not necessarily less laundry, but it is a lot less wear and tear on your best – and most expensive – clothing.  And since it keeps you warmer, you can turn your heat down as well.

So if it’s still cold where you live, layer up.  If it’s not cold – you lucky ducks!

I’ve become what I never understood…

It occurred to me today that I’ve become what I’ve always hated.   Okay, well maybe not hated, but never truly understood.

I’m a part of a community online where frequently I hear moms talk about their kids’ allergies and sensitivities.  They would go on and on about how they could only buy food at the Whole Foods Store or wash their kids in triple purified castille soap.  The woes of having to provide lunches because school lunches were full of nasties and not being able to participate in the average birthday party without bringing their own cake.  I was of the opinion that these moms were, well, making it up.  Or at least making it worse than it was. There were too many moms like this to all have kids with real allergies.

But today I realized I am that mom. That mom that finds trips to the natural food store necessary.  That doesn’t let her kids have foods with artificial colors in them, except for momentary lapses in good sense.  The one that cloth diapers and freaks out whenever there’s an ingredient on a bottle of lotion that sounds scary.

We started out pretty laid back.  Thing One was born, and had a few skin troubles and trouble digesting cow’s milk for the first 10 months, but that’s normal, right?  Nothing to make a big deal out of – just keep slathering the lotions and steroid creams.

When I learned about cloth diapering, I quickly made the connection between Thing One’s eczema and the chemical fragrances in diapers.  My niece was reacting to Luvs at the same time, and a connection was made in my brain. Sure enough, using cloth diapers significantly reduced the outbreaks.

Thing One in Cloth Diapers - August 2007

Our first step onto the slippery slope of crunchiness.

Then Thing Two, our second son, came along. At four months old, almost exclusively breastfed, and he was constipated.  No, not that breastmilk poops-once-a-week thing.  Constipated. We watched him scream and grunt in attempts to go to the bathroom, and I wanted to cry just as hard as he was crying.  Don’t even dare suggest we try prune juice.  That was over months ago.  We moved on to the harder stuff  by the time he was 8 or 9 months- children’s laxatives, dried fruit, extra water.  It finally dawned on us several months ago that this might be an allergic reaction to milk products.  Sure enough, removing milk, yogurt, cheese, and other major dairy products helped some.

But he’s still having trouble.  After speaking to the doctor (and getting a prescription strength stool softener) she said that what I was describing was a full milk protein allergy, and that I would have to be careful to check all foods for milk products, including ones you wouldn’t normally think of or know about – whey and casein, for example.  And it occurred to me that daddy, who does most of the cooking and snack handing-out, might be inadvertently giving Thing Two foods that had those things in them.  To top it off, Thing Two also reacts to almonds, with vomit and diarrhea baths.

That begs the question, what can Thing Two have?

So last night we went through our cupboards.  Did you know that Saltines have whey in them?  Or that Spaghettios use cheddar cheese in their sauce?  I bet you didn’t know that even soy cheeses often use cow’s milk whey as the second ingredient.  For the first time in my life, I truly understood why the FDA mandated allergy warnings on all food products – some of those ingredients hiding milk products were completely foreign to me, and without the warning, I wouldn’t have caught them.

Our little demon, Thing Two

And don’t forget the artificial dyes!  It took us only a few tries to figure out that Thing One was highly sensitive to FDA Red 40.  When a normally well-behaved little (then) two-year old boy is screaming and literally bouncing off walls after having a cherry-flavored sucker…well, you figure it out fast.  No more Tylenol for you.

Top it off with the fact that Thing One is very sensitive to synthetic fragrances in bath products and laundry detergents, and Thing Two is sensitive to other chemicals in drugstore brands (though the fragrances don’t seem to bother him…)

Suddenly I’m starting to align myself with all those moms I thought were crazy and overprotective years ago!  Suddenly I see that their attitudes and behaviors were based on trying to do what was right by their children, struggling to keep their children healthy, rash-free, and sane.  It wasn’t about being super-mommy.  It was about self-preservation.

And it’s not easy, because unfortunately, a lot of the world reacts like I did – that allergies and sensitivities are either something to live with or they are not common enough to be worth catering to in the general marketplace. And it’s frustrating to not be able to easily provide the things that would best serve my children without resorting to specialty stores, the internet, and a hawk-eye. It’s frustrating to be planning a pizza party at Pizza Hut with friends in a few weeks and to know that Thing Two will not be able to participate unless I let him eat cheese-less pizza.  And I don’t doubt they used milk in the dough.  We haven’t even approached what we will do for Thing One’s fourth birthday and the cake we will eat in 2 weeks!

So I’ve become one of them:

* I can only shop for Thing One’s groceries at Whole Foods or another natural foods store.  This isn’t a matter of snobbiness.  I still get most of my groceries at Kroger.  But if I want to buy imitation cheese (or even a good goat’s milk cheese) that doesn’t contain dairy, I have to go to the natural foods store.  I couldn’t find a substitute at Kroger, Publix or Walmart.  The same for ice cream, convenience foods like macaroni and “cheese” and many other products.

* Suddenly, the best option for eating is to cook from scratch.  Which sounds really domestic and good housewife (except that I mentioned my husband does the cooking, right?)  But face it – when even the Spaghettios contain dairy, it’s sometimes easier to whip up a plate of veggies, panfried chicken, and a fruit salad for dessert than to navigate the iffy waters of ingredient lists on frozen foods.

* I’m also suddenly considering whether or not the $9.50 bottle of Burt’s Bees is better for my kids than the $10.50 bottle of California Baby.  And not even thinking about the price,  because at least I know it’s not going to break my kids’ skin out.  (I chose Burts Bees this time, by the way, because it smells so good, like my My Baby Love soap bits.)

But…is it just me, or is paying $9.50 for a 12 ounce bottle of baby shampoo a bit insane?

* I’ve become super crunchy for laundry as well.  I stopped using chlorine based bleach,  and started using soap nuts.

*Cloth diapers remove the chemical fragrance reactions from disposables, which has made a huge difference.

*And obviously we have to check food and medicine labels for artificial dyes.  While Thing One has outgrown most of the out-of-control behavior triggered by Red 40, we still notice significant mood changes when he eats things like red M&Ms.

Yes, I think I finally understand.

Waste Not, Want Not – Phantom wastes that suck you dry…

Tuesday I received both the quarterly water bill and a shock.  For the month and a half since we turned on the water – and a month of residence – our water bill was nearly $130!  This is only for the city water that comes into the house – it’s disposed of into a septic system we own.

I immediately picked up the phone and called the Local Water Company.  The kind woman on the other end agreed – this water bill was enormous!  She sent out a water meter reader, who told us we had a leak.  A bad one.

Next up – a plumber.  He and my husband immediately found the problem – an outside spigot was cracked so badly it was basically running like a faucet.  Another $129 later, and the spigot has been capped until we make some changes to the location.  Thankfully, the current location was several feet from the house (it was put in early on in the house’s life, around 1905, and still has the original pump handle.)  So we don’t anticipate any foundational water damage.

Now, inside the house we were clueless.  The plumbing inside is working beautifully.  That water bill, though, was a wake up call.  What else are we missing?  What else is draining our financial and physical resources?

Since then, we’ve made some changes to our house to curb electricity use.  To be honest, much of this house, including the heating system, is so well ventilated that you could blow out a candle from one end to the other.  (Our bill last month for electricity, which includes all systems, was about $335.  If you remember this post about the house, you’ll understand how much work we’ve already done!)  So this weekend, my husband got under the house and taped up a lot of falling insulation and weak spots in the tubing, my father shoved insulation in the back door jamb and put a rubber threshold on the bottom where it was still drafty, and we closed a sneaky upstairs window that managed to open itself up when we weren’t looking.  We need to remember to lock those windows, especially when we have wind storms!  The guys also worked on some areas that needed to be spackled and painted where there used to be doors to the outside, which added a more effective layer of insulation against the cold.

Already that’s made a lot of difference in just the feel of the air.  Our bedroom isn’t as cold as it normally is, despite nearly record-breaking cold outside.

We’re already looking for more “phantom” wasters – those things you don’t even notice that suck energy or money from your wallet.  Other random phantom wasters?

* Paper towels (put your cloth towels in an easily accessable place with a designated bin for dirty rags)
* Uncaulked window frames  – it’s amazing how much air can come through between a frame and the wall if the window is improperly insulated or on a windy side of the house!
* Hot water heaters set too high – they should be set at 120 degrees F.  Better yet, buy a water heater timer that will turn off the heater during times you never use hot water – like while you sleep.
* Disposable diapers and menstrual pads – name brand can cost up to $0.30 a piece – and you may use several a day!
* Commercial floor cleaners – many of them, like the Swiffer Wet Jet, use a solution that never rinses completely clean.  That means that it feels sticky and collects dirt quicker.  Not to mention the disposable pads!  Instead, use a vinegar and water solution with your own homemade wet jet cleaning cloths.
* Warming up your car – unless you have a very old model, it’s not necessary to warm up your car more than a couple minutes.
Sometimes the phantoms can be hard to find because they are just that – phantoms.  If our water bill hadn’t been so shocking, I would never have questioned it, and I could have been wasting both water and my money.  Sometimes we just need to have it pointed out to us – do any of my readers have any stories to share that will help us all find those phantoms?

Why I’m an Environmentalist

This is a blog post that has been long in coming.  I’ve been thinking about my motivation for what I do for several months, and composing this post in my head over and over, hoping that when I finally write it down, I get it right.  Even now as I hit “publish” on this post, I’ve been working on writing it for over a week.

You have to understand that my reasons for being concerned about the environment are not the traditional ones.  I feel like I come from a fairly unique perspective because I neither consider myself a liberal or a democrat.  I also realize that this post may offend some people because of the nature of what I am about to say.  It is certainly a controversial topic, but I am not trying to convert anyone.  I am only explaining why I do what I do when it comes to trying to be “green.”

So…why am I an environmentalist?

As I said, I don’t consider myself a democrat or a liberal, which are both generally affiliated with the environmental movement.  I tend to fall in between the cracks, really – I don’t like either major political party, and I don’t like the policies of both the liberals and the conservatives.  I guess I like to make my own way!

I do define myself by the fact that I am a follower of Jesus Christ, however.

Wait!  Come back! 🙂

I realize that is an immediate turn-off for some people.  I realize there are readers who have already closed their browser window without hearing me out.  They’ve made assumptions about what I’m about to say or do. Tat’s a dangerous thing, whether you’ve made them about a Christian, a Muslim, a Scientologist, or even an Atheist.  There are also those who will stir up controversy in comments and emails.  And it will be about my “religion,” rather than my desire to take care of the planet on which I was born.

But enough about that – that’s not my point.  For those of you left, you might be wondering how I could be a Christian – a “born-again” Christian (oh, how I hate that term and its stereotypes!) and still believe strongly in the Earth movement. Especially since I am a bit of a traditionalist and I do believe in creation in seven literal days and the End Times (no, this is not it) and all those things that usually go against Global Warming Theory at its core.

So let me explain.  This is going to sound a little like a Bible lesson, and I guess it is, but I need to put my thoughts in context for you, my readers:

When God created the world, according to the Bible,  he created the first man shortly after.  He put this man, and eventually his wife, in charge of the Garden of Eden.  The first book of the Bible, Genesis, is the story of creation and the early days of Judaica, and Genesis 2: 15 says, “God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”  Just a few verses later, God has Adam (“man” in Hebrew) name all the animals.

But let’s go back a little bit, because I want to point out one more verse before I get to my point.  Genesis 1:26 talks about God creating man, and God says in this section, “Let [man] have dominion over…all the earth…”

I’ve seen this verse taken out of context quite a bit, used as an example of God allowing the destruction and rape of the earth.  That word – “dominion” – is a scary word.  But it’s not as bad as you think!  Merriam-Webster defines dominion as “supreme authority” and “absolute ownership.”  If the authority is not corrupt, what is there to fear in that?  We have seen good rulers and bad rulers throughout history – all had dominion over their territory.

Think about that argument for the destruction and rape of the planet for a second – does that make sense?  First of all, a few verses later, God instructs man to tend the earth and care for it – a direct contradiction if “dominion” is another word for “destroy.”  Second, does it make sense that someone who just created something, in this case the earth, would immediately put someone on it and allow them to destroy it?

No, I have to conclude that it is our responsibility to care for the earth – to “work it and keep it,” as Adam was told to do in Eden.  God placed Adam on the earth to do just that, and that responsibility has been placed on us as his descendants.

So enough of the Bible lesson. Now you understand (hopefully) where I’m coming from.  Do I believe in global warming?  Yes, actually, I do.  There is enough evidence that the earth cycles through different temperatures throughout time.  Do I believe that this episode of global warming is entirely man-made?  No.  I haven’t seen enough evidence proving this.  Do I believe that our actions have an effect on this episode of warming?  Absolutely. Our actions have consequences on every level, in every scale.

So what do I think we should do?

We should respect our fellow humans – both current and future – by being responsible and resourceful in our use of non-renewable materials.  We should continue to find sustainable ways of life, so that our great-grandchildren don’t suffer when we run out of materials but have no new technology.

We should respect those fellow humans by avoiding waste and taking responsibility for ourselves – through gardening and raising our own food to reduce pressure on the food systems, by buying from companies that treat their employees with respect, by not using companies that have their profit margin in mind more than their effect on the environment and small local economies.

For me – it comes down to respecting and taking care of each other and taking care of the world we’ve been given.  I may be coming from a distinctly different viewpoint than most environmentalists I know, but our goals are the same!

Anyone still here?

LOL

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