Back in April, the youth of St. George’s were invited to participate in an event held here overnight called Off the Grid. It is a program developed by The PWRDF, to help increase the awareness of our youth of the serious global issues faced by our planet and all the things that are living on it. As part of the event the youth were encouraged to think about the many ways we use God’s creation, and how our use impacts the health of the planet and all God’s creatures. Part of the program, included games and activities that helped them to understand the interconnectedness of the environment and human activity, a guest speaker about local efforts to live better, and a chance to examine their own ecological impact by calculating their own “carbon footprint”.
I was invited our youth to take a “carbon footprint” test of my own. First off, I must confess that I added to my “carbon footprint” by taking the test because I did the test on one of the recommended online testing sites, myfootprint.org which calculates more than just your carbon footprint, but also your food footprint, your housing footprint, and your goods and services footprint. Together this then will calculate a big picture ecological footprint.
The test begins with a few questions that help to place you geographically and economically on the planet, then the test inquires about your consumption habits, including food, transportation, and energy, and allow some general questions about the waste your consumption generates. The test generates a result that determines how much of creation is physically needed to meet your individual consumption needs. The score is given in global hectares.
Here is how I scored: My Carbon Footprint was 15.6 global hectares and my total score was 83.51. They then gave me the cheery observation that if everyone in the world lived like me, then we would need 5.32 planet earths to support us all.
I was feeling a little depressed about my test score, so I went back and looked a questions to see what kind of answers would have given me a better score and much smaller ecological foot print. Honestly, I found out that most of the answers that would help me to lower my score, would require me to begin to make some serious changes. Bigger changes than even trying to figure out what goes in the green-cart, what goes in the garbage, and what goes in the recycle bin. I do want to share with you some of my findings, but since I personally found them so hard to swallow, that I wanted to present them to you with the help some “sugar”, in form of some help from friends I found on the internet called the Lolcats (with images from icanhascheezburger.com).
Seriously though, what I was reminded of by calculating my ecological footprint is that God has blessed us abundantly and we need to use our blessings wisely and to be gracious with those blessings, as God has been gracious with us in giving them to us. Furthermore, the warning about taking too much from creation is also an important warning for us to hear. We need to become more aware of when enough for us is enough. And this is a hard message for you and I to hear sometimes, even when cute kittens are the sales people.
Jesus says in Luke’s Gospel chapter 12, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” God blesses us so that we can indeed be blessed. God blesses us abundantly, not so that we can have more than enough and hoard it to ourselves, but so that we can be a blessing to others. And it is hard to be a blessing to others when your footprint is so big that you step on everybody else’s toes!