With Memorial 1 of the Eighth Triennial Convention (2011), Women of the ELCA delegates asked us to consider the changes we need to make to preserve our planet as the climate changes. Our ecological footprints clearly show that we cannot hope to maintain the consumptive lifestyles currently lived. It is a matter of eco-justice. Too often we “first-worlders” prove ourselves to be determined to live as the pigs of the planet (sorry, pigs!) by the way some of us continue to spout unrealistic arguments “there is no such thing” and ideas about how technology can solve the problems of climate change. Attention! There will be no “save the polar bear” app!
According to the World Wildlife Fund, an average U.S. citizen requires 10 hectares of the planet to support his or her lifestyle, while an average European needs over five hectares. A hectare is a metric unit of area defined as 10,000 square meters (100 m by 100 m). The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) cited by National Geographic News, based on the work of some 2,500 scientists in more than 130 countries, concluded that humans have caused all or most of the current planetary warming. In 2007, the UN’s IPCC forecast that strong hurricanes, droughts, heat waves, wildfires and other natural disasters may become commonplace in many parts of the world. The growth of deserts may also cause food shortages in many places.
Solutions are argued as well as discussed. Like many others looking into eco-justice and climate change, I see now as the time to learn to grow more of our own food and learn to barter for what we do not grow or make, to reduce the fossil fuel needed to bring fresh produce to us. We can become more effective recyclers and begin to see our homes as the first place in which to recycle. Buy from secondhand shops. Instead of purchasing plastic containers or baggies for leftovers, reuse glass food jars and plastic shredded cheese containers, use cloth grocery bags, refuse products over-wrapped in plastic, find other uses for items that no longer serve their intended purpose and forget about buying new stuff for a new look for either body or home! Care for creation begins in the mind. Our faith provides the energy!
Inez Torres Davis is Women of the ELCA director for justice.