And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV)
I don't know about you, but I don't like being told what to do. I might do it, but grudgingly – doing only the minimum required. When I first measured my lifestyle's contribution to climate change – my carbon footprint – I felt censured, but also liberated. Now I could see what activities were the most damaging to creation and so ‘discern what is best’. I stopped asking for plastic carrier bags and recycling an envelope rather than re-using it, so I stopped feeling guilty. And I was able to revel in the rightness of choosing ground-based travel and eating low-dairy vegetarian food.
God has entrusted us to care for his creation, and care requires understanding. So work out your own carbon footprint and take control of your greenness! There are many calculators out there – my favourite is the Quakers', both because it takes account of the real climate impact of flying and because it doesn't involve rummaging to find and make sense of your energy bills. A simple tool such asimeasure can help you get to grips with your household energy usage. I put in our meter readings every week or so and it produces a nice graph that shows how much our insulation and new windows have helped and exactly when our parents have been to stay! It's free to use and does all the calculations for you.
Possibly the most important thing you will find when you do your carbon footprint is that, living in our fossil-fuelled society, you can never do enough. This, for me, means three things: firstly, when we have cut our emissions as much as we can, we offset the rest with Climate Stewards; secondly, more important than living low-carbon is to campaign for a low-carbon society, which you can do with Operation Noah; and finally, we need to thank God for grace!
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