We need to think more

By Paul D Steury • Guest Editor

I taught organic gardening to 2nd graders but I still eat foods laced with chemicals that are made to kill harmful insects (The U.S. is not allowed to use the pesticide DDT but it is still allowed to export it to the countries that grow our imported vegetables and fruits). I praise buying things local but I still drink my coffee, which is not grown in my community, but in a Third World Nation. I commute to work knowing the more I drive the larger the hole over the Arctic, the more non-renewable resources I consume. I….

But at least I try. At least I ask myself as my father asked me “Do I need it or do I just want it?”

I have personally expanded to “How will it affect me and my community? Am I treating the earth as I would want it to treat me? Do I do unto the salamanders, the ladybugs, and the opossums, as I would want them to do unto me? ”

Since I am a consumer, like all living things, I always ask myself when shopping, what ingredients go into this object? Was there any kind of exploitation that went on during its beginning? How does my money affect justice or injustice? Sorrow or joy? Everything you do affects someone somewhere even when you buy a Snickers candy bar? Where did those peanuts come from? Who picked them? Were they paid enough? Were the peanuts sprayed heavily with a pesticide or were they organic?

We need to think about the amount of plastic we consume and dump. We need to think about the amount of gasoline that we suck through our carburetors or fuel injectors that’s disappearing and dissipating. We need to think about how we care for our lawns and farms. Is there any way we can lessen our impact?

We just need to THINK more.

Edward Abby, a pretty famous environmentalist slash author asked “Humanity has four and half billion passionate advocates–but how many speak for the polar bear? For the manatee? for the crocodile? for the gray wolf? for the Bengal tiger? for the Mexican grizzly? for the iguana? for the beaded lizard? for the sperm whale? for the caiman?  for the kangaroo? for all the world’s endangered? It is a man’s duty to speak for the voiceless. A woman’s obligation to aid the defenseless. Human needs do not take precedence over other forms of life; we must share this lovely, delicate, vapor-clouded little planet with all.”

Now I’m not saying give up everything in life and become a hermit eating roots and berries (which could be fun). I’m just saying we need to think about being stewards, caretakers of our future. We need to think of our children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s, as the Native American’s believe, seven generations ahead.

We need hope of children to push us to do more walking to church, biking to work, shopping at the local farmers market, contentment and revelry of Northern Indiana opening our eyes to God’s creation. We need desire of creating a sustainable society; a community that can take care of itself. We need hope to get us active.

Because I admit, when I drive up through Gary, on my way up to a Cubs game, I get blue when I pass by the US Steel factory seeing it sprawl wreaking pollution environmentally and aesthetically. And I know I AM A PART OF THAT because the United States is the most consuming nation globally, we buy the most goods.

You know, the Creator provides avenues of hope constantly. Hope comes from that annual miracle of flowers and experiencing shooting stars and through the leaves changing colors and through snow and it’s look of purity. The Earth is alive and well and we, the people, just need to respect it more.