I have always loved being outside, whether that is climbing mountains in Colorado, going for a run or even doing homework outdoors on a nice day. Because of this, I have become increasingly interested in climate change and how my carbon footprint impacts the world around me. God created Earth and its atmosphere and environment with a perfect balance to sustain human life. This cannot be taken lightly. I believe that we as Christians have a command from God to be stewards of the earth; yet as a human race, we are actively destroying what has been given to us to oversee and protect.
The majority of global warming is from human-caused carbon emissions, based on research from the International Panel on Climate Change. This has elicited a fundamental shift in the climate of the world, leading to shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels and devastating natural disasters that are unparalleled, including hurricanes and wildfires. In addition, the waste that is created by Americans and other countries is astronomical, contributing to the state of the current environment. Billions of single-use items are being thrown away every year, and 90% of plastics are too expensive to recycle, according to Mitte Journal. To put this problem in perspective, the Ocean Cleanup Project reported, there are piles of trash in the ocean between San Francisco and Hawaii that are two times the size of Texas, appropriately called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
This resonated with me, and I have taken action by trying to change one thing every month to live more sustainably. My goal is to follow the principles of zero waste by eliminating single-use items and instead using sustainable, reusable products that keep trash out of landfills and oceans. Several things can be done by individuals to be more eco-friendly. Some examples — skip straws at restaurants, eat less fast food (because of the plastic and carbon footprint related to the beef industry), use reusable bags for groceries, use sustainable toiletries and household items (such as bamboo toothbrush, shampoo bars, dryer balls), talk to government representatives, vote in elections, and talk to other people about the environment. I started to use a web browser called Ecosia that plants a tree for every 45 searches.
Another thing any person can do is pray. We can pray for the state of the environment, the safety of those affected by natural disasters, and for our leaders to take responsibility for their actions and enact change for the environment.
Most importantly, do not underestimate the influence that you can have on the environment. You don’t have to speak at the United Nations Climate Conference or clean up an entire ocean for your actions to be felt. Fighting climate change and being good stewards of the world that God has entrusted us with takes many people making seemingly small changes that combine to make a significant impact.