God only gave us one earth and he commanded us to care for it as good stewards. Are we doing a good job or are we letting our impulses to buy, use and consume interfere?
“The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” —Pope Francis
As Christians, we want to love and serve God to the best of our ability. We strive to “love our neighbor as ourselves” (Mark 12:31) and be good stewards of His creation. Since the very beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has been calling us to work together to care for common home with love and solidarity for all humankind. He and many Christian leaders before him, are telling us — actually warning us — that we can no longer afford to ignore the “immense pile of filth” that our earth is beginning to resemble.
In my article titled “Five Ways to Fight the Throwaway Culture,” I share that one way to combat this destructive pattern is to make smart, intentional eco-friendly decisions. Consumption of goods is important and necessary, but we want to make sure that our consumer decisions (food, clothing, etc.) is as earth-friendly as possible and that we reduce our unnecessary consumption in order to curb our wasteful habits. I did some research and here are some of the best resources I found with practical suggestions on how we can reduce over-consumption.
12 Great Resources to STOP (or at least reduce) Dangerous Over-Consumption Habits!
Why Worry About Over-Consumption?
•“Story of Stuff”
This is the official, 2007 long version of the “Story of Stuff” by Annie Leonard and a good commentary on it (and it’s book of the same title available here,) written by Ceclia Cole and published by The Guardian in 2010. It’s a bit of a “oldy but goodie” video that is probably even more true today than it was when it was created.
• “The High Price of Materialism”
This video is only 5 minutes, but it gives us good examples of how to turn away from materialism and consumerism by developing and nurturing the more important, intrinsic values in our lives. Spending more time outdoors and/or with our families and volunteering are suggested as solutions.
How to Reduce Food Waste
• “29 Smart and Easy Tips to Reduce Food Waste”
This list written by Laura Newcomer and posted on GreatList.com has a lot of things we might consider obvious, but I can almost promise you that you will find quite a few that you’ve never done before!
• Food Shift
With a mission “to develop long-term sustainable solutions to reduce food waste and build more resilient communities” and a vision statement to “feed the hungry, create jobs, combat climate change and cultivate more sustainable communities,” Food Shift is great resource for all things food waste.
How to Reduce Clothing Over-Consumption & Waste
• Council for Textile Recycling
Stats, infographics, and solutions, all offered in one site. A great place to start when trying to understand the problem of cheap, disposable clothing and what to do about it.
• “A Practical Guide to Owning Fewer Clothes”
Joshua Becker really does give us 10 practical ways to reduce our clothing consumption at BecomingMinimalist.com. Simple solutions to help us change our view on owning closets full of clothing.
How to Reduce Energy Consumption
• “Ways to Conserve Energy at Home & Work”
This list from Sadie Cornelius at EarthsFriends.com is a good starting point with some great tips. She also has some interesting green product reviews on her site, so go for the energy tips and check out the rest while you’re there.
• “Ways to Save Energy”
This one is actually from an energy company in my great State of Ohio. It has a very comprehensive list of energy saving suggestions with the idea of saving money, but the suggestions are great for avoiding over-consumption too.
How to Reduce Electronic Waste
• “The Depressing Truth about E-waste: 10 Things to know”
This article has statistics from a few years ago, so we can only imagine that the numbers have grown since it was written. Lindsey Gilham writes on TechRepublic.com that “Electronic waste is a globalized business, and about 70% to 80% of it is shipped to landfills in many developing nations, where it is sorted and sold for scrap metal or burned to extract materials, which is harmful to people and the surrounding environment.” This article is packed with good information and links like this one from the Electronics TakeBack Coalition to help us reduce our consumption and environmentally dangerous disposal of e-waste, “Recycle it Right.
• “Ways To Reduce Our Over Consumption of Modern Technology”
This post by Marie Miguel published on Environmental Protection (eponline.com) is a short, but important, list to help us avoid creating more e-waste and over-consumption of electronics.
How to Reduce Plastic Consumption
• “100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life”
Beth Terry at MyPlasticFreeLife.com offers us a very a challenging list for going plastic-free. Even if you can’t complete them all at once, her “100 Steps” list gives us a lot to think about. Also, check out her book titled “Plastic Free,” it sounds like a good one!
• “3 Steps to Start Living Your Plastic-free, Zero-waste Life”
I am loving this post! Not only does it help define what living “plastic-free” and “zero-waste” mean, but in her guest post on www.1millionwomen.com.au, Tammy Logan gives us a action plan and several steps to accomplish it!
This list is by no means comprehensive of all the helpful resources out there, but it is a great place for inspiration and direction to help us reduce over-consumption. I encourage you to take some time and get to know these sites and their writers!
Do you have a resource to share or have written on this topic yourself? If so, I’d love to know more about it, so please add it to the comments below.
Looking for more about why we should avoid over-consumption and how we can better care for the earth? Check out my series on Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’ by clicking HERE.