I love Earth Day! I figured this week was a great way to profile some great (and easy!) resources to help us better care for creation. Of course, gardening on its own is one of the best ways to care for creation + better appreciate the natural world around us, so those of us gardeners (and supporters of locally-grown food) are already on the right track!

Our family loves Jack Johnson’s version of “The R’s,” whose lyrics encourage us to reduce our waste, then reuse where we can, and then

if the first two R’s don’t work out
And if you’ve got to make some trash
Don’t throw it out
Recycle, we’ve got to learn to recycle…

We try to focus on reducing our consumption first and foremost. One easy way we’ve done that is to cut out disposable paper products:

  • I bought some of these “reusable paper towels” a few years ago to replace our use of paper towels. They work wonderfully and have held up really well – even with the crazy spills that come about with an energetic toddler running around (if you buy them this month, you get a deal on shipping + freebies).
  • We use washcloths in place of napkins. Target usually has a set of twelve washcloths in fun, bright colors for less than five dollars. We have a couple sets. When it’s just us, we’ll use them several times before washing them to cut down on water use. (Don’t worry, guests, we are sure to give you clean ones and wash yours after each use!). Other friends use traditional cloth napkins or old cut-up t-shirts, which would be virtually free. When we’re at places where paper napkins/paper towels are our only choice, we try to share one napkin instead of grabbing a handful and use only one paper towel to dry our hands.
  • A few of our like-minded friends share party-ware whenever we have larger get-togethers. We have a stash of plates, cups, napkins and silverware that we pass back-and-forth, depending on who is hosting next. It takes just a little bit extra effort to wash everything after the party, but it makes a big difference to cut down on all of that trash that usually accumulates after big parties.

What do you do to reduce your consumption? I know we have a long way to go and could really use your help and suggestions! Check out Julie Clawson’s book and blog for further reading on how rejecting materialism and consumerism is an integral part – even a requirement – of Kingdom living.