I have a confession to make. I'm turning into that guy. You know the one. He shops at Whole Foods, only eats organic produce, uses words like "free trade" and "sustainable", wears linen. I haven't reached linen status yet, but I might be close. I've read a few books in the last couple of years that have made me take a step back and think about my choices. The China Study, Green Living, The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food etc. They all have some great info and I think are at the very least thought-provoking.
Also, I'm a Mormon and here's the logic in my brain. When reading chronologically through the history of the Earth from a religious standpoint (i.e. starting in Genesis and moving forward) here's what happens, basically. God creates the Earth and everything in it. God creates man. God charges man to 1 - make more men i.e. do the family thing. Then 2 - He gives man dominion over the Earth. He makes us stewards of it. I've gotta believe that means something. Before telling us not to kill each other, God tells us to have families and take care of the Earth. That must mean it's pretty important. (I'm working on the family thing, but it's complicated - another post for another day) Plus one of our favorite modern revelations as Mormons is the Word of Wisdom (personally I think we sometimes spend too much time worrying about who's in a beer commercial and not enough time worrying about whether we're living lives of love and charity, but again - another post for another day) which teaches some important, and I think interesting and perhaps even over-looked things about health.
Now, this is just my opinion understand, but I think that in many things, God is not happy with the way we're treating the Earth, or ourselves. Not to get too Green Preachy here, but we make lots of garbage, and dump lots of noxious chemicals and stuff into the Earth. We surround ourselves with stuff that really isn't good for us. And the thing is, we really don't have to. So, I've chosen to start doing my part to make sure I'm not contributing to that, as much as I can. So here's what I do:
For the Earth:
Natural cleaning products. I cannot say enough about baking soda. Seriously. Look it up. Vinegar is almost equally amazing. With those two products I have effectively eliminated essentially all of my household cleaning products, plus my shampoo and conditioner. When I feel like buying a cleaning product (like laundry soap or dish soap) I try to find something that is all natural. You can even find pretty cheap versions of that stuff at your local grocery store.
Phin. Phin is my scooter. He gets lots better gas mileage than Charley (my car) and puts out lots less exhaust. If something is within a 15-20 walking-distance of my house, I walk there. When Charley dies, I'll probably buy a hybrid.
Recycling. Most major cities have recycling programs. They are super easy. Look into it.
Reusable stuff. Shopping bags mostly. I also carry a glass refillable water bottle.
Organic produce. I know. Really, I do. There was a recent study published in the LA Times that says nutritionally there's essentially no difference between organic and regular. Great. I do it for the pesticides. Plus lots of organic produce is grown locally. I support that.
Natural shower products. I use baking soda as shampoo, raw honey as face wash, natural soaps, aluminium-free natural deodorants. And guess what, I'm still super clean and smell pretty good. (Though I have had trouble finding a "natural" antiperspirant...which I find odd.)
I have also started eating less meat. Though Mormons are not vegetarians, I still think we eat far too much meat. If you look at the Word of Wisdom (Doctrine and Covenenants 89), along with telling us what not to do (which is what we generally focus on - i.e. no alchol, smoking, coffee, tea etc.) it also tells us what we should be doing. Eating herbs and grains and the like. In fact it says grains should be the "staff of life." Which to me means they should be the main course of any meal. And though it does say the flesh of beasts is ordained for the use of man it also uses phrases like "to be used sparingly" and "only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine." Don't know about you, but I can't recall ever having lived through a famine. In fact, I don't think anyone currently alive who was born and raised in the United States has ever lived through a famine. Where I live it never really gets cold and we don't have a "winter" to speak of. Basically what I'm saying is that I think we eat way too much meat and we really shouldn't. Plus I don't think God is happy with the way the food industry treats animals.
Alright, this got long and kind of preachy. Basically all I wanted to say was that I think we as Mormons, as Christians, as humans can do a better job of taking care of the amazing gifts we have - The Earth and our bodies. And if we want to enjoy the occasional steak, or churro, or ride through the country in a suburban along the way, that's probably okay too.
I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this subject. Whaddya think? How do you feel about the green movement? Vegetarianism? Sustainable housing? Farmer's markets? Organic cotton mattresses?