Seeing as yesterday was Earth Day, it seemed a good time to post this…it’s been sitting in the ‘drafts’ folder for a few weeks.
We live in a society where environmental consciousness is perhaps at its peak. The “green” business sector and increasing focus on global warming and other concerns in the public sector have more and more people sharing ideas about how we can each do our part to “save the earth.”
If you were to look outside my house, you would see two recycling bins (and only one garbage bin). Inside my house, there are recycling bins in many of the rooms. (In fact, I suspect that sometimes I drive my husband crazy with the whole recycling thing.) I got a great deal on a high efficiency washer that uses less energy and water than your typical top-loader. I reuse paper towels (once for hands, then I put them under the sink for later use for cleaning.) I love buying local produce and supporting local businesses when I can. I’m certainly not a die-hard environmentalist, but I try to do a variety of things to, as we say, “reduce my carbon footprint.”
I’ve been interested to see what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormon Church“) does along these lines of trying to be environmentally conscious. You won’t see the word environmentalism show up much at lds.org, but if you were to walk around Mormon temple grounds, for example, you might, as I have, see signs that talk about how they are wisely using water in efforts to keep the temple grounds beautiful. If you visit the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, you would discover that the waterfall uses water from a natural spring that was undiscovered until construction. The Church has built LEED-certified buildings that use solar technology to reduce utility costs and thus reduce “carbon footprint.” And it teaches its members principles of self-reliance, thrift, and using resources with “prudence and thanksgiving.”
These are just a few examples, but simply put, Mormon doctrine supports the notion that we are stewards of the earth, that we can and should find ways to use resources wisely and to help make this world a beautiful, safe place to live.
But in my view, as a Mormon woman, I believe there is more to saving the earth than just being green. And that is what I want to discuss in future articles.
I agree. I think learning to think and live “green” is an important part of giving thanks for the earth God gave us. I’d like to be better at it, but I’ve tried to start with little steps and work up.
Actually, J., you are going to see that the point of this series is not on being more green, but on how I believe Mormonism has a much more expansive view of what it means to ‘save the earth.’ I would, in fact, argue that we should be careful not to make ‘being green’ a gospel in and of itself, but rather have it be part of a bigger picture view of what the earth’s purpose is about, and what we can do to help honor that purpose.