Hugging Trees? or Simply Being Responsible?

Posted in environment by Nathan Creitz on June 19, 2008
Over the past few years I have become much more of an environmental activist than I ever would have thought possible. Some of this is by necessity, some of it is by moral conviction, some of it is because it is so dang practical. I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a treehugger, but I would say that if there is an opportunity to “reduce, reuse, or recycle”, I’m all for it. 
Of course, we’ve been recycling for years and my wife and I usually have more to recycle than we have trash (though with cat poop the scales probably tip more towards trash than recycleable waste…but don’t post a comment telling me all the ways you can use cat poop). I knew I was moving more towards “environmental activist” when the other day I almost threw a plastic bottle in the trash but ended up holding onto it for a couple of hours until I could throw it in a recycling bin. I remember thinking, “I would just as soon throw a piece of trash on the ground than throw this plastic bottle in the trash”.
So, am I a treehugger? An environmental activist? or am I simply a responsible citizen. I’d like to think that all the changes I’ve made over the years have come from simply becoming more responsible. I mentioned that some of my “activism” is out of necessity. My wife and I are moving partly because we don’t want to be commuting all over Greater Boston just to get to work or school. That reduces fuel usage and carbon emissions, etc. I’ve been using my bike since April and haven’t had to spend as much money on bus or T-fare. You can’t get more environmentally friendly than a bike. So, all of that saves money, and with gas currently at about $4.15 a gallon, that’s actually quite a bit of money. 
I also mentioned that part of this change in behavior is out of moral conviction. Who better to advocate for our world than a Christian, one who has been entrusted with the world as a steward of God’s creation. We have a mandate to protect the environment. I’m not going to spend weeks sitting on a tree branch so that bulldozers don’t “kill” another tree like the kids in Berkeley California are doing right now, but I can be responsible with the resources I’ve been given. 
Thirdly, I mentioned that actively protecting the environment is practical. Why let the refrigerator door stand open while you wash the lettuce? Why let the water run while you brush your teeth? You know, the things your mom used to tell you not to do. According to the One World, Two Wheels Campaign, 25% of all trips are within 1 mile of the home. 40% of all trips are 2 miles from home. The U.S. could save 462 million gallons of gas a year if we increased cycling from 1% to 1.5%. That’s $1.8 billion dollars according to current gas prices. It just makes sense that we can do more to reduce, reuse, and recycle in our world today.
I’m no treehugger. I may not even be a die-hard activist. However, my hope is that we can raise the bar on what being a responsible citizen means and for those of us who are Christians, I hope we can raise the bar on what it means to be a good steward of the resources God has given us. It doesn’t just mean “tithe”. It means taking responsibility for God’s creation and making the world a cleaner, safer, and more beautiful place to live.

One Response

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  1. Mr. Sustainable said, on June 30, 2008 at 12.58 pm

    Exactly right! Personal responsibility is key. To do otherwise is a cop-out. That’s why we have people saying, “I buy bottled water because I can afford it, because everyone else is doing it and because tap water tastes bad.”

    For my part, I installed a reverse osmosis filter on my kitchen sink and bought an I Am Not Plastic aluminum bottle from so that I can carry clean water on my person.

    I also advocate for the truth about so-called green brands of bottled water. I just posted a thread about over at

    I hope that you enjoy it.

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