We are all familiar with the idea of stewardship - that the earth is the Lord’s and that we are to care for creation. We also know that we are not doing a very good job. Climate change and its consequences are being acknowledged by most of the world’s governments and plans to reduce carbon emissions are finally being implemented. So at the beginning of this year, as we perhaps review our life(style) and plan our vacations, I would like to list a few things to be aware of.
You may have already read about steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Last summer, a team of researchers at the Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies released a study that identified four key lifestyle choices that affect our impact on the environment most:
- Having fewer children
- Getting by without a car
- Avoiding intercontinental flights
- Keeping a plant-based diet
These are all highly individual choices and it may not be possible for you to “tick all the boxes”, all the time. Your access to public transport may be limited and you would need a car to get to work. You may have relatives that live in another continent that you would want to visit. You may be married to someone that loves steak… But doesn’t everything start with awareness?
We try to limit our household emissions in many ways. But one things that seems to remain part of our international family life is flying... We have booked three flights this year, two of which are intercontinental. So if you still want to make choices that have a negative impact, are there ways to mitigate the effects on the environment?
Of course. It’s big business! You will be able to find many carbon offset programs. It may even have been a step in your flight booking process. And if you want to make sure that the program is not a scam, look at some of the options listed by the organisation Green-e (endorsed by the Stockholm Environment Institute).
If you are looking for something simpler or more personal, here are my favorites:
- Install search engine Ecosia, this social company based in Germany plants trees with the income from your ad-clicks.
- Support the planting of trees in Burkina Faso, friend of Immanuel Church Stina Berge through her organization Yennenga Progress runs a forestation program.
- Place part of your savings with Better Globe, a Norwegian investment company that plants trees in Africa. Along with a return on your investment, a contribution is made against desertification and global warming as well as toward micro-finance programs and education.