Earth Day 2020
I love the image of God as an artist.
When I think about creation, that’s what I picture.
I see God the potter, molding mountains and valleys; God the painter, painting stars in the sky and the blues in the ocean.
I don’t know if that’s how God felt at creation, but what we know, is that God thought creation was good.
Hundreds of generations later, creation is still good, but she is hurting. Our oceans are full of plastic, our soil is void of nutrients, the rainforest is dwindling and oceans are rising.
This is not new information, but this is a new day.
So on this Earth day, we, the staff of PHPC, invite you to engage in Earth day in a new way. We invite you to get outside and get your hands dirty. We invite you to take just one step towards a healthier planet. And to help, we have created a list of possible ways to celebrate Earth Day from home. We hope our testimonies and this list provide some food for thought!
How Are We Celebrating Earth Day?
Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell- Going Green and Getting Clean
Like many new moms, when Owen came into our world, I became hyper aware of our environment and worried about what possible death traps lingered around our home. In addition to baby-proofing the house by padding corners and covering electrical sockets, I began to transition away from toxic household cleaning products and discovered the Internet blackhole of home cleaner recipes. Do I have a gallon of white vinegar in my pantry? Yep! White vinegar and baking soda are like the Ross & Rachel of household ingredients. Together and apart, they can be used to create a variety of household cleaners -- bathroom cleaner, carpet stain remover, stainless steel booster, and more! With a set of glass spray bottles, I can safely clean away without worrying about how chemicals (and their containers) might contaminate our water, land, and our kids. Especially now that cleaning supplies are hard to come by, it’s helpful to know I might just already have what I need in my pantry.
When my husband and I bought our home in Dallas, we lamented that the two trees that once sheltered this house had already met their fate (lightening and disease). Last year, we signed up for and received a free tree through the City of Dallas’ Branch Out program. This spring, we were delighted to see green leaves sprouting from our young oak tree. There is something magnificent about oak trees that make me feel at home. Thankfully, Owen loves when he gets the opportunity to water our little tree. And now, I love watching them grow together.
Zach Light-Wells - Composting
Jessie and I compost because we want to be good stewards of the earth. As people of faith, we are very concerned with the intersection of creation care and Christianity. In that sense, we see composting as a spiritual practice- we are returning to the earth that which came from the earth, rather than filling up a landfill. As vegetarians, composting is ideal because almost everything we cook with can be composted! The composting program that we participate in (Turn Compost) gives us mature compost twice a year that we use in our garden to help our plants grow! Using compost in our garden is a visible sign of resurrection; what has died is now helping to grow new life.
Rev. Sarah Are- Green Energy
I grew up watching my mom spend hours over a garden bed- weeding and planting, willing new life from the soil. Having grown up with that example of earth care, it only made sense that by the time I entered high school, I would be articulating a deep passion and interest for the earth on my own. My journey with creation care has seen many seasons of life. For a decade I ate vegetarian to lower greenhouse gasses and conserve water. Recently I have invested in Turn composting, a local Dallas compositing project. I have planted many a tiny-apartment balcony gardens and do my best to shop locally. However, one of the things I am most proud of, is my investment in wind energy. Because Texas is an open energy market, we have options for green electricity. Therefore, I decided when I moved here, to get my energy from a company called Infuse Energy, which provides several different green options. Infuse Energy has three different green energy plans, which offsets all your energy consumption with green energy investments, to help lower your carbon footprint. It’s an easy step to make with a significant consequence for the environment. I hope you will consider it!
Mahlon Hight - Gardening
I guess I have been gardening for quite a long time now. My husband Fred, and I converted the strip that runs the full length of our house to a xeriscape bed fourteen years ago. I have also grown herbs and a few vegetables in pots in our backyard, but this year we purchased a couple of “raised bed kits” and got serious about growing some vegetables. Basically we are growing salad. Someone referred to me as a gardener the other day and it sort of caught me off guard. I never really thought about being a gardener, it has always just been something I’ve done – in the case of the xeriscape, so I wouldn’t have to water as much, and pots of herbs because I like fresh herbs! The truth is, I also like the quiet thinking-time gardening provides. Whether it is digging in the dirt to plant something new, trimming and cleaning out our big front bed, or daily watering, tending a garden reconnects me to God’s creation in a very sensory-rich way. It takes me away from screens and chatter and allows me to focus on the smells, sights and sounds of the earth – up close. There is a profound sense of being a part of creation that comes with the spiritual practice of growing and tending a garden and for that reason I am happy to be called “a gardener.”
How Can You Celebrate Earth Day?
Check out these easy at-home ways!
1- Help Plant a Tree // According to the Urban Heat Island Management Study, Dallas is heating up faster than any city in the United States, apart from Phoenix. That means that 153 days out of the year, parts of Dallas were over 101 degrees. Trees affect our air quality, water absorption, temperature control, animal life, and beauty of our city!
2- Calculate Your Carbon Footprint!
- Calculate Your Carbon Footprint here!
- Interested in investing in some carbon offsets? Check these out!
- Carbon Offsets To Alleviate Poverty: Help offset your carbon emissions while helping farmers in Nicaragua, Uganda and India.
- Coral Gardeners: Coral Gardeners give you the opportunity to adopt a coral or buy a nursery table (tables where they ‘cultivate’ corals until they’re mature enough to go in the sea). As of now, without action, coral reefs will be gone by 2050.
- Carbon Fund: Will plant one tree for every dollar you donate!
3- Reduce Plastic by Making At home Cleaning/ Beauty Supplies
4- Build a Bird Feeder // Bird Feeders are a great way to interact, observe and care for nature! Bird feeders can be used throughout the year, but are most helpful in the winter, when natural seed sources are scarce. Make a bird feeder now, during this quranatine time, while time allows!
- Pinecone Birdfeeders (no building required!)
- Popsicle Stick Bird Feeder (no building required!)
- DIY Hummingbird Feeders (no building required!)
- Easy Assembly Wood Birdfeeder
5- Help the Pollinators by Planting Flowers // Local garden stores are still open! Get your hands dirty and plant some herbs, flowers, or veggies! Flowers in particular are crucial for helping keep honey bees and butterflies alive! Northaven Gardens is open while they are rebuilding after the tornado and they have excellent free resources online at www.nhg.com – guides to effective watering, types of plants to attract hummingbirds and bees as well as what to plant when. Their employees are super knowledgeable and helpful with free advice.
6- Educate Yourself // Educating ourselves is one of the best things we can do when it comes to earth care. Earmark some time to watch one of these documentaries or do some reading!
- Books (available on Audible and Kindle!)
- Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
- We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer
- Eaarth by Bill McKibben
- The Global Warming Reader by Bill McKibben
- When the Rivers Run Dry by Fred Pearce
- The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
- Blue Gold: World Water Wars (Amazon Prime)
7- Go Meatless for a day! // Eating a vegetarian diet is one of the best things we can do for the environment. A vegetarian diet creates 2.5 x less carbon emissions than a meat diet, as well as significantly less water (Ie: A chicken breast takes over 542 litres of water to produce, that could fill up your bathtub 6.5 x.). Not every body type is built for vegetarian eating, but going meatless for a day can make a difference!
- Check out this delicious vegetarian food blog- Cookie & Kate!
8- Start composting!
- Learn about composting here!
- Or, go the easy route, and subscribe to Turn Composting! They will come pick up your compost, or you can subscribe to a drop off compost! They’ll deliver your compost to local farmers. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy!
9- Save Water - Experiment with Xeriscaping! // You can start small. Take that part of your yard that is almost always in the sun, you know, where the grass dies, and turn it into a xeriscape bed. Xeriscape uses native plants that require less water and many of those native plants are what the bees like best! A search of “xeriscape Dallas” will bring up lots of local resources to learn about ways to conserve water and bring natural beauty to your landscape.