Over the past several months, I have been prompted to think more about conservation, stewardship, reusing, recyclying, saving, etc., and I have to admit, I feel a bit overwhelmed. There are so many statistics from so many sources. And the problem can just seem absolutely overwhelmng.

As I run these ideas through the grid of my Christian faith, however, it seems that even if the Greenhouse Effect is all a hoax, and even if fossil fuels aren’t creating political chaos, there is something very important about taking care of what I have, not being wasteful, and protecting things that are natural and beautiful since God created them that way.

While I continue to process through all this means, reading books and blogs, talking to friends, making small lifestyle changes, and talking with the Lord about his pleasure in all of this, here’s where I am so far:

1.) I am making a very conscientious effort to recycle as much as possible. Even though I’m not a big trash producer anyway, it’s amazing how many things I have been putting into a landfill that can actually be recycled. So, I try to think about what goes in the garbage. In my city, curbside pickup is not only NOT required, you have to pay extra to have it picked up, so I am taking my own to the recycling dumpster (which also is near a friend’s home so I’m not making extra trips).

2.) I volunteered to organize recycling at work. They are buying the receptacle for the breakroom, and I’ve offered to be in charge of taking it to the same recycling dumpster as I take my own. My employer seemed very interested in my offer, which made me more motivated.

3.) I am turning off my computer every day rather than leaving the monitor and modem on and the computer on standby. I also have been unplugging my cell phone charger when it’s not actually charging. I’ve read that these two acts alone would save a lot of energy usage in the world if EVERYONE did them. (I probably won’t notice a difference on my own electric bill, but I do believe it’s saving a little energy).

4.) The thermostat stays between 58 and 60 (after I added insulation to the attic, I bump it up to 60 occasionally). And I keep the lights off except when I actually need them.

5.) I’ve been washing all my clothes in cold or warm sometimes. And I’m planning to get a drying rack. I’ll probably still use the dryer some to fluff the clothes, but they can certainly air dry most of the way. Plus, the moisture will make the air more comfortable in the house.

6.) I have been taking a cloth bag to the farmer’s market and grocery store, instead of accumulating more paper or plastic ones. And today, I was rewarded with a nickel credit to my grocery bill at Wild Oats.

7.) I am making a concerted effort to buy local as much as possible — not because I am against giving a hand up to the whole world, but because the energy use of transporting our goods is excessive and potentially damaging to us all. Doing this in the winter will be more difficult, but I’ve found a wonderful winter farmers’ market at a nearby creamery that runs all winter. So far, buying local means food. Anyone know any good sources of information on where to buy other products locally?

8.) I am seriously considering what it would mean for me to ride a bicycle more for work and errands. Because my city is not very bicycle friendly, the dangaer factor may outweigh the benefits. But I am trying to figure out routes for work and other common errands. Any body else ride a bicycle a lot in a non-cycling city?

I realize that most of these gestures will not even make a dent in the global environment. But that’s not the only point. And if I can kill two birds with one stone, all the better.

I’d love to hear ideas from others who are concerned about living wastefully . . .