Green Mama by Tracey Bianchi – Greening Your Travel and Worship and Planting a Tree, Eco Book Review
Tracey Bianchi is a married mother of three young children living in Chicago. Her environmental concerns for both her family and future generations inspired her to write Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide To Help You And Your Children Save The Planet.
Bianchi earned a master’s degree in theology and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics of Christianity. Regardless of your religious beliefs or denomination, and whether you have children or not, Green mom it will enlighten you on the dwindling natural resources of the earth; and how you can make a positive impact. Here, the issues of greening your journey and worship are discussed, along with advocacy for planting a tree.
Greening your trip
Before you travel, ask yourself if you really need to get there. Monitoring your trip can reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and consumerism. US residents are responsible for about 25 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, even though we only have 5 percent of the population.
Before you get in the car, ask these life-changing questions:
- Have I chosen a green place to live? Answers vary depending on the circumstances. For you, that could mean several acres in a rural area or easy access to public transportation.
- Do I live close enough to the amenities I need or the places I visit frequently? Next time you move, consider not just housing costs and the quality of the school district. Also think about commute time to routine trips, including the grocery store, church, and library.
- Do I really need to do this today or can I do it later as part of another errand?
- Can I walk or bike there instead?
- Who else can I bring with me (i.e. a neighbor who needs to go shopping at the same time)?
- Can I combine the trip with another errand?
- Am I buying locally? Are all my errands as close to home as possible?
The World Wide Institute claims that an airplane crossing the Atlantic Ocean uses 16,000 gallons of fuel. That is enough to power a car for fifty years.
Before you fly, ask yourself if you can travel by car or train. Take public transportation to and from the airport whenever possible. Bring your own snacks and decline the drinks, napkins, and plastic cups offered on the plane.
Be aware that you may be skiing at a resort that does not monitor its carbon emissions. In the long term, the same raw material that they are selling (snowfall) could decrease with climate change. Eating at certain seafood restaurants, while enjoyable, can be buying your food in overfished waters. “Be an educated traveler and make a difference when you can,” says Bianchi.
Green your stay in hotels and resorts.
Bring home half-used bottles of shampoo and lotions. Use them and recycle the containers. Find tips for saving water at your hotel. Many now offer water conservation programs that ask you to reuse your towels and bedding the next day.
Vacation with purpose.
“Purposeful vacations take into account the social imprint of your vacation, as well as the eco-friendly practices of the places you visit,” says Bianchi.
Consider a green vacation, mission project, or conservation trip.
Your local church or park district can offer ecotourism trips and vacations to destinations where you and your family can stay together. Clearing trails, helping create habitat for endangered wildlife, and serving families in need around the world are some of the many vacation opportunities.
Buy a hybrid car; They make a difference.
The smaller and slower the car, the better the fuel efficiency.
Greening their worship
Your place of worship (or any other community setting you experience, including work) may ignore promoting a green atmosphere. “It turns out that the very buildings that were designed to proclaim the wonders of the God of the universe are some of the least green places in the country,” says Bianchi.
Styrofoam cups, individualized cream and sugar packets, stir sticks, multi-page newsletters, and company newsletters printed with petroleum-based ink (instead of eco-friendly soy-based inks) they are among the ecological naysayers.
“Greening the church is not a fad or a hippie luxury; it is good stewardship and it is our future,” he says. Bianchi suggests two levels to begin greening your worship:
1. Start with your senior pastor, minister, rabbi, etc. A simple meeting with him or her can start the dialogue. More talks can be convened with committees, elders, trustees, and other leaders. Take advantage of the professional talents in your congregation, including architects, engineers, and HVAC experts.
Discuss who will lead the greening efforts. It may or may not be you. The green team should investigate recycling options, reasonable lighting and energy adjustments, and other common sense and green adaptations.
2. Use personal and covert greening efforts if you encounter congregational resistance. This includes turning off the lights in the classrooms and collecting and recycling newsletters and church bulletins on your own.
A universal response from churches, nonprofits and other organizations that resist going green comes at a cost. Today, many establishments are working with limited funds.
Greening a place can seem expensive. Waste haulers may charge additional fees to remove recyclable materials. Recycling bins can be expensive and buying Fairtrade tea and coffee can sell for more, but once done, there are often long-term savings.
In church, some may wonder if a greener life is theologically supported. Going green will have its detractors in any environment.
Plant a tree
None of us can save the world on our own, but each of us can make a difference. Bianchi mentions Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist who, in 2004, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Maathai says that one thing we can do to combat environmental injustice is plant a tree. It is something that we can all manage. Plant something green whether you live in a tall building, on a farm, or anywhere else. Dip your hands in the earth and give life.
Greening your journey and worship offers a variety of ways to reduce your carbon footprint on earth. Consider planting a tree to promote perpetual life in nature.
Green mom offers a variety of websites to help you live more consciously and reduce consumerism. One of the best is the Center For A New American Dream. Visit them here: http://www.newdream.org/.