Monday, February 18, 2013

Simplifying Climate Change

I know, it's Lent.  I should be writing about Ash Wednesday, or penance, or the Pope's resignation.  I think all that's pretty well covered in other people's blogs.  I was reading an article in the January issue of The Catholic Worker about "The Church and Climate Change".  This started the wheels turning in my head.  Regardless of which theory you subscribe to, I think it can be generally agreed that there is an enormous amount of environmental pollution and waste that has been going on for decades.  I am glad the Church takes the stand that, as stewards of the earth, we need to be proactive in protecting it for future generations.  About time.  I'll save the farther-reaching issues for those who are much more educated and intelligent than I am.

The article did bring the issue closer to home for me.  I frequently think about these things in relation to what small part I play in them.  Though I do try to drive less, my loved ones are dispersed and I like to visit them.  I homeschool my son, but he plays hockey 50 miles away...  I cannot imagine life without a car.  A car = freedom and independence.  

I heat my home with a woodstove - renewable energy - and resist the temptation to use the air conditioner for all but the 3-6 hottest weeks of the summer.  It helps that it is a window unit, which I install and remove every year.  I just delay installation until the heat is unbearable.  

I disagree that my few head of backyard livestock contribute significantly to greenhouse gasses.  In fact, they have contributed significantly to the fertility of my soil so far.  They also contribute dairy products and eggs for my household and meat for the freezer.  They eat the weeds on ten acres, thereby reducing the fire hazard and eliminating the need for gas powered weed control.  

I will admit that I have a ways to go for gardening success.  I try to reuse packaging and buy in bulk.  I use and reuse every possible drop of water, it is Northern Arizona, after all.

I enjoy the internet, my cell phone, kindle and netflix.  I like to flip a switch and have light and I really like the indoor outhouse.  I may not ever be as "green" as I really could be.   I'm still on the grid, because it would take 15 or more years to recoup the switch to solar - my usage is rather minimal.  I take delivery of propane, because I do a lot of cooking on my gas stove, my gas clothes dryer gets used 2 or 3 times a week, though I occasionally hang clothes outside, and I have the gas heater for emergency back up.  Still, I only use 150-200 gallons of propane a year, when I don't use the heater.

Honestly, I'm not quite sure where I rate on the scale of being a responsible, green Catholic.  I do try to simplify as much as possible and in doing so, I use less.  Besides, in this part of Arizona, if you don't like the climate, wait 5 minutes.  It'll change.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Grace To Climb Mountains

Last Sunday's sermon touched on Confession.  About how we will face mountains at various times in our lives and need God's grace to climb them.  God's grace comes to us in the sacraments.  Especially in Confession and Holy Communion.  When we are suffering, we face a mountain we must climb.  God's grace helps us to climb it.

When I moved to Arizona, I purposely chose a location where I could live on less and enjoy life more.  I was going to go hiking in the local mountains every day and travel to places I wanted to explore more often.  Then gas prices went up.  My kids became teenagers.  My plans didn't work out the way I had hoped.   Somehow, I got through the initial adjustment, then I began to look at other areas to cut back.  Finally, I began to be able to live within my means again.  

When I am suffering, it seems as if I will never be able to handle what God has sent me.  Events in my life overwhelm me.  Only the grace of God strengthens me.  Confession heals me of my shortcomings.  The Eucharist is food for the journey.  Like a walking stick, the Sacraments give me something to lean on when I am tired of climbing the mountain.