The Weston A. Price Way

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sustainable Friday...Um, What's 'Sustainable'?

Awaiting the completion of their new,
portable coop, the new chickens 'play'
with two of our grandchildren.
According to, sustainable living is, "any lifestyle based on energy-saving and environmental responsibility." I really do like that simple definition.

Wikipedia provides a comprehensive list of subjects within the sustainable living realm. That list includes building materials, power sources/fuel, food-including industrial agriculture, distribution/transport, local & seasonal foods, reduction of meat consumption, organic farming, urban gardening and preparation & storage. It also includes transportation in a category to itself. Also on the list is the heading of 'Water', with subheadings of  toilets, showers, dishwashers/sinks, washing machines, outdoor water usage, conservation of water, and sequestering water. The final heading is, 'Waste'.

And all I really wish to point out with all this is that the subject of sustainable living is huge, and mostly has to do with what I like to think of as good stewardship. We have this beautiful world to care for and so much depends on our doing so wisely. I do not omit God from the factoring when I say this, but I firmly believe we were put here to be responsible and not just consider our own piddly finances and relatively small lives when Scripture speaks of stewardship. No, this is not all we are to oversee. 

'Subduing the earth' doesn't mean leaving it and all its creatures to fend for themselves. It can't be done. The earth, although often spoken of as a person, is not human. It cannot think. It is to be cared for. The plants cannot think. They are to be cared for. And even animals, though some of them seem smarter than humans, they are to be cared for, by humans, as well. Does that mean we are to consider the good of any of these over the good of a man? I do not believe so. However, their care should be high priorities. 

I have to chuckle when I consider all the times well-meaning people have stated in my presence that we must be good stewards of our cars if we're to expect to have better cars in the future. Good stewards of our homes if we're to expect to have better homes in the future. And somehow, this sounds so hollow to me now...always something material with the promise of bigger material to come. No, I do not believe this is what true stewardship is about. 

True stewardship is about pouring into the lives of others. And when we start daring to think a bit bigger, we realize that 'the lives of others' may have something to do with the others who will be here when we're gone. We can leave a legacy of love and godly care, or we can just leave a house. And while the latter isn't to be looked on with disdain, the former is the true jewel.

I am not the best example when it comes to leaving a small footprint behind me...I still use paper towels and paper napkins. I will use toilet paper as long as it's available to be used. Sorry, I just know I will. I even use paper plates sometimes. But I am doing some things I never considered before, like recycling baggies, trying to remember to take my own bags when I go shopping, and eating leftovers more. 

We are also raising chickens for our own eggs. I believe by following the Joel Salatin method of pasture- (yard) grazing our birds, we are feeding them in a more natural way and caring for the grass while simultaneously, feeding ourselves the most healthy eggs possible.  

There are so many different things people do to help sustain good life on our planet. I think Christians, along with others, have shunned this a lot in the past. But as I think about it, I really don't know why. Sometimes I wonder if it's just because we're so busy taking care of other important things, like our families, that we don't want another thing to concern ourselves with. I don't think it's so much selfishness as self-preservation. We don't want to be overwhelmed and we don't want to feel guilty over our lack of stewardship, either. So, we somehow make it out to be a 'New-Ager' or 'Hippie', or 'Tree-Hugger' type of thing. And look at that...We're calling names just as children do.

So, it seems the answer to this may be for everyone to lay down their swords. The finger-pointers need to stop pointing and instead, point out EASY ways people can save a bit here, a bit there. If they're anything like me, and I know many are, with time they will want to know what more they can do. But it's a matter of taking little things a bit at a time. And as for those of us who have sort of gone through life looking the other way because of what we view as the vast size of this project of sustainability, maybe we should let go of the know, let go of the pride a bit. You know, that part inside that doesn't want anyone to think you've been negligent or erring, even if you have. 

So, I'm hoping "Sustainable Fridays" will be like that...sharing ways we can make small, medium and large differences, but without condemnation that would cause defensiveness that would lead to anger which might lead to name-calling, which could result in nothing getting done.

We will start next Friday. The starter subject won't be one of the 'little' things that anyone can do. Not because I want to show anybody up, (the truth is, I admire those who can manage life without paper towels and napkins), but because I like the subject about which I will write AND because my husband and I are sharing about that subject with a group of people in our backyard the day after it's to be posted. 

Next Friday, it's about backyard chickens.

If you are practicing sustainability in your home, I'd love to hear about it, and may even use your (possibly edited) story as a "Sustainable Friday" post! So, don't be shy...write me at and BE SURE TO PUT  "Sustainable Friday" in the subject line. I'll be looking very forward to hearing from you! 

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