Consume less in 2011 so the world has more
When she was a teenager, Anne Williamson remembers wearing a T-shirt with a picture of a rhinoceros on the front. It was her way of making a statement, “This is an endangered species.”
“I intentionally wore it as a way of saying, ‘this is important to me,’” said the now 29-year-old. “I was proud I was wearing something that conveyed a passion of mine–a respect for animals.”
Nowadays Williamson is no less passionate about the Earth and all its inhabitants. In fact, some would say that she’s a role model for green living. Whether she’s repurposing old cereal box liners into doggie waste bags, devising ways to eliminate junk mail, equipping her household light sockets with energy saving CFL bulbs, or keeping close watch on her carefully controlled electric thermostat, Williamson practices what she preaches about consuming less so the rest of the world will have more.
“This is something I’ve always felt deeply about,” she said. “My most profound moments with God have always been in nature . . . it’s been the way I’ve always connected with God. I started to feel like we were slowly killing off that connection by the way we are living and consuming.
“This wonderful home—Earth—that God has given us is a real gift and it feels so sad to me that we are destroying it for creatures and for humans too. And when I started thinking about the way I was living, I realized it wasn’t sustainable and it grieved me. I knew I had to change.”
As the years have passed and her faith has grown, Williamson began to question more and more about what it means to be a Christian and care for the environment.
“I’ve always felt a need to align my faith with how I live,” she said. “What does it mean to be a Christian and think about the environment? To think about ways I am consuming? To think about what it means to be a good steward of the earth? What does it mean to be a creature among creatures?”
Williamson is Pastor of Discipleship at a radical new Chicago church called Urban Village. When it comes to caring for the environment, she says the staff and congregation are “still figuring it out,” but are working hard to be ecologically conscious from pulpit preaching to everyday practices.
“I think the whole issue with the environment has given us an opportunity to grow closer to God and to each other,” she said. “It forces us to recognize we share one planet. We are one people, and not just people, but one Creation.
“We have all this stuff surrounding us. We’re worried about our stuff. We’re cocooned by our stuff. We work really hard so we can get more stuff. But, if we could let the accumulation of stuff go, we could jump off the hamster wheel and begin to live life in fuller ways. Ways that remind us, remind me, how connected and intertwined we all really are. How much we need each other–and not just our family and friends—but even the stranger we’ve never met. I believe that’s the way God designed our world to be.”
Related links:Originally Posted: Apr 27, 2011