Summertime is here! In many parts of the United States, summer means vacation time, picnics, and spending hours at the pool or beach, or just sitting in your own backyard. For others, summer brings days too hot to enjoy outside. Figure in the fire ants and the humidity, and you have good reasons to stay inside in the cool air or wait until evenings to take advantage of the (hopefully!) lower temperatures. Whatever your situation this summer, take time to notice the natural world around you. Watch clouds gather for a coming thunderstorm. Listen to crickets or chase the lightening bugs. Learn about a new part of the country or even explore a natural area in your own community. Here are some summer tips to care for creation…
Keep cool – responsibly! According to one report* from the Department of Energy, air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of nearly $29 billion to homeowners. That’s a lot of money, and a lot of carbon dioxide going into our atmosphere. To respect the use of this energy-demanding, and much needed, appliance, please use them wisely and keep them running efficiently. Get them inspected and cleaned. Watch that thermostat – can you stand to be a few degrees less cool? Don’t forget to turn the thermostat way up when you leave for vacation. Whenever possible, use your ceiling fans and turn off the air conditioner completely!
Heading out for a picnic? Please don’t take Styrofoam plates or cups! It can take anywhere from a few years to forever for Styrofoam to decay! And no plastic bags, either. Search your house for those bags you’ve saved from the fall craft festivals – now’s the time to get them out and pack a lunch for your trip to the park or beach. Take an extra washable bag for trash. Instead of cans, take a few extra minutes and pack your favorite drink in reusable containers. Saving those cloth napkins for that ‘special’ day? Well, taking a day with family and friends to enjoy God’s creation is a very special day!
Are you the one who’s in charge of the lawn this summer? If you live in an area of the US where water is abundant, then make sure your lawn mower is tuned up and ready to go. Consider mowing less often, or even using a hand lawn mower for small lawns. Do you need a grass lawn at all? Some alternative ground covers that require little mowing or watering and yet are green and beautiful include yarrow, alyssum, or micro-clover. Before planting, be sure to check with a local nursery to make sure the option you choose can tolerate your local climate conditions. If you have to water your lawn, consider installing a rain barrel collection system or drip irrigation for better water conservation.
Whatever you do this summer, keep the care of creation in mind! Stop and look at the world around you. Take a walk in your community and see where you or your church family might lend a hand to help others. Get a plot of ground ready for a fall community garden. Donate a day of your vacation time to volunteer with a river or park clean-up day or work at an animal shelter. Spend some time reading the Bible and notice all the references to plants, animals, water, air, and land. Take time to give thanks to the Creator. Take time to care!