Simple Solutions to Complex Problems
Climate change is a complex problem like most problems in the world. It already is affecting a lot of people in the world right now, and in the next 30 years it will affect almost everyone. If a problem affects everyone, then everyone should to be involved in fixing it. Only a small percentage of people have the ability to make the big changes (the richest, the most powerful, and the most influential), but there are many things that the average Christian can do. Here are 9 simple solutions to combat climate change that the average person can do that does not just involve giving money away or praying:
1. Eat less meat –
Don’t stop reading. To talk about climate change and its’ solutions is to talk about food. The two are intrinsically linked. 18-50% of global emissions are caused by raising cows to feed the world (Breitbart) (Huffington Post). Not everyone needs to become vegan or vegetarian, just being more conscious of what is being consumed can make a huge impact. The average American eats 270 pounds [AH5] of meat a year. It takes over 50 gallons of water and 7 pounds of grain to create every pound of meat on a cow. Over the course of a year, the average American unintentionally helps consume 13,000 gallons of water and almost 1,900 pounds of grain just by eating how they normally eat. Americans don’t need to give up meat, but consume it more thoughtfully.
2. Purchase food locally –
Food travels on average approximately 1,500 miles before arriving at the dinner table. Not all food imports are bad or detrimental to the environment, but it does increase the chances that it is. Even if the food is grown in a sustainable way, which is not always the case, the producers and grocers of the food have to create emissions and use energy to bring the food to the store. Buying local has a number of great benefits including: helping the local economy, lowering the amount of pollution, and being arguably healthier to eat. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and farmers markets are a great place to start; both of which offer a wide variety of options with more transparency.
3. Cut back on needless purchases –
Christians are called to be good stewards. Part of being a good steward is to be diligent to only consume what is needed. Greed and gluttony destroy good stewardship. When Christians choose to spend wisely it frees them to spend more on what matters. By limiting needless purchases, and choosing to instead borrow, rent, or buy used instead of purchase new, Christians help to fight against greed (Ephesians 5:5).
4. Get out into nature –
Americans are more disconnected from God’s creation than ever before. More land is being used for farming, cities, and roads than at any time in history. That is not an inherently bad thing though. It does arise a need for Christians to be diligent about seeing what God wants us to see (Job 12:7-10). By spending time outside and in nature, Christians can see the beauty of what God created for them. By cherishing God’s gifts, a desire is created to preserve the things which are in danger of being lost, which then can be shared with others.
5. Pick up litter –
Don’t let God’s creation be littered with people’s creation. Simply picking up trash won’t save the world, but it won’t hurt it either.
6. Help a stranger –
All Christians are called to help others (Deuteronomy 15:11). Helping others and climate change have the same kinds of solution. When Christians begin opening their eyes to the things that they can directly impact, they allow God to grow their hearts to help others around them that they cannot see. It’s a condition of the heart if people choose not to help others, but the easiest way to start is by starting close to home.
7. Learn something new –
Read a book, article, or an unfamiliar newspaper about a topic that you do not know very much about. Media that Americans, and Christians, consume is very much tailored to them. Only things that they want to read about are presented to them (with the exception of the one person on Facebook who shares those things that you hate). By reading about opposing viewpoints or topics that are new and foreign to them, Christians can begin to see the world as a more complex and complicated place that God has a plan for; a world which is much bigger than just prayers for good grades, a job promotions, or remedies for the common cold. Here is a list of resources about different topics that might be new to some people.
8. Challenge and pray with a friend or church group –
For some people, this will be the hardest, or the most awkward. Telling others is important though. A single person can change the world, but they need others to help, by sharing information with 3-4 people can create ripples of change beyond what people are able to recognize or comprehend. Christians should be telling the world about the most important things in it (Ezekiel 33:1-20). Don’t water down your influence for Christ by peddling things that are unimportant to Christ. Prayer is another great way for Christians to come together and petition God for things of importance. A church group praying should not be the only step that is taken, but it is a valuable one.
9. Tithe –
God calls all people to be generous and charitable. Tithing is a great way to see outside of one’s own world. Tithing allows for organizations to do good in the world and make impacts beyond what one person could. Tithing also helps the Christian to set their priorities on what is important (Luke 12:34). Local churches and organizations will always need resources and money to continue to do good work, but that should not stop Christians from investing money in to what Christians from all over the world are also doing. Here is a list of environmental organizations that do good work for others.
Some of these will be hard for people to do. Some will be easy. Climate change will not be solved by any one of these problems, and not one of these problems created the climate change situation that the world is in.
There has been a distance created between Christians and God’s creation. Creation was made to be enjoyed, experienced, and learned from. Activities and actions that bring Christians closer to the gifts of God are good things. Please consider making a few of these simple solutions a part of your life to begin to bridge the divide between the average Christian life and God’s first creation. Here is a list of less simple solutions to climate change, which Christians can participate in to continue making an impact.