Friday, June 5, 2009

Defining Our Carbon Footprint

I did it. I took the plunge. I went to the Nature Conservancy website and took the test. Just what is my carbon footprint? How am I affecting the planet?

I cheated. I took the test twice and used first me as an individual and then me in a family of eight. Neither one are true.

Nevertheless, I wanted to see what effect one person has versus a larger family with regard to carbon dioxide emissions. Current articles argue that large families are an “eco-crime” and that we need to be “phasing out the human race.” Really?

This is what I found out.

As an individual driving 10,000 miles a year in my small gas-efficient car (work and back), no air travel, eating meat at meals in a house that is energy efficient and recycling everything I can, I will create 41 tons of carbon dioxide per year—which is above the national average. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

Changing my profile to be part of a family of eight, I drive a large boat (less than 20 miles to the gallon) a mere 20,000 miles a year, with no air travel, eating meat at meals in a house that is energy efficient and recycling everything possible, my family will create 120 tons of carbon dioxide per year—which is below the national average. Perplexing. (A family of eight creates less carbon dioxide than three individuals. Hmmm.)

As an individual I’ll use more carbon dioxide than if I were in a family of eight according to this calculator test. I’m missing something.

Planet conservationists are too.

These environmentalists see me and you as mere numbers and calculate us by our carbon dioxide emissions. They don’t account for the following: We are created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:28) and that according to the Creator, we are so important that He sent his Son to die for us, to save us from our sins. Why would a God want us to eliminate ourselves from His plan?

In fact, what we’ve eliminated is trust in God and an ideal of stewardship. We have forgotten that God created the Earth and that HE has a plan for everything in it. We have forgotten that God left us as stewards of this Earth and that it is our task to take care of it, not by the way of removing ourselves from it, but by being responsible citizens of it.

A godless society has reduced us to carbon dioxide output. Do we really think that God sees us that way? Should we see ourselves and others that way?

A while back I read an article where a British woman chose to sterilize herself to reduce her carbon footprint. Do we really think that a God that created us in His image, wants us to think so little of ourselves? Does this woman think so little of herself, that she’d like to just disappear?

What happened to the God who said, “Look at the heavens and count the stars. If you are able to count them, so shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5)

Did God not mean what He said? Did he abandon us?

No, we’ve left Him.

It’s time to come back.

We are not defined by our carbon footprint. We are defined by our actions, our beliefs and whose Footprints we follow.