Taking Care of the Earth: One Woman’s Project

My name is Kathy Peterson. Through taking Landmark Education’s Self Expression and Leadership Program, I started a grass roots project in December 2007. The project is at my church, to plant seeds of “eco-justice”, that is, taking care of our earth, and describe here that project about the environment.

The first goal of the project was to introduce re-usable shopping bags. So what’s the deal about reusable shopping bags? If each family uses 10 bags per week, at about 4 ounces, or about 50 pound per year, re-using shopping bags will benefit the planet. I have used mine for 12 years, which has saved about 600 pounds of plastic, and reduced landfill. From several websites I discovered that 100 billion plastic bags are used annually in the US, and only 5.2 percent of those are recovered for recycling.

Here’s how the project is organized: the quilting and other women’s groups are engaged in sewing reusable cloth bags, according to a simple pattern. We will be sewing bags for several months. The youth program will design a logo for the bags and will be at the same time learning a lesson on the environment. They will sell the bags for a minimal amount and have the money available for mission work. When people purchase the bags, they will also be given a list of other ways to “caretake the earth.” When people shop with the bags, other shoppers will notice, comment and be inspired to “caretake the earth.” Children who study the environmental lesson will be inspired to take care of our earth in future ways that we are not yet aware of.

The project has had an enthusiastic response. The project is just starting, but already there have been results. There is goodwill between the adults who are making the bags and the youth who will benefit from the sale. The youths are able to use their creativity in designing the logo and in advertising the bags. The “sewers” are also using their creativity.

One of the young adult members was encouraged to seek ways to begin a recycling program at the church. The adult education program has planned to show Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” as part of the adult education program, with a follow up discussion about actions that the congregation can take.

All in all, we are embarking on a journey to be in service to the planet we all share, and that sustains us each day of our lives. In my stand for our planet, I encourage everyone of you reading this to do what you can to “caretake the earth”. Begin your journey today, with one step: Start by a purchase of your own re-usable shopping bags.

About the author

Julia Taylor

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