You, like I, have no doubt been glued to the hurricane news lately and worried for anyone living in Florida, Texas or the Caribbean. While attempting to cheer myself up after one too many scenes of devastation, I came upon a .pdf from the U.S. Department of Energy entitled, Going Green From the Ground Up.
As the title suggests, the document urges destroyed communities to seize the opportunity to make energy efficiency and other green practices a priority when rebuilding. One photograph shows an affordable housing complex in Greenburg, KS, that earned a platinum LEED rating for green building. It was constructed following a devastating tornado. A John Deere dealership in the same town boasts recycled steel beams, a waste oil boiler, energy efficiency measures and native landscaping. Another photo shows a school in New Orleans that uses 30% less energy than the previous school that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
I suspect the number of hurricane victims taking time to read the MCCN newsletter right now is zero. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us couldn’t benefit from some careful thinking regarding disaster recovery. What in your life is fallen apart, flattened, trashed, unusable? Is it your car? A backyard? A bank account? A relationship? Your spiritual life?
Whatever this black hole of despair might be for you, is there any way it might become an opportunity to “go green from the ground up?” When your sad junker dies by the roadside, is it possible to replace it with a modest electric vehicle? Is there a potential pollinator garden hiding somewhere in that backyard asphalt jungle? Are there simple living strategies or downsizing moves that could bail you out of debt?
I haven’t heard of a marriage saved by “greening from the ground up.” Nor can I vouch that a plunge into creation care, eco-theology or forest church will invigorate a shaky faith. But I do know a shared vision is a strong foundation to build on, and that intimacy with the creation opens doors to its Creator.
People in the path of a category 5 hurricane are left with few resources. May our smaller, more manageable disasters enable us to seize the opportunity to begin anew in ways that are sustainable. What have you “greened from the ground up?” Send us your story.