Life, Faith and Urban Farming

The life and happenings of an unconventional pastor and urban farmer living in the city with a family of five.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Earth Day

Man, I've been horrible about blogging lately!

So I received an e-mail a couple days ago from a professor/friend of mine about how earth day should celebrate the city as well as wilderness... that from a Christian perspective. The premise was that God loves the city, scripture begins in a garden and ends in the New Jerusalem. After thinking about it a bit I must say I agree, but from a more environmentalist point of view. I grew up in the suburbs as most of you know. I also grew up loving the outdoors. I practically lived in the patch of woods behind my parents house, long since destroyed for the sake of more houses, houses that dwarf the one I grew up in. I also began backpacking, studying global and local environmental problems, etc. As a teenager I became a member of Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, I even sponsored a wolf out west during the beginning of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone. All that to say I'm still a tree huger and I'm very proud of it. I don't want to put the suburbs down too much. I lived there and I loved growing up there. But I think there are problems with suburban, as I'm sure there are with city living and rural living.

Now for the idea that we should celebrate the city on Earth Day. Since moving into the city I've realize a lot of ways I've been able to be a lot more "green" simply because I live in the city. Here are a few. If you live in the city, try these practices in order to help save our planet.

1. In the city there's no excuse for not walking places. I used to put about 20,000 miles on my car a year out in the suburbs. Over the past three years I've cut down to about 5,000. Walking has been spiritually, mentally and physically good for me. Just get out of the habit of always driving places.

2. I, and most people in the city, don't have to cut much grass. According to the Sierra Club lawn mowers burn fuel in an extremely dirty way. People spill about an Exxon valet's amount of fuel each year when trying to fill up their lawn mowers. And the chemicals that people use to create the perfect looking lawn is appalling. So if you have a lawn, don't use chemicals and don't spill gas! With our new house, Alyssa and I will have a big front lawn in the city, so I'll have to cut grass, but don't expect it to be dandelion free!

3. Recycling is easy in the city. There are drop off places all over the place where just about anything can be recycled. Out in the burbs that's not always the case. In my part of the city you can drop off any kind of paper product right at the Union Project!

4. In the city there are tons of Farmers Markets, especially here in East Liberty! This summer every Saturday come out to the Union Project and be "green" by buying local organically grow produce. Plus we have Whole Foods and the East End Food Coop. In the Suburbs we had Giant Eagle, and that was about it.

5. No Sprawling! One of the biggest problems around Pittsburgh is suburban sprawl. By living in the city your not contributing to the suburbanite sprawl that's taking away the farm land and woods nearest our city.

6. Use the bus! We have better access to public transportation. Though Pittsburgh's public transit sucks, at least in the city its available. I'm bad at this one, I rarely use the bus.

Can you think of any other environmental reasons to live in the city, Any other practices I should try to be more "green"?


Sarah Louise said...

Was the picture of the rainbow over the baseball field (green lawn, probly using lots of lawnmowers and chemicals) supposed to be ironic or just a picture of a rainbow?

I'm trying to walk more, really I am!

John said...

Good point about the chemical lawn, didn't mean any irony!