Our world is one big chemical soup, from the pollutants in the air we breathe to the cleanser we use to scrub the bathroom sink, from the plastic in our baby bottles to the shampoo we use to wash out the gray. From birth to old age, we are surrounded by chemicals in our homes, our public places and even on the grass we play in as children. Like straws on the camels back, these chemicals accumulate in our bodies until that proverbial last straw breaks our proverbial backs in the form of immune disorders and chronic illness. For some, like me, the pile becomes too large at an early age and the damage becomes irrevocable.
I can’t reverse the damage that has already occurred to my body, but I can become militant in preventing it from happening to others. Thus my interest in and association with the environmental movement. I believe that God created the earth for our use, but charged us with the responsibility to be wise stewards. If we allow the earth to be poisoned with chemicals, we do so at our own peril. As a chemically injured person, I am a living witness of the consequences of poor stewardship (my own as well as others').
The recent honor given to the LDS Church for its promotion of green building policies in the ambitious City Creek Center in downtown Salt Lake City is evidence that my beliefs are backed up by other people of my own faith. In an article in the Deseret News (June 20, 2008), Bill Williams, director of architecture and engineering for City Creek Reserve Inc., a development arm of the LDS Church, was quoted as saying, “As you look at the tenets of our religion, there is a notion that we must be good stewards in all that we do…It is our hope that this project will be prosperous while standing true to our values of wise stewardship and giving back to the community.”
There are many ways to become involved in earth stewardship, from personal (i.e. using nontoxic cleaning products and reusable grocery bags) to global (supporting international environmental initiatives and pressing for more accountability from big businesses). One person can't do it all; one organization can't do it all; one country can't even do it all. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. There are many differing ideas concerning what should be done, but for me personally, my goal is to leave the world a cleaner and healthier place for my posterity.
In future blogs I would like to explore this topic further. What can we do now that will make a difference twenty years from now? Where do we draw the line between fanaticism and practicality? What can be put off and what should have been done yesterday?
Though I have suffered from chemical sensitivity for almost forty years, it has only been in the past ten years that I have become actively involved in earth stewardship, but it wasn’t much of a leap. It was just a logical step for me to take, from protecting my own personal environment to seeking protection for the larger environment of the world.