I got my periodic e-mail from the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice unit this morning, and it directed me to a PDF that is headlined–I kid you not–“The Low Carbon 12 Days of Christmas.” Here are they’re suggestions for how you can Save the Planet™ this Christmas:
1. Send Electronic Christmas Cards: Sending your Christmas greetings electronically is good for Creation because it saves trees. If you want to send a personal Christmas greeting to close friends and family, use recycled paper to make your own Christmas Cards.
My wife makes all her own Christmas cards, which gives them a really nice personal touch. E-cards, not so much.
2. Make Your Own Decorations: This can become a wonderful family tradition. Use recycled materials or natural materials like pinecones, leaves, vines. Making your own Christmas wreath out of materials you collected is carbon neutral and positively fun!
These folks have clearly never messed with kudzu.
3. Buy a Living, Local Christmas Tree: Start a tradition of planting your Christmas tree in your yard or on your church grounds after Christmas. You can even put a message in a bottle underneath the tree thanking God for the year’s blessings. Your planted tree becomes a Christmas gift for creation and a living family memory for years to come!
Or even better, forgo one altogether and just leave the tree in its original ground, thus eliminating the carbon spewed forth to get it to wherever you buy them.
4. Use LED Christmas Lights: These lights use around 90% less energy than incandescent Christmas lights. Look for lights that are Energy Star approved. Remember to conserve energy and not to leave them on all day or overnight.
5. Do Your Christmas Shopping with Reusable Bags: Less plastic bags means less energy is used to produce them, and therefore less carbon is released into the atmosphere.
You never know which plastic bag it will be that will tip the earth’s atmosphere into doing an imitation of The Day After Tomorrow.
6. Give Responsibly: Buy gently used gifts like books and toys or nonmaterial gifts like a national parks pass or event tickets rather than products. If you are good at making crafts, consider making gifts for your loved ones.
I think the idea of giving national parks passes or events tickets is a marvelous idea. I can’t wait to hop in the SUV and drive to wherever it is that I’ll be able to use them.
7. If you buy traditional gifts, minimize your carbon foot print by purchasing Local and energy efficient gifts that are minimally packaged. Click http://www.nccecojustice.org/greengifts.htm for ideas.
8. Use Reusable or Recycled Gift Wrap: You will save energy by reducing the need to produce wrapping paper and help reduce global warming pollution.
You can probably count on one hand the number of carbon dioxide molecules you’ll keep out of the atmosphere by doing this. And it won’t matter, because the item that you don’t buy has already been produced, whether anyone buys it or not. In fact, you’ll keep a lot more CO2 out of the atmosphere if you just go ahead and die. But barring that drastic a contribution to the anti-global warming effort, you’ll feel better about yourself.
9. Practice Alternative Giving: Donate to a charity in a friend or family member’s name.
I don’t know anyone, even my liberal relatives, who appreciate this. It comes across as you using them to lower you tax bill.
10. Limit Your Travel: If you need to travel to be with family ride with other friends and family to reduce the per person carbon emissions or take the train. In general, driving results in fewer carbon emissions than flying, especially when driving a moderately fuel efficient vehicle at or below the speed limit with properly inflated tires.
As we all know, President-elect Obama said during the campaign that we could all Save the Planet™ by keeping our tires inflated. Pass it on.
11. Serve Local Food for Christmas Dinner: Consider serving a locally raised main course, but if a local ham or turkey is too pricey, serve a few side dishes made with local vegetables. This is a tasty way to reduce the number of miles food has to travel to get to your plate, which in turn helps reduce carbon emissions.
I wonder where the employees of the New York City-based EcoJustice Unit are going to get their locally raised ham or turkey and local vegetables? Is there something going on in Central Park that we don’t know about?
12. Remember Why We Celebrate! Christmas is a time to celebrate God’s gift of Jesus Christ, a savior who will bring peace to Earth (Luke 2: 11-14), through whom all things came into being (John 1:3) and through whom God reconciled all things (Colossians 1:19).
All joking aside, I don’t have any objection to anyone doing any of this if it floats their boat. At the same time, this is “every little bit helps” thinking taken to a mindless extreme. The NCC buys the religion of global warming at least as fervently as it buys Christianity; I recognize that. But while doing this stuff may make you feel better, there’s no evidence whatsoever that any of it will make any difference at all to solving a problem that may not even exist. And of course the flip side of their suggestions is guilt–if you don’t take their suggestions, you’re a bad Christian, a planet killer, and probably a Republican to boot. I’m sorry, but I’m not buying it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put up my artificial tree.