Monday, October 22, 2007

Thirsty

I just finished listening to parts of the Diane Rehm show on NPR. Today she covered a topic that has long bothered me - Water. I am often fearful that someday the planet will wither up and die because we have wasted all the water. I know some people think this is a little crazy considering that most of the world is covered in water, but the worry that we will not have enough has plagued me for most of my memorable life. I am sure some of it has to do with growing up in Iowa (I did not actually live on a farm ;-), and daily hearing the crop forecasts and the constant fear that there would be too little/too much/too late/too early rainfall. The amount of water was always a topic of conversation. I, evidently, took it to heart. To this day, I can not stand to water lawns. In fact, "lawns" make me a little uncomfortable because they are so unnatural and need so much water to maintain. Don't even get me started on golf courses. I even have a hard time watering the garden, even though I know it is sometimes necessary. I am hoping by next year we will have a rainwater collection tank that can drip irrigate our garden. I drive over the Mississippi almost every week and every week I take notice on whether it is high or low. I am most relaxed when it is high. I am glad that I live in the Midwest, though, because we are lucky that we do have all the resources we need. If we all tried to live more responsibly, we should have enough water for the long haul.

I am amazed, though, by people who choose to live in places where that is not the case. The southwest is one of the fastest growing places, yet one of the least able to support a larger population. Most of the food and water it needs is brought in. They are already experiencing the increasing battles over water rights. This is something we will all face, but due to their extreme "dryness" and population pressures theirs is imminent and severe. I don't think I could put myself or my family in such a non-people friendly environment. I know it is beautiful, but at what cost are you enjoying that beauty? Why do you choose a place and then put impossible demands on it to support you? People all over the world are already fighting on who owns the water, it scares me to think that someday the cost of water will be so high, only the wealthy can afford it and the rest of us are left to suffer.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Libraries

Evidently, today is Blog Action Day. I am not quite sure what this means, but I believe it has something to do with everyone writing about the environment. Since I am such a follower (yeah right), I thought I would join in on the fun! (Short disclaimer, I have a HORRIBLE head cold so this post might not make the most sense.)

One of the things I most love about our church is its wonderful adult and children's libraries. My family makes prodigious use of them. It is pretty much my kids favorite thing about church. As soon as Sunday school is over, they rush to the library. They are well versed in writing their name and number and where to put the check-out card. I love to spend time perusing all the different titles the adult library has - from the obvious theological tomes to current art books. I know many congregations aren't so lucky, so I try to really respect mine.

Libraries can also be very environmentally friendly. It pretty much epitomizes the "reuse" philosophy. I know people espouse paperless environments, but, to me, I will never be a reader of books online. One, it kills my eyes. Two, I find it very uncomfortable to curl up to a computer, blackberry, etc. Three, you still need to use electricity to power these non-paper books. That is why I feel the library is the best option for me. I can check out as many books as I want and know that I am adding very little additional impact to the environment. I will never not buy a new book, but with a library I can read as many books as I want without increasing the amount of trees lost in the process.

Finally, the obvious benefit is it is a lot cheaper!