I would like to introduce you to fellow rebel, Kelli Trujillo. You may be surprised how she’s impacting the world around her. It’s something everyone can do with their family! Here’s the conversation we had (via email), spilled out live and uncut for you
Hey Kelli, What are you doing to impact the world around you?
“One area of my life that has become a growing passion for me is environmental stewardship. I use the term “stewardship” because it implies care taking. The earth is full of abundant, beautiful, and plentiful resources. The way we use it and care for it is a critical responsibility. Will we steward it well? Or will we steward it selfishly?
It’s important for me to say that I try approach environmental issues in a balanced, normal way — I’m not obsessed with it nor do I think it is the most important thing in my life. Instead, I see it as something woven into the way we live everyday life.
Small choices here and there — even if they inconvenience us slightly — are actually powerful. Our daily choices affirm what we believe to be important. As a mom, I’m trying to help my kids see environmental stewardship as normal, as a given. Recycling is something we do as a family. Gardening or shopping at the farmers market in order to support sustainable farming, that’s something we do. (We also shop at a regular grocery store too.) Eating a lot less meat than the average American is something we do because of the environmental ramifications. Trying to use less power here and there or less water here and there. These are things we do. My husband and I are intentionally not “radical” about these things — we aim to be balanced and healthy in our approach. None of these choices are “weird” actions–these are just a part of the normal rhythm of our life. We are still growing in this area. We certainly don’t do everything in the world we could do to be more environmentally conscious! But we’re growing and establishing a rhythm, one small choice at a time”.
So, how did you start it and where do you feel you’re going?
“My concern about environmental stewardship started when I was a kid — I just didn’t know it. I grew up in a family that appreciated the beauty of the outdoors. My grandmother was especially interested in nature–and she and I spent lots of time exploring the woods, looking at beautiful flowers, and imagining all sorts of magical things in the wild outdoors. So I’ve always loved the beauty and wonder of our world.
I got a bit “sidetracked” I think as I grew up and discovered that this is an arena mired in politics, name-calling, and mud-slinging. For awhile I even bought into the idea that environmentalists were weird or had some sort of political agenda that was in conflict with my faith as a Christian. But thankfully that “stage” in my life was short-lived. I’m now quite comfortable and confident in my stance toward environmental issues: I cherish this world and so I choose to care for it. I cherish my children too and I want them to have a beautiful, well-cared for world to live in. This not only is not in conflict with my faith but rather is motivated by that faith”.
What’s your greatest passion?
“I’m motivated to practice environmental stewardship because, first, I see it as a critical part of my faith as a Christian. But I also believe there is common ground that people of various faiths or no faith at all can find and stand on: This is a beautiful world we share and we ought to treat it as a privalege. We can use earth’s resources sustainably so that the world is BETTER for our children and our children’s children, not worse.
It’s important to say, too, that a reason to practice good environmental stewardship is not just because one loves the earth — but also because of loving PEOPLE. The poor around the globe are often those most affected by environmental degradations. Study after study shows how human beings, often those already living in poverty, are suffering (and even dying) from the results of pollution, habitat destruction, climate change, and more. Concern about social justice, poverty, and human rights ought to also be a significant motivating factor for any of us to make daily choices to live more sustainably”.
Any goals for the future?
“We aim to make choices here and there to slowly build into a more and more environmentally sustainable life. So, for example, as a family we’re doing things to reduce our waste. The less that goes into a landfill from the Trujillos, the better! We do put out garbage for Tuesday morning pickup, but the amount is becoming less and less and less. We recycle as much as we possibly can; we compost biodegradable food waste (like cucumber peelings, etc.). I try to utilize reusable containers in the kids’ lunch boxes as much as possible, rather than bizillions of plastic bags. These are all a big shift from how we did things even just a few years ago — but it has not been a hard change to make, and it feels good to raise our kids to be conscious about their impact on the planet”.
How do you balance this with the rest of your life?
“Having a family — we have 3 kids — is actually what has increased our motivation to be good stewards of the environment. They love the outdoors and that has renewed our ability to see and appreciate the wonder of this world. Nearly all of the choices we make to be good stewards are choices the kids can participate in. The kids put their trash in the recycling bins in our pantry; they help with gardening or farmers market shopping, and so on. It isn’t really something that requires extra effort or time — it just needs to become normalized.
That said, I think the idea of “going green” can be overwhelming for people. I certainly have felt overwhelmed at times! What’s been helpful for us is to focus on one change or choice at a time. So, for example, recycling. Once that becomes normalized in your family, you can add something else like composting biodegradable waste or buying a bit more organic or sustainably farmed foods. I think small choices are the best way to go about this. We can all do SOMETHING and we can feel good about that choice”.
What advice would you give other ladies who are wanting to impact the world around them?
“My advice would be to start first by looking inwardly: What are your beliefs about this planet we live in? Do you appreciate its beauty and resources? Do you treasure it? Do you want to breathe clean air and drink clean water and do you want the same for your kids? How about for your “neighbors” around the globe? Do you take time to soak in the wonder of a flower, a night sky, a cool breeze, a birdsong? Isn’t it lovely? And, very significantly, if you are a person of faith, do you see the hand of the Creator in this stunning world? From this place of looking at one’s values, we can find motivation to say, yes, I’ll make small choices that my slightly inconvenience me or may cost slightly more money, but I know what I value and my life choices will reflect those values”.
This link goes to several articles on Kelli’s blog in which she dives into this topic -http://kellitrujillo.wordpress.com/tag/environmental-stewardship/
Also, the current issue of Relevant magazine has an article by Kelli called “Going Green (for the Right Reasons)” that you will want to check out.