A Pre-Pandemic Blog from Crystal Goetz, Regional Coordinator of WA
“It isn’t easy being green.” Those immortal words were spoken by the endearing Muppet Kermit the Frog and every month at Messy Church by me. No, it isn’t easy, but it is very, very necessary.
Our world is being changed each day by the decisions we make regarding our trash, but also transformed by what and how we consume. When we choose disposable single-use plastics over reusable or recyclable items, we make an unfavorable impact on our environment that is getting harder and harder to reverse.
Time Magazine’s person of the year 2019 was Greta Thunberg a sixteen-year-old Swedish environmental activist. This should tell us that are minds are laser focused on environmental issues. We feel an urgency to save this beautiful world that God has blessed us with. Although we strongly desire change, we have a big problem: where do we start? There are so many things that we have grown to rely on for convenience and ease of preparation, especially at Messy Church. Plastic tablecloths, paper plates and plastic cutlery for easy clean up. Craft supplies that include craft foam, pony beads, and other plastics that once purchased and used will be in the environment forever. It is a real dilemma. How can we help when there are not appropriate alternatives? Here are some things that might be worth considering for your Messy Church to help lower its environmental impact.
Some Practical Ideas
- Use cloth washable tablecloths and if you have a really messy project, have flannel backed vinyl cloths that can be wiped clean and reused time and time again.
- Consider making playdoh rather than purchasing it. It is healthier for everyone and it even smells good. Some recipes are edible (although, I wouldn’t recommend that after six toddlers that have runny noses have had their hands on it.)
- Instead of plastic pony beads, why not make beads out of rolled magazine pages and glue. It’s super easy and so fun. No two beads are exactly the same, just like us. This site has a great tutorial.
- When purchasing candy or treats buy them in bulk and use reusable produce bags (for sale online) that can be washed. Using this is much safer not only for the environment, but those plastic single use bags are hazardous to animals and children.
- If you must use paper plates, opt for the compostable type. Avoid those that have a plastic coating and are not compostable. Yes, they are usually less expensive, and we are all on tight budgets, but think of this as a gift to the earth. It’s worth a few pennies extra for all the earth does for us. There is always the elbow grease option of using regular plates and doing dishes! What a fun thing to do together as a Messy Church. Nothing like a little water play to make a great forum for talking about Jesus!
- Collect your plastics that are not recyclable and have an Ecobrick making session. It’s fun and the kids LOVE it! They love using their “magic wands” to save the sea turtles. Here is a link to learn more about Ecobricks
- Rather than buying new every time, consider asking around for donations of items that people already have. Over-consuming is a leading environmental risk factor. It would be great to start a share site at your church where people can bring supplies that they have lying around that can be used in new and creative ways.
Be aware, always, of things you can do to help instead of harm the environment. We cannot save earth by just thinking about doing these things, we must do them. Every little change makes a big difference; and the little things add up to big changes if we all do them together.
When you plan your next Messy Church, consider your impact on the environment. Ask your team the question: How can we be better stewards of the earth that God gave us to watch over? Pray about it. Find innovative ways of conserving our planetary resources; then share them with the rest of the Messy Church family around the world on the Facebook page. The words reduce, reuse, recycle are more relevant now than ever. Let’s work together on making Messy Church more sustainable and less impactful on our planet.