Make changes for better before Lent ends
JACKSON —There are two weeks left in Lent, still time to make some changes personally, in the community and even on a worldwide level in preparation for Easter, April 8, according to the green guru emeritus of the Jackson area.
“I read a suggestion on the internet that Lent is a good time to make a few changes to help the environment,” said Bob Kochtitsky, founder of Mississippi 2020, a nonprofit organization to educate people about environmental issues.
Though retired from the organization since 2006, Kochtitsky still crusades on environmental, or green, issues.
“It’s not too late, people can start a few new habits to help counteract global warming before Easter,” he said.
Two changes Kochtitsky recommends people can personally incorporate into their lives this season of reflection, repentance and spiritual discipline are: 1) switching from incandescent light bulbs to compact flourescent ones and; 2) buying recycled fiber toilet tissue (about .53 cents a roll).
“Fluorescent bulbs are more expensive but they last 10 times longer,” he said, thus saving enough energy to buy a new bulb.
And using recycled toilet tissue eliminates the cutting down of trees to make paper, leaving them to absorb C02 (carbon dioxide) emissions, the growth of which climate change scientists say has affected the global warming of the earth’s atmosphere.
“A lot of smart people out there are probably asking themselves, Why didn’t I know this before?” Kochtitsky said. “The problem is that the majority of American people are anesthetized from reality. They are so concerned about getting more, keeping up with the Joneses, and being so preoccupied with their own children they can’t see six inches beyond their noses,” he said.
Kochtitsky said he is not interested in telling people what to do. “I’m just trying to smoke out people whose awareness is growing about this and then go and share information with them, give them the realities.”
In the Jackson area Kochtitsky (601-366-8467) is available to give presentations/workshops about global warming and how people can respond to it in their homes and communities. “It can be a hard sell, but we’re talking about doing things like starting a vegetable garden and recycling, things like that.”
Kochtitsky said Recycling Services (601-368-9100) in Jackson will provide 90-gallon plastic drums for businesses wanting to recycle paper and aluminum cans. When full they will collect the drums for free, he said.
Books, videotapes and other informational resources are available to people through Mississippi 2020, he said.
One video available for loaning from Mississippi 2020 is “Canticle to the Cosmos” by Dr. Brian Swimme, a cosmologist. In the video, Swimme “examines the role human beings play in the development of the universe, exploring Swimme’s belief that the true human relationship with the cosmos inspires great joy.”
Another is “The Unfolding Story,” which is narrated by a number of noted cosmologists and tells the story of the universe as alive and interconnected.
“I will be glad, with an invitation, to speak and talk with any group, not just to loan them a videotape. If some group is curious, wants to know more, I can come out to their house, to their church,” he said. Others are also available for presentations.
Kochtitsky is currently contacting several religious denominations about the importance of church congregations becoming more involved and responding to global issues.
“This is God’s earth and we are only a part of the universe, but we are the part that has consciousness, spirit, a connection with the origins,” he said. “We, especially with our absence in the past by using things like coal-fired plants, are leaving a deadly footprint.”
A good article for religious congregations or individuals to read, said Kochtitsky, is in the Feb. 20, 2007, edition of Christian Century magazine. The article is “Meltdown: Running out of Time on Global Warming” by Bill McKibben, author of books on environmental, cultural and religious topics.
Kochtitsky recommended reading works by theologian Thomas Berry, Sister Miriam Therese MacGillis and Richard Louv.
The new director of Mississippi 2020 is Sarah Gentry. “Her main concern is educating public and private school children about environmental issues by reconnecting them with nature,” he said.
Mississippi 2020 created the “Growing Good Citizens” program for elementary schools, he said. “The program reconnects children with themselves (self-esteem), with others (teamwork), with the community (community service), and nature (environmental stewardship).
It has been scientifically documented, Kochtitsky said, that when children are reconnected with nature, through a variety of ways, they grow spiritually, physically and psychologically more than a child sitting watching television or playing video games.
Lent is a good time to focus on God’s earth, our place in it, our role as caretakers of creation, said Kochtitsky.
“Have you ever thought about what our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will think about us if we leave them a world in shambles?” said Kochtitsky.
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