Caring for Creation: Choices Matter

Lara Schopp Metro Service, Serve, Serve Our Church

In January, Pathways to Learning speaker Kristin Riott, executive director of Bridging the Gap, shared an informative and thought provoking presentation on the environmental health of Kansas City. Riott touched on many areas where individuals and the community can have a positive influence. Here are some facts to consider:

What you eat and buy matters. Considering the effect of our food choice in terms of water usage, raw materials and transportation provides an opportunity to make a difference. Kansas City has consistently been voted number one in water quality, so your investment in a refillable bottle is not only good for the earth but also your wallet. Every day 37,000 trucks are on the road hauling bottled water. And, eating smaller and lower on the food chain is always better – the larger the animal as a food source, the more land, feed, water and resources consumed to produce a meal.

What you plant matters. Pollinators such as bees are in trouble and you can help by planting native plants. Avoid patented cultivars as they do not support native bees and butterflies. The monarch butterfly population has dropped by 95 percent. Planting milkweed provides the critical host plant for the monarch caterpillars. Remember to plant in mass and prune in June. The church’s sustainability team will be selling native plants this spring.

Our trees matter. Kansas City is one of the worst heat islands in the nation due in large part to our lack of tree canopy. Currently we are at approximately 20 percent tree canopy coverage with the minimum goal of 40 percent. Studies predict that we will soon have over 33 days with temperatures of above 100 degrees. One key solution is trees. Neighborhoods with dense tree canopies have less respiratory distress, lower crime rates, and streets that last longer. A tree shading the southwest corner of your home can lower your air conditioning bill by 25-65 percent

You matter. Your voice, your choices, and your time make a difference. For more information see https://bridgingthegap.org/ and watch for ways to be involved with Green Team sustainability efforts.