By Jessyka Dooley

Recently, plastic straws have been taking quite a bit of heat for their contribution to waste in our world, most specifically our oceans. Although some might say plastic straws are not the biggest contributor to ocean pollution, it’s become quite popular (especially among those more woke individuals) to ditch those convenient, one use instruments of baby turtle torture and opt for a reusable, animal approved stainless steel or silicone drinking instrument.

You’re probably thinking to yourself one of two things:

1) “I don’t want to kill baby turtles, where do I get a woke reusable straw?”
2) “This is too much of a Crunchy Granola Boulderite* conversation for me.”

If you were thinking number two, keep reading . . . even though you probably dislike reusable grocery bags as well, you monster! But if you’re like me, you own a whole set of reusable straws and have heaps of cloth grocery bags that you forget at home more times than not when you go grocery shopping. Glad we can be friends!

Unfortunately, there’s a problem. Sipping from a fancy straw and carrying your groceries in much sturdier, environmentally-friendly bags is not going to save our planet. As much as I’d like to think that my intentional deeds with my straw will lower the ocean’s temperature with each sip, they don’t. So then why do it? Why take all the time, effort, and money to do things that seem trendier than an actual solution? Also, why do something when it’s so minuscule? Go big or go home, right? The truth is, the little things add up. The straws add up. A culture is created.

In the West, we live in a culture of convenience and, quite honestly, a bit of selfishness. We want life to be easy on us and that includes not having to tote around reusable straws wherever we go, not to mention having to wash them after using them—what a pain! Society has begun to blame global warming on oil drilling, plastic bags, air pollution, and yes, even plastic straws. These things are not holding the smoking gun, though; we are. Our culture pushes so hard to convince us not to think about the before-life or afterlife of the objects that give us a cheap and easy life of luxury. Drink from a reusable straw not because it will save the planet, but because it changes the culture—and the culture we create can save our planet. If we can make caring for our world popular in small ways, we will move toward caring for our environment in big ways.

As Christians, we should be championing every cause to do what’s best for this world. It doesn’t matter your geographical location on the globe, what news platforms you follow, or who you vote for. As Christians, anything that we can do to care for this world and the people who live here is what we are called to do.

We’re told in Genesis 2:15 that God took Adam and put him in the garden to work in it and keep it. Please let me point out that this was before sin entered the world. In a perfect world, Adam, or man, was put in the world to work it and keep it! From the beginning, God intended us to be a people who not only care for the world He created, but a people who stand up in His image and continue making it a beautiful place! Find any loophole you want, but why would you want to get out of this one?

God has given us the incredible privilege to take part in continuing the creation of this world. It is such beautiful news that one day, the earth will be cleansed and made new again, but that is no excuse to not care for what is in front of us in real time. Didn’t Jesus pray a prayer once? Something about how we want God’s will be be “on earth as it is in heaven?” I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think a polluted world is God’s will for His special Creation.

Sure, this planet is not even close to your dream, my dream, or God’s dream—and it won’t be until it is made new—but that shouldn’t stop us from eating healthy food, educating ourselves, and traveling to new places. There is still so much to enjoy about this world. We should be a people who make it more enjoyable and more beautiful in any and every way we can. Find the ways big and small that you can use to protect and care for our blue and green home. Pick up your stainless steel straws and change the culture one drink at a time!

–Jessyka Dooley is RMC associate youth director. Email her at: [email protected]