Last year, Hope Lutheran signed a "Covenant of Creation Care” document in response to the ELCA’s call to care for God’s creation here on Earth. Soon after, HLC formed our Creation Care Team (CCT). The final element of the five: “Our Public Ministry” implores us to “listen to the cry of the Earth.” In 1999, the ELCA stated in a resolution:
….”Responding to a changing climate: Too often the Earth has been treated as a waste receptacle and a limitless storehouse of raw materials to be used up for the sake of economic growth, rather than a finite, fragile, ecological system…But…God’s command to have dominion and subdue the Earth is not a license to dominate and exploit it.”
Our waters, land and air are being severely polluted and we are alarmed by this devastation. Under our Covenant, we seek to Reduce/Recycle/Reuse…”by using canvas bags or paper/reusable plastic bags when shopping.” From the 1980s through the early 2000’s during my hikes on long approaches to climb major peaks in México and the Andes, I’ve been appalled to notice the ever increasing, ubIquitous plastic shopping bags discarded along the ditches and roadsides, especially near big cities.
Last fall, 2020, I joined the CCT of Hope Lutheran to focus primarily on the reduction or elimination of those hideous single use shopping bags. Soon after we formed a major branch entitled the Plastics Pollution Reduction Coalition (PPRC).
According to the World Wildlife Fund, “Plastic waste is choking our planet putting stress on our oceans and rivers, killing marine species and polluting the air that we breathe. Here in the Gallatin Valley,. dozens of retailers, especially “big box stores” hand out single use shopping bags like candy on Halloween, adding to the est. 100 billion disposable plastic bags thrown away every year in the USA.
Ours is a colossal struggle like the Biblical David vs. Goliath. Our PPRC clearly comprehends that we can’t confront the humungous petro chemical industry head on, nor can we take a seat and vote at the renewed Paris Climate Accords.
We are focused on a small group of very concerned and active community environmental activists to build a grassroots movement to convince local retailers to restrict and replace their disgusting single use plastic bags and eliminate them from our market. We urge each customer to bring in his/her own reusable cloth or hemp bags for a sustainable alternative for the foreseeable future. We have discovered that out of state corporate CEOs in their corporate headquarters are quite indifferent to our pleas from the Gallatin Valley and therefore we must first generate local grassroots pressure to convince them to abandon these bags and join our market initiatives. Our well-articulated Action Plan will be written up and presented to the Bozeman City Commission in time to celebrate Earth Day, beginning on April 21st.