Everyone’s talking about global warming and climate change as good reasons to “go green” in the New Year.

But as a Catholic you have an even better reason to “go green.” We believe that at the end of time, we will all answer to God for how we used the earth and all of the earth’s resources.

How well do you use and protect God’s creation?

It’s something that you might want to think about in the coming year. For example:

Think about how you use energy:

  • Turn your thermostat down a few degrees in winter and up a few degrees in summer.
  • Insulate your water heater and lower the temperature by a few degrees.
  • Use cold water to wash clothes.
  • Turn off lights, computers, electronics and appliances when not in use.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  • Let clothes drip dry.
  • Allow dishes to air dry in the dishwasher.
  • Encourage everyone to take shorter showers.
  • Walk or carpool to work.

Think about how you use food:

  • Go back to the Catholic tradition of meatless meals on Friday.
  • Eat fresh. Stay away from processed foods.
  • Buy locally grown foods.
  • Install a water filter, and refill a reusable water bottle.
  • Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store.
  • Pack lunches in reusable containers.

Think about what you buy:

  • Look for cleaning products that are environmentally safe. Or make your own!
  • Watch for garage sales or websites where you can buy gently used items.
  • Research before you make a major purchase to find out if the product has a high consumer rating and meets environmental standards.
  • Borrow books and DVDs instead of buying.
  • Talk to neighbors about the possibility of sharing lawn and gardening equipment instead of each family buying their own.
  • Don’t buy clothes that have to be dry-cleaned.

Think about what you throw away:

  • Be diligent about recycling paper, plastic, cans, and metals.
  • Before you throw something in the garbage ask yourself if it could be used by someone else.
  • Recycle cell phones, computers and electronics.
  • Start your own compost pile.

Think about what you can do to make the world a better place:

  • Volunteer to clean up litter in your neighborhood.
  • Organize a recycling drive.
  • Plant a tree.
  • Grow a vegetable garden.
  • Avoid chemical fertilizers that can be harmful to people and pets.

If we all make simple changes in our lives in the coming year, we can reduce our impact on the environment and make the world a better place for generations to come.