Resolving to save the earth can be like New Years. Lots of grand intentions. Little life change. My wife and I go back and forth about it all the time. She is a conservation heroine, with a few ideas that drive me up the wall. I am a conservation champion with wasteful habits. She saves and washes used aluminum foil. I ride a bike to work. She reuses water. I leave the faucet running. She buys all sorts of eco-friendly cleaners. I use way more of it than I need. She wraps our baby day after day in cloth diapers. If it were up to me, our pampered baby would be crawling around catching Ultra Dawn bubbles with glass tupperware only. When it comes to conservation, we both have our opinions. And we both need space to grow. A good mentor of mine introduced me to the idea of Just-Noticeable Improvements. It goes like this. We often fail to make any ground on good resolutions for two reasons. 1. Our wasteful patterns of life run much deeper than, bad-habits. From childhood trauma to addictions, from bad influences to chronic depression, our patterns of living flow from deep places. 2. Therefore take baby steps everyday. JNIs are ultimately about a diligent faith. Faith that God is using our everyday circumstances to transform us for the good. Diligence in listening and responding well. It is the reason why the environmental movements of the last 30 years have tended to make good but little widespread impact. We havent realized that becoming green necessarily means becoming whole. This is where vibrant faith steps in. The green movement has already changed our minds in North America. What we need now is a change of heart. It is the change of a thousand small decisions on the part of millions of people. It is a change that every person can make. It is building habits that sometimes takes decades if we dont resist the ways God is shaping us in our every day lives. It is a change being enacted by Gods Holy Spirit, if we dont try to take the wheel from his hands and turn ourselves into conservation heroes overnight. It is washing the dang aluminum foil and catching yourself about to put a glob of eco-friendly soap on your dishes when a dab will do. It about Just Noticeable Improvements.
Keith Jagger first met the Sleeths when they were neighbors in Wilmore, Kentucky, and were brought together by their shared passion for creation care. After completing his studies at Asbury Seminary, Keith moved to Scotland to study with N.T. Wright. As Blessed Earth’s “Anglo Correspondent.” Keith writes both from the perspective a PhD student studying creation care and a husband/father/follower of Jesus struggling to incorporate creation care principles in his daily life. You can read more of his writing at keithjagger.com or urban-abbey.com.