8 Asians

Why Should APAs Go Green?

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A crazy-funny friend of mine blogs about the ways that Korean moms are environmentally conscientious and — to use the word creatively — “green.” Hilarious, but there’s much that is frighteningly true to life here in terms of saving the environment being more about consistently being overly-frugal. Growing up in the hippie-granola state of Colorado, I remember not being aware of environmental issues; in my home church, we definitely didn’t do much besides the occasional weeding or cleaning up trash around the building. A few years ago, I heard a story from another pastor-friend about a woman at his church gathering some interesting plants to put in a soup… which put her in the hospital. (They weren’t plants from a community garden on the church site, but rather some weeds she found growing in the parking lot.) This is a little extreme, but somehow familiar — the bizarre ways that our first generation and immigrant APAs are being environmental. There has to be some logic or reasoning, even if I don’t get it.

Nowadays, “creation care” and “going green” are buzzwords in Christian faith communities, particularly in my denomination with websites like Eco-JourneyFood and Faith, and Enough for Everyone. And yet, I don’t hear much about dialogue or awareness-raising in older generational APA churches. I bring it up periodically with my dad who ministers primarily to this older APA group as a pastor, and it sounds like there’s not enough time to do anything beyond recycling, if they even do it. This is also the case with the local Korean American churches I keep some contact with here, although there is one that participates in a co-op community garden.

I’m not sure if the lack of engagement in these issues comes from the possibility that most of these churches have a more “conservative” theology, and therefore, a somewhat entitled view of creation and its resources. At the same time, while questions about the validity of global warming is relatively pervasive in these same communities, I think the language and theological perspective is shifting in all spheres a bit to include conversations about being good stewards of all our resources: not just financially or materially, but environmentally.

Either way, I think it’s important to have this push towards environmental responsibility in all our communities. I appreciated Justin Fung’s question, “What are ways that we are trying to be environmentally faithful?” in his response to the image of Gulf Coast oil spill at Sojourner’s Blog. Whatever language — faith-based or not — we use to present compelling reasons to be more green is necessary. We are all on the same planet, and one that, no matter what group or community, no doubt requires our attention and care.

(Flickr photo credit: foldablebags.com)

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