Sunday afternoon I heard a snippet of talk radio in which the host spoke about what he believes is the coming of higher food and oil prices. For those of us who listen to the news or read the paper this topic may come as no surprise. What struck me about the radio snippet was the tone. It was so fearful and induced fear in me as I listened, even for a moment.
I changed the station.
I began to think about the feeling I got from what I heard and my reaction to it. I started to think, “Okay what if oil and food prices rise? How can I think about it in a way that is empowering, that gives hope, and is grounded in love, not fear?”
Here is my over-simplified answer: a bicycle and a vegetable garden.
Is it convenient for me to ride a bicycle to work? Not at all. Is it possible? Absolutely. When I studied abroad in college I rode my bicycle to school almost every day. It took about 20 minutes and it was so fun. Everyone rode their bike, so you always had friends to travel with, plus it was great exercise. I suppose high oil prices could easily pay me back in good health. (Did you know that some cell phones can even be powered by the energy created from bicycling?)
Now, have I grown my own vegetables lately? Not since the junior high school bean sprout project. Could I grow my own vegetables? Happily. Over the last year I have read about the sprawl of urban gardening. Although I could plant vegetables in my back yard, I am impressed with how many creative places people are gardening these days. Flower pots on their apartment’s balcony, community gardens, rooftop gardens, you name it. If I planted my own pea patch this year, I could save a few bucks by growing my own organic veggies.
Now, I realize that higher food and oil prices affect far more things than just my vegetables and gasoline. It is a complex issue and this is my very simplified response. The point I am trying to make is that I find it heartening to respond to fear with hope. To look at it from a different angle and to consider the gifts that God has given us in Creation. How can caring for the earth; using its resources sustainably, sharing with my friends and treading more lightly by bicycling or walking, actually cause positive change? How can we approach an issue with a solution that is responsible, sensible, and not fearful?
I suggest we take a minute to look at a situation from all perspectives and consider the solutions that are steeped in faith, hope and love.