Here Comes the Sun
Updated: Jan 31
Each day since December 21st has brought us a little more daylight, here in the northern hemisphere. In addition to giving us light, the sun is our most important source of energy. Living Connected is starting the new year by focusing on energy in January. Today’s blog post reflects on the fact that we can’t make energy. It’s a gift from something beyond ourselves.
Step outside with a hand mirror during the day and bask in the sunlight. Even if it’s a cloudy day, feel the warmth of the day, in contrast to the cooler night. Look at your eyes in the mirror. Notice the way they squint in response to sunlight and see how small your pupils become. If the day’s bright enough, use the mirror to play with the sun’s reflection. Celebrate the gift of life today.
Clouds or not, the sun’s presence above the horizon defines a day for us. Through photosynthesis, plants convert sunlight into food energy for us and other animals. The energy in oil, gas, and coal that we use for electricity and transportation comes from sunlight captured by plants ages ago. Differential heating of the planet’s surface by the sun creates wind, used for wind power generation. And of course, solar power generation relies directly on the sun’s energy.
Grab something to eat. Take a bite and savor it. As you do, consider that the sun’s energy is becoming part of you. Say a prayer of thanks for the sustenance you receive from the sun and for people who work for just and sustainable ways to use the sun’s energy. What might you do to be part of this movement?
I invite you to try one or more of the following practices for your energy use.
Say a prayer of thanks for energy each time you turn on a light or start your vehicle.
Consider how your faith tradition might influence your use of the gift of energy, by reading Genesis 1:8, Psalm 19:1-6, Jeremiah 2:4-8, and Mark 10:17-22.
Read and reflect on ELCA’s Just Transition to a Sustainable Future.
Use Home Energy Star to assess your home’s energy use.
Maintain a mileage log of the places you drive. Based on distance and the number of times you make the trip, determine where you use the most energy to go, and evaluate options for reducing the energy you use to get there. These may include shared ride options, alternative forms of transportation, or even changing how often or where you go.
Switch from gas-powered to electric lawn care equipment, since it's a significant source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Enter your household data into the Energy Star Home Advisor; and one by one, implement its recommendations for your home.
When replacing appliances, buy ones that are Energy Star certified.
Participate in your energy provider’s round-up or donation program for people who can’t pay their energy bill.
Contact a solar panel installer to assess your property’s potential for solar power.
Advocate for expansion of public transportation, walkable development, and construction of renewable energy infrastructure in your community.
For more energy-related practices, follow my Facebook page, where I’ll post a Living Connected practice of the week for energy on Tuesdays in January.
This post is part of a first-of-the-month, Living Connected series that reflects on our use of creation's gifts. Check-out my mid-month posts for random musings about life within the community of creation.