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I am not an environmentalist. I believe there are many worse things in this world happening that are a bigger priority than being energy efficient. But I can’t help being practical and smart either. My Reformed Dutch upbringing screams at inefficiency and waste.

September 23, 2014 0 1 comments
Discussion Topic

I invited two parishioners to present their opposing views on creational care; one naming the sickness we see in creation and our responsibility care for the earth; the other naming the insignificance of man's contribution to climate change...

September 16, 2014 0 5 comments
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In 2004, our congregation, embarked on a building program to acquire our own facilities. In addition to the usual building committee, council also appointed a Creation Stewardship Committee tasked with minimizing our impact on the creation.

September 11, 2014 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

Hello fellow Earthkeepers,

Greetings from Houston, B.C. I am excited to share news with you about Good Seed Sunday. I have been praying for national resources for churches for years and it is finally here!

Good Seed Sunday is a great opportunity to connect your church...

March 19, 2012 0 0 comments
Q&A

I would like to hear from churches that have successfully implemented a Community Garden.  How does it work, how much work is it, etc.  Thx!

October 26, 2011 0 4 comments
Discussion Topic

What do you think should be a Christian's perspective on caring for Creation?

November 15, 2010 0 11 comments
Resource, Website

In my work with churches and small groups, the question I most often get asked is: Where do we start?

My answer: The Eco-congregation Resources on the A Rocha Canada website.

There are 12 modules with everything from a church checklist to ideas and resources for youth groups,...

November 12, 2010 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

The Evangelical Environmental Network, the National Association of Evangelicals and the National Hispanic Christian...

November 7, 2010 0 4 comments
Discussion Topic

The Christian Reformed denomination recently undertook some recent renovations that involved  implementing new energy-saving technology.  One of the quotes from the story was by John Bolt, the CRC’s director of finance:

"Balancing out the costs is not...

October 29, 2010 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

For the last two years, CRWRC and the Office of Social Justice have offered a Congregational Green Grant, $500 to churches most creatively engaged in creation care. If you're looking to dip your toes in this form of stewardship (foregoing styrofoam, etc), check out our compilation of last year's...

July 16, 2010 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

Some time ago, our church decided to encourage members to use their own mugs for coffee time, and a volunteer offered to build a mug rack for our kitchen and for the church office. Some members leave a mug here, others bring one each week.

Photo of the kitchen mug rack.

The...

July 6, 2010 0 0 comments
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Yesterday I heard a report on the radio that you can save 30% on email ink costs if you use the Century Gothic font instead of Arial. However, Century Gothic line space is larger so you might not want to consider this for a bulletin or newsletter--then it is more paper.  What eco-friendly ideas are hot at your church?

April 8, 2010 0 2 comments

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It is a "scientific" error for the CRC to get involved in this political, not scientific mess. First, no "scientific" information can be claimed to be true if the claim can not be falsified e.g. the "black swan" example. Climate and weather are chaotic systems. 

Second, The noun, "science" should be reserved for investigation that can be duplicated under the same conditions thus no historical investigation is "scientific." Modern people seem to think that any investigation which uses expensive high tech tools is "scientific." Cooking is still an art even thought we just bought an induction range that cost over three grand and is worth every cent. My wife is a professional cook and likes it better than gas.

Third, take CA for example. The land from east of the coastal range to the west side of UT and AZ has been desert for 10,000 years. By happenstance there was more rainfall in most of the 20th century. The desert conditions returned the year after Lake Powell was full and now it is half empty. This has nothing to do with human activity.

Fourth, the oceans are warming possibly due to underwater volcanic activity. Warmer oceans evaporate more water into the air which must come down someplace. Because US mid-west winter weather comes from over the pole through Canada, according to high school physics, we in the US should expect more snowfall east of the Rockies to the Atlantic coast. Think about it. I don't know anything about weather in Africa. 

 

Hi Jack,

Did you ever get a community garden started at your church? A Rocha has a great resource that might help: http://www.arocha.ca/community-groups-resources/

Blessings wherever this day finds you.

You may want to check out a Solar Power Purchase Agreement as an alternative to purchasing the solar power system. A third party that can take advantage of the tax credits would install and operate the system on your property and sell the electricity to the church. See http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/buygp/solarpower.htm for more information.

For those who think only buildings in Las Vegas (and similar sunny areas) can take advantage of solar power, I just had a solar system installed on my house in upstate New York this week. It was sized to provide, in an average year, 100% of my electrical demand.

That's fascinating that the agriculture sector is looking into more energy efficient methods as well. Thanks for the info!

You are to be commended for using the latest technology for your energy needs.  Much of this technology is also presently being evaluated for use in large livestock barns and working shops on farms.  I also had heard that the LED lights from China were almost one third the cost, and seemed to be as good.  They needed to be direct ordered;  I believe PayPal works for that.

You've raised some interesting questions, Bill.  It is true that microbes die daily.  It is also true that some trees are more than a thousand years old.  The difference in age between microbes and turtles is also interesting, as is the question about the human lifespan changing when environment, sickness, nutrition change.  Even in the garden of eden, food was given to eat, so in that sense plant material was converted even there.  For our bodies to maintain themselves, cells are constantly dying and being replaced.   Genetics inform and manage lifespans, and it is interesting also how people that lived to nine hundred years (in fallen creation) eventually gradually shortened to about 120 years after the flood.

While you say that a myth provides tribal unity and morality, the conundrum is that it only does that if people actually believe it.  A false tale cannot do that.  Myths can die.  Unity can be fickle.  Numerous myths make for an obvious disunity.   False myths create a temporary unity at the expense of humanity. (think WWII).  So that premise I don't agree with.  Maybe that premise is the myth.

As for chemicals:  not all artificial chemicals are dangerous, and not all natural chemicals are good.  Many artificial chemicals are completely analogous to natural chemicals, but created using a different "unnatural" process, and available in different doses and quantities.  Generalizations can be misleading in this case.

When we see tropical forest trees under the ice and on the beaches near the north pole, and when we see giant fossilized reed plants and dragonflies and mammoths, and camels in siberia and the arctic, we know that climates have not always been what they are today.  That's true.

posted in: Sovereignty Matters

"A weed is a plant growing in the wrong place." "Myth" is a creation story, a story of beginnings intended to provide tribal unity and morality, not accurate historical or "scientific" data.

I take pre-flood Genesis material as a myth. It's not that God could not have designed crab grass and bind weed to punish us. It is not possible in this physical universe to for earth type critters to exist without a life/death process. Our biological processes require the continual death of microscopic critters. A "Garden" environment and this planet are not compatible. Then there is the infamous 2nd Law of Thermo, usually wrongly applied by "Young Earth" believers.

That being said, I want clean dirt, clean air, and clean water without artificial dangerous chemicals added. That has nothing to do with climate climate change. The climate has been continually changing for several billion years and probably has more to do with the solar atmosphere than anything we can do to our atmosphere.  Adding new and/or untested chemicals into the environment is crazy.      

posted in: Sovereignty Matters

According to scripture, the sickness in creation, weeds, thorns, thistles, and presumably all other problems of nature, are indirectly caused by man's fall into sin.  God created things good, but we messed up.  We can be obedient to God, do our work, clean up, use our blessings wisely, and thus probably have a less harmful effect on the environment around us.  But we look at the environment from human eyes... even weeds, plant diseases, or bad weather, or climate change is seen from the perspective of how it affects us.  Can we determine whether protecting plants from disease is more caring than allowing fungi to attack the plants?  Can we determine to what level it is okay for algae to grow in ponds to provide food for some organisms while denying oxygen to other organisms?   Are humans and their food production part of the ecology, or antithetical to ecology?

Ultimately, God controls climate change, and whatever we do to influence it, should be done humbly, recognizing that our perspective is limited to our own perceived benefits.

I believe human beings do not have to apologize for their place in the global ecology.  But human beings also should not leave a mess behind them.

As a side note, for those who believe in the evolutionary theory, they should not be too concerned about climate change, since change is what fuels evolution through adaptation, selection, survival of the fittest, etc.

posted in: Sovereignty Matters

Sorry for the fuzziness of my post.

the two opposing arguments were ... One stood for man's culpability and responsibility for the groaning we see in creation, and the Other stood for God's sovereignty and Christ's ultimate control over creation (in Him all things hold together).

posted in: Sovereignty Matters

 22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Hyperbole and nothing to do with ecology, astronomy, physics . . . I don't see in anything in Romans 8 which refers to anything but our sin nature. And Col 1? Nothing about climate change. What am I supposed to see?

posted in: Sovereignty Matters

I think the focus of this upcoming Thanksgiving season should be praise and joyful thanks that for fifteen years there has been no global warming. The scare tactics that even penetrated to Synod should be recognized as the hoax they really are. We need to thank the Master of the Universe, our Lord, that we can again use the abundant and inexpensive fossil fuels that he has given to us without the guilt complexes that some would like to impose. We need to give thanks that we can, once again, use these resources to generate the jobs and the incomes that fuel joyful giving for His work in this His world. And we need to be thankful that the resources we have been diverting into much more expensive energy alternative can now be used to show the love of our Lord to those in need. This should be the greatest Thanksgiving ever for our denomination.

Wendy, well, what about focusing on differences?   What does that mean?  I think that if we understand our basic paradigm, then differences will be easier to deal with.   But we should probably not look at them as "our" differences.   They are simply different perspectives, different theories, different knowledge bases, and different conclusions about how we care for creation.   There are different theories about summerfallow, for example, both based on caring for  creation, but with different perspective on what that means.  There are theories about "tillage", but different understanding on what that means.  There are theories about species extinction, about conserving nature, about climate change, about recycling, etc.   There is no way of making progress on these things without focussing on different theories and approaches.   It is in the struggle itself, that knowledge arises and becomes refined.   It is in the struggle itself that new innovations appear, that new technology develops, that more correct approaches develop.   The struggle is not bad; in fact it is necessary.   What is bad is diverting the struggle by attributing divergent motives, or personal invectives, or deficient intellect, or premature conclusions.  But probably you are right.   It is probably not good for the church as institution to focus on the differences, but instead to emphasize the basic paradigm.   Individuals within the church as the body of Christ can operate within society to concentrate on the differences, in order to refine and develop the details of how to care for creation most appropriately.   It is not good for the institution to assume that there is only one way of doing that, and that our knowledge will not change in the future.   

John, I agree completely! Sometimes it's frustrating watching the church put so much energy into focusing on our differences, rather than the key issues. 

So what is a Christian's perspective on caring for creation?   First, I would say that creation by its very name honors God as the creator.   Second, Creation is not an accident, but has a purpose.   Third, people were created to have a relationship with the rest of creation, in a very special way.   It is a gift to us to be able to live in it, to enjoy it, to use it.   As such, a gift given by God should be treated as a gift.   This gift is also the means by which God provides us our daily life.   Rejecting or mistreating creation is a way of rejecting the life God has given us on this globe.   Fourth, we should not honor this creation for its own sake, nor worship it, nor assume that God gave us a weak, cheap, vulnerable world, or an inadequate world to live in.  We can see that this world continues to provide amazing resources as our eyes continue to open when we live in it.   We can see that we are pretty small compared to the amazing things that happen in this world, whether it is snow covered mountains, huge icebergs, giant rivers, tsunamis, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornadoes.  But we can also see that we have some impact on water quality, air quality, species habitat, diseases, weeds, resource extraction, and innovative ingenuity.   The invention of the lightbulb, extraction of oil and shale gas, invention of computers, GPS, steam engines, petri dishes, anti-biotics, and plasma tvs are only a few examples of things that people in the past did not have nor understand, and it is likely that we will continue to discover and utilize things that are presently barely imagined.   The gift of creation that God gave us, seems to be getting bigger and better all the time, and such a gift is not yet limited by our imagination.   But denying it is a gift, by mistreating it,  will reduce its potential.

Beyond this basic understanding, we then begin to debate some of the details. 

We (Houston CRC in northern B.C.) started a community garden three years ago. Actually it was more like we dug up some of the grass on the church property, hauled in some dirt and started planting some seeds. It is as much or as little work as you'd like it to be I guess. We've gone the "less work" route and given people their own plot that they are responsible for year after year. This encourages them to take care of and even build up the soil in their little section. We also ask them to help out once or twice a summer with a general garden cleanup. There are a couple volunteers in the church that come.

Our church is in a rural area so the need for a garden is not as high as in a city because most of us have our own gardens but there are several people who participate who live in apartments and/or do not have access to land. Some of us do it for the socializing and an extra potatoe patch.

If you would like more information on starting and running a community garden A Rocha Canada has an excellent program called The Plot Thickens. There's more information about the workshops and the Community Garden network at our website http://www.arocha.ca/communitygardens/

Prince George CRC has a great garden as well and they got funding to build it and even hire a summer student to watch over it.

I'd love to see what you are doing. Make sure you post some pics when you have started. \

Shalom and happy gardening.

 

Cindy Verbeek

Member, Houston CRC

Community Mobilizer, A Rocha Canada

Covenant CRC church in west Edmonton has had a community garden for several years.   I have seen it a couple of times, and it looks nice.   But I have no idea how they run it.

Hi Jack,

CRWRC and OSJ have teamed up the last few years to offer a congregational grant (Green Grant) to churches who are doing interesting things with creation stewardship. We get a lot of responses from churches who do community gardens - several of theeir project ideas can be found on the grant application website: http://www.crcna.org/pages/osj_greengrant.cfm.

I might have more info on a specific church if you want to know more, otherwise feel free to contact them directly! It'd be cool to have a mentorship model if you're just getting started.

Meghan

Hi Ken,

That is an excellent question, "what should we do"?  First, we should do our own research and discover why the man-made global warming hoax is being perpetrated on us. We can get a Christian perspective from the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, at http://www.cornwallalliance.org/

Once we study the science and understand that man made global warming is a hoax that is hurting people, we should try to tell as many of our family and friends as we can. God commands us to help the poor and needy, and since the polices being put into place by those who are promoting the global warming hoax are hurting people, we should expose them and stop them. We should stop them at the ballot box, in the media, and in our personal lives.

God commands us, "Thou Shalt Not Lie" and the global warming hoax is a lie that needs to be stopped. We should fight this lie with the truth and good, sound, reasonable policies that protect the environment without punishing good human beings who are following God's cultural command and using the good things he has given us.

Wow John, you are really into this stuff. What do think we should do.

Thanks

Ken

Interesting article here I recommend to you all:

Obscuring the Gospel in the Name of Creation Care

By James Tonkowich, D.Min.

The "true path to personal salvation" does not lie "in nature-and in the actions one takes after encountering God there." The "true path to personal salvation" lies in encountering and receiving the grace of God through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Nature does not save; only Jesus saves.

http://www.cornwallalliance.org/blog/item/obscuring-the-gospel-in-the-name-of-creation-care/

I think this is a real danger when people start worshiping nature instead of Jesus, and start blinding following the global warming hoax without checking out the true science of the matter.

http://www.oism.org/pproject/

For example, 31,487 American scientists have signed this petition, including 9,029 with PhD:

"We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."

 

There is also a good peer reviewed research paper at this site, called "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide".   Unless we read both sides of an issue, we may be blinded by those with an agenda or hidden motives ("nature worshiping philosophy, making money or gaining political power from the global warming hoax, etc.)

Hi Ken,

That is an excellent question… we must examine the motives behind the climate change hoax, to understand why they are perpetrating this hoax.  As with many issues, there are several motives, sometimes overlapping, and sometimes separate.

Some who perpetrate or support the hoax don’t know about the other people’s motives, and some don’t care, as long as they support and promote the idea of global warming.  They assume if it they can fool the people into believing in man made global warming, it doesn’t matter why the fall for the hoax.

In some cases it is a philosophical motive: some just don’t believe that God created man in the image of God at the pinnacle of creation. They worship nature and think mankind is just a nuisance and an intruder to nature.   

Their agenda, radical environmentalism, is not the advancement of human health, human happiness, and human life, but rather the creation of a world where "nature" is deemed to have "intrinsic value" that ought to be revered for its own sake, irrespective of any benefit to mankind. Radical environmentalists espouse "deep ecology," which asserts that the environment is an end in itself and that man is an intruder -- if not a rapist and despoiler -- who should have no greater priority than any other species. From this axiom, they reason that any human action that changes the environment is necessarily immoral.

Notably, radical environmentalists invoke the doctrine of intrinsic value not against wolves that eat sheep, or beavers that gnaw trees; they invoke it only against man, only when man wants to use natural resources for the advancement of some business endeavor. Thus they tend to reflexively oppose the pursuit of such endeavors as oil exploration, logging, housing development, and all manner of commerce.

The “green” movement hides behind the smiley-face rhetoric of "sustainability" and "conservation", but in reality they have a dark agenda. The authoritarian impulse underlying the Green crusade aims to regulate your behavior, downsize your lifestyle, and invade the most intimate aspects of your personal life.  Whether they're demanding that you turn down your thermostat, stop driving your car, or engage in some other senseless act of self-denial, the Greens are envisioning a grim future for you marked by endless privation.

In other cases we can “follow the money” and that leads us to the motives.  Many like Al Gore have invested in carbon trading schemes, and many politicians seek to use climate change to extract more taxes and gain more control over individuals. Others do not believe in Gods command “Thou Shalt Not Steal”, which is a command to respect private property. They believe that free-market economic systems are inherently plagued by greed and by a willingness to exploit the environment to whatever degree is necessary for maximum profit, without regard for any resultant ecological harm. Consequently, a hallmark of radical environmentalism is its hostility to capitalism and its embrace of socialism as a preferred economic model.

It is imperative to distinguish radical environmentalism from conservationism -- the rational, or conservative, brand of environmentalism that rejects any and all gratuitous or preventable damage to the natural world. Conservationism is committed to minimizing air pollution, water pollution, the destruction of natural ecosystems, and the unnecessary depletion of natural resources. By the same token, however, it understands that the potential benefits of progress and industry (conducted in an environmentally responsible manner) may sometimes justify mankind's manipulation/exploitation of landscapes, forests, rivers, mineral reserves, etc. 

From a Christian perspective, the problem I see with radical environmentalism and the global warming hoax is that it condemn the world’s poor to generations of continued misery characterized by rampant disease and premature death.

Just curious John, What do you think the motive is behind the climate change hoax?

Thanks

Ken

I agree with you Cindy, recycling or believing in the man-made global warming hoax is not a salvation issue.  We should all care for the world God created. I think it's important to distinguish radical environmentalism from conservationism -- the rational, or conservative, brand of environmentalism that rejects any and all gratuitous or preventable damage to the natural world. Conservationism is committed to minimizing air pollution, water pollution, the destruction of natural ecosystems, and the unnecessary depletion of natural resources. By the same token, however, it understands that the potential benefits of progress and industry (conducted in an environmentally responsible manner) may sometimes justify mankind's manipulation/exploitation of landscapes, forests, rivers, mineral reserves, etc.

 

I have been reading a lot about the environment from a Christian perspective from the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, at http://www.cornwallalliance.org/

You and others may be interested in reading more from this site. They have done a lot of thinking and research in this area. From their web site:

"Dominion. Stewardship. Conservation.

What do these words mean? How do they interact? And just what is humankind’s responsibility to care for God’s creation?

In the closing years of the last millennium, these questions gained unprecedented prominence in religious circles as clergy, theologians, and laymen alike grappled to establish a firm environmental ethic. In the face of growing concerns about how our rapidly advancing technologies, coupled with our increasing demand for resources, were impacting creation, yet at the same time trying to balance the need for increased progress and productivity – especially for the world’s poorest citizens – many divergent views emerged.

A major step was taken in the spring of 2000 when a coalition of scholars and religious leaders put forward an ethical statement of belief called the Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship. This declaration has so far been signed by over 1,500 clergy, theologians, policy experts and other people of faith, – including such well-known leaders as Dr. Charles Colson, Dr. James Dobson, Rabbi Jacob Neusner, Dr. R.C. Sproul, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, and Rev. Dr. D. James Kennedy, among others. It has come to be viewed as one of the most significant expressions of belief about religion and the environment in modern times.

Regarding Cornwall‘s contents, the declaration recognizes “the moral necessity of ecological stewardship has become increasingly clear,” and then seeks to clear up three common misunderstandings that can impede a sound environmental ethic.

First, the document notes that “many people mistakenly view humans as principally consumer and polluters rather than producers and stewards.”

Second, Cornwall takes a critical look at the perception that “nature knows best,” or that “the earth, untouched by human hands is the ideal.”

Third, the declaration points out that while “some environmental concerns are well founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated.” This is of particular concern in developing nations, where basic issues like inadequate sanitation, widespread use of primitive fuels like wood and dung, and primitive agricultural practices go largely unaddressed while more distant and theoretical issues receive the lion’s share of funding and attention.

The Cornwall Declaration further sets forth an articulate and Biblically-grounded set of beliefs and aspirations in which God can be glorified through a world in which “human beings care wisely and humbly for all creatures” and “widespread economic freedom…makes sound ecological stewardship available to ever greater numbers.”

By all accounts, Cornwall provides the philosophical and theological underpinnings upon which a broad environmental ethic can be formulated."

This year's Green Grant is now open - we're doing it a bit later this year due to staff turnover, but this is a good way to start thinking about spring :)

The application deadline is March 31, learn more and apply at http://www.crcna.org/pages/osj_greengrant.cfm.

Cool. I just got an email saying we've made it to the next round in the selection process. It didn't say how many other churches were in this round, but I'm hopeful.

Thanks so much, Terry, for posting this on The Network!

Since I have been working in this area for the past 20 years (ack has it been that long) I wholeheartedly agree. I do not think that it is a salvation issue (you can still make it to eternal life with your Creator if you don't recycle your paper) but I do think that it is a crucial discipleship issue (answering the question - now that I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour how do I act and follow in His footsteps in the area of caring for the world HE created). It's not just about adding a Christian voice to the "Go Green" movement...it's about walking alongside our Creator in caring for what He created and what He cares so much for that He became part of it to begin the reconciliation process that will be completed when He returns...but I'm getting on my soap box. I'll get off now :-)

Cindy Verbeek

Note: The deadline for submission is November 15, 2010.

Great info, Terry. Thanks for sharing this. The form looks easy enough, so I'm going to apply for my church and see what happens.

That sounds pretty cool.

Fantastic! We'll be sending out announcements about this year's deadline soon...I'll make sure to post it here as well!

This is a great resource Meghan!  I didn't know about this grant, and have a few people to tell about it...

Since our weekly bulletin is very popular and is used a lot quite a few are printed. Our bulletin editor does sent it out on request by e-mail.
I keep an e-mail list for members and each member may ask me to send out messages. It can cover more detail for events, member's health news or other data found important to share this way. It has not been abused.
The church has gmail address where all members are welcome to access it. I ask all organizations which send letters, brochures, magazines etc to do this by e-mail. I can easily label each message and if required alert the person by e-mail if something important has come in. A short note in the bulletin indicates the source of messages received that week.
Although relatively few people access it, the material we receive is available 24/7
As we rent facilities, we do not have mail boxes, but almost everyone has an e-mail box.
Our web sites (public) contain our offering schedules with links to each organization we support as well as mandates of each committee with links to resources.
Our secure web site contains an updated e-mail list, duty roster, directory, and Elder group assignments. About 5% of our members access this material monthly.

posted in: Less Paper Less Ink

Our church prints the order of worship separate from the announcements. So emailing the announcement section would be perfect (keeping hard copies on hand for those that prefer it). Thanks for the great idea!

posted in: Less Paper Less Ink

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