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Mindfully Washing Our Hands

Jun 30, 2020

July 2020, Christine Muller

In the past months, we all have learned how important it is to wash our hands well. Especially after coming home, we need to thoroughly wash our hands with soap and warm water. Warm water does clean more effectively than cold water.

Of course, we wash our hands very often throughout the day, even when at home. Sometimes we turn on the hot water faucet, wash our hands with soap, rinse it off, and then turn off the faucet before the water has even turned warm. In such cases, all we did was waste the energy from our water heater. One may argue that this energy does not amount to much, but when we think about how often we are doing this every day, and the impact of millions of people doing the same, it does matter.

Consider that we need to lower carbon emissions by 45% compared to 2010 levels and to get to net zero emissions by 2050, if we want human civilization to flourish in the future. Being mindful of small actions, such as the way we wash our hands, is a low hanging fruit; we do have to tackle the bigger and more difficult issues as well.

See more monthly tips from Christine Muller on her Bio page


Christine Muller, Teacher of Music and the Environment

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I also teach a course on climate change for the Environmental Sciences Department of the Baha’i Institute of Higher Education (BIHE) in Iran. I have served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for more than a decade. In recent years, much of my time is spent serving the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum ( as its secretary.  My formal academic background is in music, and I enjoy part-time piano teaching, playing and - when there is time - composing music. A recent composition is Humans on Earth – a Ballad of Our Time for two singers, string orchestra, piano, and percussion. Its lyrics include quotations from scientific sources and the Bahá’í Writings. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio


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