What should we do about the environment?

                Recently my bible study class has been running through a book called Culture Shock by Chip Ingram. We ran across a section talking about the church and the environment. It is actually shocking what we have done to the environment through our negligence, wastefulness, and dependence on fossil fuels. Global warming leading to increased temperatures, severe weather patterns, increased rate of animal extinction, among other tragedies. Massive piles of garbage floating in the oceans, with an island cumulatively larger than smaller countries floating in the Pacific! Strip mining and deforestation, leading to the destruction of habitats, and further feeding of the global warming problem. What leads to these problems? What are we as Christians supposed to do to slow, stop, and maybe even reverse these problems? I hope to write a quick blurb over what has led to this point, what the Bible says about what we should think/do about the environment, and what we can do about our present situation.
                Genesis 1:26 readsThen God said, "Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."” Psalm 24:1 reads “Of David. A psalm. The earth is the LORD's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” So what are we to gain from these? We see that we are given management over God’s creation. So we are to govern and take care of the earth that God has given us. We have utilized the earth and our environment to better our quality of physical life here and to increase the carrying capacity of the earth. But have we managed to take care of the earth? Maybe in smaller parts, but we have to admit that we have failed in areas of keeping the earth well. Maybe you as a Christian are thinking, “God is going to do it all over when he makes a new heaven and earth anyway, so why should I care?” Well at minimum there is a self-preservation aspect, as this is the only earth we’ve got for the time being. I would also refer you to the beginning of this paragraph. God has given us the earth and everything in it for us to have dominion over, but we should not abuse this gift and responsibility. Proverbs 12:10 says “Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” I think this can be applied as a blanket statement to everything around us, as in this day and age we have accessed every environment to pull resources from.
                So what are we as Christians supposed to do? Are we to stop human advancement for the sake of the earth and become a bunch of conservationists who care about nothing except penguins and polar bears? Well maybe that’s a bit extreme, though every effort should be made to preserve life where we can; all life. We are called to manage and to take care of the earth as we work it to produce food, energy, and a multitude of other items necessary to life and function. I think this can be accomplished in a manner where I won’t be disappointed to tell future generations what we did to the earth so that we could make a quick buck. I think the business owners need to apply their long term stratagems to the earth, as well as their bottom line. I think we as residents of God’s creation should conduct ourselves in a manner that shows we acknowledge Him as Creator, and not act like a bunch of squatters who don’t really care about the house they are in. We should be thinking of ways to minimize waste so that our neighbors (plants and other animals) and future generations have a planet as beautiful as the one I was born into. I have a friend who experienced this devil may care attitude about living conditions when he bought his house. It was a foreclosure and the previous owner had done his best to make the house as filthy and nasty as possible. Since then, my friend has made that house into a gorgeous home. Now where are we on the scale of cleanliness in that analogy? Depends on who you ask, but we can all agree that the earth is not in an ideal condition.

As to what we can do, I think this comes down to what we can do to share the gospel with our friends and neighbors. I don’t think I can reach every human on earth by myself, but I can definitely talk to my friends and neighbors. Applying this methodology to taking care of the earth, we can all recycle, clean up after ourselves when at the lake/beach/state parks etc., and try to minimize our energy consumption so that we can start decreasing our fossil fuel dependence. Depending on where you live, you can equip your house with a wind generator or solar panels so that you can decrease your carbon footprint further or even take your home off the grid entirely. If you have further ideas or methods that you have applied in your life please share so that we can all work for a better earth. May God bless you and have a good rest of your day.


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