Hope For Environmental Stewardship

Carbon dioxide is heating up the Earth. Ice caps are melting, ocean levels are rising, hurricanes are intensifying, tropical diseases are spreading, and the threat of droughts, floods and famines expands daily.

As I write this, it was just disclosed that by an internal draft of The United States Climate Report to the United Nations that our passive tolerance of this clear and present danger to the earth is unconscionable and unacceptable. What in the Name of God are we doing to God’s Creation?

“The earth is the Lord’s,” said the Psalmist, “and all that is in it.” “The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.”
I am fully aware that 2,000 years ago Jesus hadn’t even heard of global warming and nuclear weapons. However, his teachings and his lifestyle were in direct opposition to all attempts in every age to exploit the weak, the poor, human life and nature itself.

Jesus’ message is the same for every age. Life is sacred and anything which threatens life on our planet is anti-God. Faithful stewardship does not allow us to disregard and disrespect the world and its creatures, nor to wait for some glorious day in the future when all that is broken will be repaired and all that is evil will be made good. The time for that hard work is right now, by us, with God’s help, before it is too late.

Jesus said, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required; and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.”
We need a movement to combat climate change, and we need it fast. We need – at the very least – a federal commitment to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050. And each of us can leverage our influence – with our personal priorities, our political power, and our financial investments.

We are not only stewards of God’s earth, we are partners in creation. We are part of the earth and we live, eat, and breathe within what the Greeks called the “oikeumene,” “the house” of God’s creation. Further, all of us are to be priests of creation, mediators between God and the earth. Our role is to intercede for the Community of Life and speak and act on its’ behalf.

Pillaging of the earth, its resources, and its creatures is a colossal failure of responsible stewardship and a failure to honor God, to whom the earth belongs. As faithful stewards, we are obliged to do what we can individually, and to call for public policies that preserve the natural riches of our nation and our world for the public good. To dismantle environmental laws and programs, measures that seek to protect creation and make it safer for our children, is immoral and a violation of our Christian duty.

I cannot say this strongly enough: Our planet is at risk, and in an order of magnitude never previously even imagined. There is no such thing as a Republican or Democrat, a liberal or conservative, a red or a blue environment, a religious or a secular ecology. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. No longer is the survival unit a single nation nor a single anything; it is the entire human race plus the environment. As for Christians, it is time we stopped retreating from the giant social issues of the day into the pygmy world of private piety. The chief question is not, “What must I do to be saved?” but rather, “What must we all do to save God’s creation?”

How does one person help save the earth? Four words: “Think Globally, Act Locally.”
How do you and I want to be remembered? As spoilers and exploiters? Or as redeemers and creators? Our calling – the calling of every human being – is to live a life worth the re-telling of it.

When our children’s children retell the lives of their grandparents, what will they say of us?

Review & Commentary