Guest Columnist

Responsibility to care for the earth vital


According to a study on climate change beliefs done by Yale University, approximately 11 percent of the United States population believes that we don’t need to worry about climate change because the apocalypse is coming.

This ridiculous belief that the upcoming return of Jesus Christ justifies our treatment of the earth is misguided and unbiblical.

In Genesis 2, God creates humanity as a direct response to having no one to till and maintain the earth; to remedy this, God forms Adam out of the dirt.

As beings formed from the ground, not only do we have a special relationship with the earth, but we also have a unique responsibility to maintain it.

God’s mandate to us does not disappear simply because we live in a different context than Adam and Eve. While we live in cities made of concrete, wood and metal, we can still do our part to maintain the ground we tread on.

If there is one God-given command to which the US has been receptive, it is “Be fruitful and multiply.”

At the beginning of 2017 the US population was 324 million, and about 240 babies are born each hour.

As US natural resources deplete quickly, has our call to be fruitful and multiply been fulfilled? Should we turn our efforts towards having fewer children and caring more for the earth?

Choosing to have fewer children is becoming necessary because, presently, if everyone on earth lived as the average American does, we would need over four earths to produce enough resources and absorb enough waste.

In response to our Creator, we must now be creative with the ways in which we restore the planet.

Attention to overpopulation is the first place to start.

From the very beginnings of the world God was at work, and created humans to participate in work as well, according to Genesis 2:15.

While it becomes clear (and is already evident to most of us) that this work is not always a painless and enjoyable task, it is undoubtedly necessary.

These days most of us will not work the soil or raise animals for our needs, but rather work for wages.

These wages are necessary means for us to feed, clothe, and otherwise care for ourselves and our families.

So often today the compensation that workers receive for their labors is not enough to provide for their own needs (let alone to lend a helping hand for those unable to work).

We must remember that humans are also part of God’s creation, and that our call to care for creation includes us as well.

Some of the things that we can do to follow our mandate are obvious, like not littering, recycling, consuming resources responsibly or even starting a community garden.

Some things that we should do are less obvious, like buying food that was farmed sustainably, buying fair trade products and boycotting places that are treating the earth irresponsibly.

However, the important thing about this approach to creation care is treating it like an act of faith, because it is.

If you remember that the reason you are buying the more expensive bag of coffee is because you know that it was farmed sustainably and by people who were paid fairly, the act of purchasing becomes more than just transactional, it becomes an act of faith.

We must think of our interactions with the earth from the lens of creation care.

While purchasing ethically and responsibly can be expensive, we can choose to think of it in the same frame as tithing. We must do what we can, however we can do it.

In a city where things such recycling and composting facilities are readily available to us, we should use them.

It is our responsibility to respond creatively to our call: “till and keep it.”