Christianity and Environmentalism: My Thoughts

I am a Christian. And I am here on this earth for the term of my lifetime. I’m going to die anyway, so why care about environmentalism, right?

Wrong.

My only objection to the environmental movement is its emphasis on the creation, and its strange omission of the Creator. However, I do acknowledge that some, if not most, do not hold the same beliefs I hold. My intent is not to condemn anyone who does not believe what I believe; rather my hope is to exercise my right to free speech and share my thoughts with all of you.

See, in Genesis 1:26 we see God commit the wild animals of the earth to man’s dominion:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

Dominion, here, does not mean what domination connotes- it means sovereignty, preeminence, among other synonyms. Implicit in the word “dominion” is a responsibility.

again, in verse 28,

God blessed them and said to them {Adam and Eve}, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

The wording here is problematic- “subdue”- the most fitting synonyms would be “subjugate” “rein in” and “master.” The man as master of the earth- ideally would mean he has a responsibility to the creation- especially since he and the creation share the same Creator. And that Creator is God Almighty.

My point is, nowhere does it say “exploit.” Exploitation is the utilization of human capital, natural resources and the like for personal profit. Exploitation is never a good thing. Centuries of exploiting our natural resources has led to the deterioration of our environment- accelerating the increase in the earth’s temperatures, and speeding the process of the melting icecaps. We see more famines due to water- mismanagement and abuse, and lands stripped of nutrients for the production of staple, profitable crops. And the bottom line to all of this was profit.

Profit trumped the displacement of peoples. Profit was more important than the Lord’s wonderful and magnificent creatures.

There are several other relevant passages, including:

Psalm 8:5-8
You [God] made him [man] a little lower than the heavenly beings [a]
and crowned him with glory and honor.

You made him ruler over the works of your hands;
you put everything under his feet:

all flocks and herds,
and the beasts of the field,

the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.

It is clear, God’s mandate was not that we USE the earth for our selfish desires, rather, we responsibly live on this earth as the dominant creation. Surely God would not wish that we ravage the earth in search of that black gold at the cost of continental shelves and marine biodiversity (which is what would happen if we drilled offshore), and he certainly did not want use to exploit the labor of our fellow humans for the sake of a few more diamonds or a dew ounces of coltan.

If you buy a DeBeers diamond, you are further enabling a diamond cartel to impose unfair and dangerous labor conditions on their laborers, simultaneously disproportionately controlling the price level of diamonds on the open world market.

I do believe that we should seek to improve our use of this earth- as our children and their children will inherit the earth we leave behind. To do otherwise would be selfish and unconscionable. I don’t mean to suggest that we give up our wealth and live among those living in the Amazon region (they would not be pleased with your presence), nor do I suggest that you stop consuming goods totally. My suggestion is to, at the very least, be conscientious of the repercussions of your consumption patterns.

If you ingest Coke or Starbucks, you are contributing to the massive waste of fresh water- a scarce resource we have yet to replicate viably.

And that’s not even all.
I’m not saying this is written in the Bible- no, it is not. I am saying that this logically follows Jesus’ command that we love others as we love ourselves. Surely you would not choose to pollute the water that is your own lifeline- as it is for those living along the Amazon River.

I’m no environmentalist, but I am a Christian. And I believe that my responsibility is to live a life worth retelling at St. Peter’s gate. That includes the objects I bought and the injustices I was complicit in.

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