Today is Earth Day. It isn’t normally considered a Christian holiday. But I think it should be.
Unfortunately, I have some Christian friends who consider Earth Day as an anti-Christian holiday, because they lump anything from the environmental movement into the “anti-god and almost atheistic” category. I have many Republican friends who ignore environmental issues altogether because they are normally thought of as a Democratic party issue, and they don’t want to be aligned with the “other party.” And I have some Christian friends who are so “heavenly-minded” that they believe they can ignore earthly issues altogether. After all, as one friend told me, “It’s all going to burn anyway.”
I recognize that there are those in the environmental movement who deny the existence of a Creator. And I have no doubt that there are many politicians who promote environmental issues that I do not want to be affiliated with. And I believe strongly in heaven and have dedicated my life to preaching Jesus, so I understand the thoughts of the “heavenly minded.”
But I don’t allow the extremists who deny God or who have different political or theological views to alter my own personal beliefs. I see taking care of our environment—planet Earth—as a Biblical issue.
I believe strongly in the Creator and the Bible He has inspired. The very first verse of the Bible proclaims, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” I see His Creation as one of His crowning achievements.
The more I study and read (and look at the pictures) the more obvious it is that our universe is an awesome reflection of an awesome God. And though I’ve seen only a tiny portion of Earth (mostly limited to the western United States), I recognize that it is incredibly beautiful. I’m amazed at the loveliness and the diversity of the land, the waters, and the creatures that inhabit Earth, and I want to see more.
Unfortunately, however, we’re doing an excellent job of trashing the land, polluting the air and the oceans, and wasting our resources. As Christians, we need to do more to take care of what God has created.
And so my reason for recognizing Earth Day is simple. If God created the Earth—and He did—then we are under an obligation to take care of it. We are, to use a Biblical world, “stewards” or managers of God’s creation. We are to keep it clean. We are to use our resources as wisely as possible. We are to clean up our own messes. We are to keep it as unpolluted as possible. And we are to protect the land, the air, the waters, and the animals that inhabit it.
Earth Day, then, is a great day to recognize and celebrate God’s creation!
I’m not a global or even national decision maker, so I have a limited ability to make a huge impact. But I can do small things. And if others join me, it can make a big impact.
Here are some small things and some practical steps that I am undertaking to help manage God’s creation well:
- I will stop using drive-throughs. Cars pollute more at idle speeds than at operating speeds. By going in, I save gas, reduce pollution, and get to walk instead of sit. I’ve also found that lines are usually shorter inside than outside, so I often save time.
- I will reduce my own plastic use. I’ve stopped purchasing disposable plastic water bottles. Instead, I use refillable bottles with a filter. I get good water and I don’t pollute. And over the long-term, I save money. When I have no choice but to use a disposable cup, I don’t use a lid or a straw.
- I will compost instead of throwing away food and yard waste, saving land-fill space.
- I will drive less and walk more to limit the use of gasoline. In public buildings, I will use stairs instead of elevators. (It’s better for my health and it reduces electricity usage.)
- I will watch my energy usage more closely by using programmable thermostats and LED lighting—and making sure I turn things off when not in use.
- This one may be hard, because I like meat, but I will find ways to reduce my intake of meat. Experts say the production of meat uses an abundance of resources and energy compared to other food sources.
- When I’m hiking (which I like to do), I will stay on trails and I will pick up trash that others have left behind.
- I will plant trees, for nothing reduces carbon in the atmosphere better than trees. And since I live in a desert, I will choose drought-resistant trees that don’t waste water.
- And I will consider a politician’s stance on the environment as one of many issues I want to know before I vote.
Will my small changes make a huge impact? No. But if all of us make small changes, the impact will be huge. Each one of us can do our part.
God created our entire universe and our planet. It is beautiful. It is His handiwork. God is the Creator, the designer, and the one that brought it all into existence. And it is incredible.
If you want to call me an environmentalist, that’s okay with me. But please understand me. I don’t worship creation. I’m not going to chain myself to trees and you most likely won’t see me marching in environmental rallies. Bud since I worship the Creator, I will take care of his creation.
I like to think of myself as a Biblical environmentalist. And there should be more of us.
Happy Earth Day!