Where Christianity and Environmentalism Intersect

Climate change.

Sustainability.

Waste-free living.

These are just a few of the dozens of environmental buzzwords that have been hanging out in my newsfeed for the past six months or so.

Maybe you are deeply passionate about the cause behind these words. Or maybe you are vehemently sick and tired of seeing these hashtags on your nightly Instagram scroll. Whether you’re an enthusiastic recycler or not, I would love to share some thoughts and open this conversation about the correlation between my faith and the way I view environmental issues.

As a Christian, I feel a responsibility to care for the earth because it is a physical manifestation of God’s creativity, power, and inherent goodness. Allow me to elaborate.

In Genesis, God saw that everything that He made, and He said that it was “good.” As a Christian, I want to strive to protect and preserve everything that God has declared as good, and I want to be a responsible steward of the natural resources that we have been given.

It is important to take care of the earth is because it reflects God’s beauty and power.

In Psalm 19, David exclaims, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” What would happen if we would slow down and actually digested those words? The sky above us proclaims God’s handiwork. Think about it. Those sparkling orbs in the night sky aren’t just twinkling lights; they’re flaming hot spheres of gas that are millions of miles away from us.

Again, in Psalm 8, David ponders, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” God uses the vast beauty of creation to remind us how small and insignificant we are—in the best way possible! While God wants us to enjoy the beauty of the earth from the sunsets to the wildflowers, He also wants us to take care of it. Genesis 2 says that “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (NIV).

I want my children’s children to be able to see the Grand Canyon with the words of Psalm 19 echoing in their mind. Because of this, I am going to do everything in my power to take care of creation. Now, what does that look like practically? Not everyone has to start a compost pile in their backyard or become a vegan; just do what you can with the resources available to you.

For me, that looks like bringing reusable bags to grocery stores and reusable cups to coffee shops. Also, I avoid buying clothes from fast fashion companies who make low-quality products that won’t last. In conclusion, the Scriptures reveal to us that it is both a privilege and a responsibility to care for God’s creation. It’s all about the little decisions that you make throughout the day. Little decisions really do add up!

About this time last year, my friends and I stumbled upon an art exhibit in St. Ignatius’ church in Rome. The theme of the exhibit was Christian conservation, and on of the feature exhibits had this poem. I think it captures truth about God’s character being revealed through nature in a beautifully simple way:

On a winter day
A desert father
Asked an old,
Black and withered tree:
”Talk to me about God.”
And the tree blossomed.
— unknown author