God didn’t create this Earth & us, people, to watch us destroy Her creation and each other. God didn’t call us to ‘dominion’ over the earth to ruin it, to suck the very life out of it, to cause climate change, or kill the most vulnerable through our greed and selfishness.
We are failing this planet & our neighbors & future generations when we abuse this Earth, God’s Creation. The crisis we have created on this planet is very real. People, animals, and plants are dying because we have been systematically abused this earth for financial gain.Our purpose on this planet is not financial gain or power; it’s to love God, love our neighbors, plants & animals, and care for this planet.
“Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -Matthew 12:28-31
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. -Genesis 2:15
How do we care for Creation in a way that reflects Christ’s call to love our neighbors?
Our current culture constantly celebrates financial power & the abundance of more. This mentality is in direct opposition to Christ’s call to his followers.
He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord. –Psalm 33:5
The root causes of every environmental issue in some way gets back to flawed human beings and sinful hearts: materialism, greed, selfishness, fear. So, if we want to heal the earth we must address the sin of humanity to heal the abuse of the earth.
By ending materialism, greed, and selfishness we can begin to heal the abuse of the earth and potentially reverse the damage done to our climate.
From a Mennonite Perspective, we focus on caring for one another and in doing so we are called to care for this planet. Our neighbors are more numerous than the people that live next door. Our neighbors include the animals that occupy our outdoor spaces & the first peoples land on which we now live. God calls us to love him with our lives and serving to care for one another to make heaven on earth an actual reality. Not a fantasy, as many evangelicals Christians think. There is no separation between this Earth & our call to care for it and our neighbors.
Mennonites do this through the Mennonite Disaster Service; by caring for those affected by climate change in the US and abroad. Many other denominations have similar programs to assist neighbors, after disasters. but what are we doing, as Christians to help prevent these disasters. These aren’t “acts of God” they are acts of climate change created by humans through greed and selfishness.
As Christians we need to look beyond after disaster service and begin imagining a future where climate change doesn’t destroy lives or communities. As Christians, we need to love our neighbors enough to do what we can to stop the perpetual hurt being caused to vulnerable communities.
The problem for many Christians, is they don’t have a direct experience of climate change. Especially not as much as the Peruvian farmer, or the Nigerian cattle rancher. The biggest difference between the average American Christian is our separation from creation itself. We live isolated in our suburbia surrounded by shops, grocery shops, and everything at our beck and call. While our neighbors who are more attuned to creation can feel the difference and changes happening each season. These changes to climate change not only affect their business but their very lives & their families lives. If we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves, then how are we loving our neighbors by living in denial of the things they are experiencing.
So what can we do?
Reduce our use of oil & gas products, this has multiple positive takeaways including reducing our dependance on countries like Russia. Diversifying our energy sources reduces our dependance on harmful energy and gives clean(er) energy an opportunity to thrive.
Reduce our material consumption, reducing our consumption helps us to slow materialism and reduces waste. Which helps us to “throw away” less and reuse items already created instead of buying new things.
Use what you have, reduce your plastic use, compost when you can, recycle wisely, repurposing things you already have.