Christians’ Responsibilities For Environmental Preservation Or Restoration
Wanton destruction of the forests, pollution of rivers and indiscriminate dumping of waste material has contributed to environmental degradation over the years. If the current rate at which human activities are leading to the choking of water supplies and global warming is not checked, planet earth may become water deficient within the next fifty years (Neilson & Allard, 2008). Mankind has a moral responsibility to take care of the habitat to ensure that future generations have a safe dwelling. The Christian religion places a burden on its faithful to care for the environment (Edwards, 2006).
In Genesis 1:26 and 28, man was given dominion over the earth and everything in it. Therefore, more than any other person, the Christian has a duty and obligation to care for the environment and undertake restorative and preservative actions that would save the planet from further degradation. In the book of Exodus 23:10 -11, the Israelites are commanded to till the land for six years and leave it fallow in the seventh. This allowed the land to regenerate and evolved into the Jewish practice called Shmita (Mordechai, 2007). Thus not only is conservation a duty but also a way of life for the Christian.
Conservation activities are some of the things a Christian can do to reduce the damage being inflicted on the environment (Eckberg & Blocker, 1996). By reducing the amount of paper they use in their daily lives, Christians can slow down the exploitation of natural forests felled for production of paper. Some of the things they can do include saving their work on computer storage disks instead of printing hard copies. Printing documents on both sided of the paper will cut down on the number of pages required to develop a hard copy.
Shifting to sources of paper that are recycled or manufactured from sustainable forests will ensure that global forest covers remain at acceptable levels. With regard to power consumption, the Christian should be committed to conserving energy by avoiding wasteful use (Martin-Schramm & Stivers, 2003). Turing off unnecessary lighting, using energy saving bulbs and solar power to heat water and light the house are just some of the actions that will contribute to saving energy resources and reducing the carbon footprint. Leisure drives and maintaining several cars leads to excessive use of fuel resources.
By cutting down on non- essential trips and opting to car pool instead of driving to work alone, Christians will be limiting emission of gases into the environment. Fresh water resources are dwindling at an incredible rate and urgent measures are required to conserve the available sources. Christians should be at the forefront in utilizing the available supplies in the most efficient manner (Martin-Schramm & Stivers, 2003). This will involve cutting down on wasteful use of water like washing the car everyday or watering the lawn frequently.
Leaving water taps running while taking a shower, washing hands or cleaning the dishes contributes to a big percentage of domestic waste. Developing strict rules about water use in the house will ensure that non- essential consumption is kept to a minimum. Consumerism promotes the use of disposable commodities which is the leading cause of garbage build up in towns and cities. The large amounts of garbage generated per day present a problem of disposal as most dumpsites get filled within a short span.
Christians must change their purchasing patterns to increase the number of items packed in recyclable containers (Edwards, 2006). This will limit the amount of waste being produced by their households. Purchasing sturdy shopping bags made from natural materials will eliminate the need for vendors to pack purchased goods in plastic or paper bags. Organic farms produce various crops by applying manure and controlling pests using organic solutions. As a result there is minimal pollution from chemical compounds found in commercial fertilizers or emission of gases due to mechanized spraying of crops.
Since such farms drastically reduce the carbon footprint by utilizing natural means to produce crops, Christians should opt for organic foods rather than processed ones that are preserved with chemicals (Neilson & Allard, 2008). Despite such foods costing more because of their freshness, their nutritional value is much higher. Fresh foods are rich in natural vitamins and anti oxidants that promote good health and fortify the immune system. Christians will enjoy better health and the demand for drugs will decline leading to less pollution from companies manufacturing pharmaceutical drugs.
Because of their divine role in maintaining the integrity of the planet, Christians should lead the fight against pollution, environmental degradation and global warming (Edwards, 2006). They should add their voice to the campaign against degradation of the planet. In so doing, the faithful would have played an important role in sensitizing people about environmental preservation. Their participation in organized protests, picketing at meetings concerning the environment and distribution of literature to the public shall ensure effective dissemination of information.
Critics of the notion that Christians have a divine role to care for the environment argue that environmental conservation and preservation is not a religious duty but a social one involving all people (Eckberg & Blocker, 1996). They posit that people from other religious dispensations should play their part in protecting earth’s future. This argument is valid because the more inclusive the conservation effort the better the results. Nonetheless, this does not diminish the fact that Christians are called upon by their faith to be proactive in the protecting the environment as part of their Christian lives.
Another counter argument regarding the Christian duty is that people from other faiths are contributing to environmental degradation therefore the Christian has a right to participate in the same (Martin-Schramm & Stivers, 2003). This view is fallacious since it ignores the basic tenets of Christianity which call for selfless sacrifice, service to mankind and love for thy neighbor. A Christian cannot hew down trees and claim they are mindful of others when they know the consequences of their actions will lead to drying up of water supplies, lack of rain and soil infertility.
Similarly, it would be going against the Christian faith for a faithful to permit excessive pollution of the environment to emanate from their factory. Such action would be contrary to the Christian tenet of loving thy neighbor. In conclusion, practicing Christians should ensure that the land God gave them to live on is properly cared. They should be at the forefront of any initiative to conserve and preserve the planet because of their divine duty to do so. Leading by example will encourage other faiths to join in the noble effort to repair the damage inflicted on the environment and secure the planet for future generations.
References Eckberg, D. & Blocker, J. (1996) Christianity, environmentalism, and the theoretical problem of fundamentalism. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 35(4): 343-355. Edwards, D. (2006) Ecology at the Heart of Faith. Orbis Books Martin-Schramm, J. & Stivers, R. (2003) Christian Environmental Ethics: A Case Method Approach (Ecology and Justice Ser). Orbis Books (November 6, 2003) Mordechai K. (2007) Shmita for the Clueless. Jewish Action: The Magazine of the Orthodox Union 68:2 Neilson, A. H. & Allard, A. (2008) Environmental degradation and transformation of organic chemicals. CRC PressSample Essay of Edusson.com