Caring for the planet is about a lot more than caring for fish or trees or birds or rivers or dirt or air. As Christians, we care for creation as a means of loving our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40). We believe that human life is of inestimable worth—far beyond the value of diamonds or gold or rubies or dollar bills. Because of our belief in the sanctity of life, we take seriously Scripture’s call to protect the vulnerable (Isaiah 58), care for the “least of these” (Matthew 25:31-46), and do unto others as we’d want others to do unto us (Luke 6:31).
It’s a basic biological fact: Human life is inextricably tied to the health of the created world. The harsh reality is that environmental degradation directly and negatively impacts human lives! All over the globe, people are getting sick, remaining mired in cycles of poverty, and even dying as a result of environmental degradation. Air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, climate change, and many other factors are directly hurting humans whom God created, whom God loves, and whom God has called us to love like he does.
So as Christians we care that unborn babies are born with toxic levels of mercury in their blood as a result of the pollution caused by certain forms of energy production. And we care that other babies are born with birth defects linked directly to air pollution.
We care about kids who live in dumps or polluted urban areas—who suffer from cancer, heart disease, asthma and worse as a result of the toxins they’re exposed to daily.
We care about impoverished subsistence farmers and fishermen who must attempt to feed their family from depleted soil, unsanitary water, and contaminated fish.
We care that the global poor are profoundly affected by erratic weather patterns, doughts, rising water levels all linked to pollution and carbon emissions.
I could go on and on here listing example after example of how human-caused environmental degradation directly and disproportionately harms the most vulnerable around the globe . . . but I won’t. These examples suffice to make my point on this Earth Day: Creation care isn’t just about the “earth”—but it’s also about caring for human life. I firmly believe that being pro-life is about more than just abortion; more broadly, the reiterating biblical call is to speak up for all who are vulnerable. To defend, to love, to protect.
I’d never want my kids to eat toxic food or drink polluted water, to starve or suffer from preventable disease! Would you?
This is where God calls us to embrace Scripture’s profoundly-challenging Golden Rule: To care for the global poor the same way we’d care for ourselves and our loved ones. To defend, to love, to protect.
And this love for humankind compels us to consider the environmental implications of our lifestyle and daily choices. Though “greening” our lifestyles can seem like an overwhelming task, I believe we can make small and simple choices, then build upon them with more small choices, as we each grow as stewards. (I’m still growing! It’s still a journey for me and my family, one small choice at a time!)
Friends: God calls us to love.
It’s worth it.