“A Christian’s responsibility toward the environment” involves a very personal commitment. A Christian must realize that he alone will never be able to clean up all the air, water, roadsides, or forests. Trash and especially pollution are here to stay. The modern advances of the society we live in make it inevitable. This, however, does not absolve us of our responsibility. A Christian must look critically at himself and ask the question: What effect do I have on God’s creation when I touch it?
Consider yourself driving a car. Do you throw out candy wrappers, cigarette butts or packages, soft drink cups, or fast food cartons? If so, you are not living up to your responsibility of keeping God’s creation beautiful. God did not create His wonderful outdoors for us to dump trash in.
You may say: I never dump or throw trash from my car window. Good! Pat yourself on the back and then consider this: Do you save aluminum cans or the glass bottles your family uses to be recycled? Do you choose to buy glass bottles instead of plastic ones which are a petroleum product? Do you turn your thermostat down to 68, 67, 65, or 64 degrees? Gas and oil you know are irreplaceable resources which God has given us to use. We should do our best not to waste them.
Do you walk, bike, or ski places if possible? Do you try hard to be patient and form car pools for basketball games, work, or any social event? Do you drive 55 mph on the highway? Do you buy a real fur coat instead of an imitation one made with petroleum (Here’s your chance ladies!) Petroleum is irreplaceable, whereas animal fur is reproduceable.
Our responsibility to God’s creation includes plants and animals. Are you a hunter out for a good time, or do you use what you shoot wisely to its full capacity? Are you careful of plants when you visit woods or deserts? Do you leave plants where they are, or do you uproot them maliciously or for your own use? Forests and deserts were created by God and are delicately balanced according to His wisdom. Man tampering with this balance can only harm it.
Home owners have a responsibility. Have you considered solar heat? The sun is a limitless source of energy given us by God to use to its fullest advantage. Is your home insulated to prevent heat leakage and therefore save gas? Have you installed reflective film on your windows or dual-pane glass to insulate?
Many of you may say: “What’s the exhaust from one car more or less? What’s one degree more or less? There’s no difference.” Of course you’re partly right. You probably have as an individual no effect; but all the same you are with your one car adding to pollution however minutely. Think about it. You yourself have no noticeable effect to help clear the air, yet I think you must look at a much smaller portion of God’s creation. That part of which you touch! The part God has given you to be king over. You should do your level best to keep it clean and to use as wisely as possible before God.
When teaching children of their responsibility toward God’s creation, you must first instill in them appreciation for the beauty God has put there. You must talk about Creation and how God looked upon it and saw that it was good (Genesis 1:31). Would He say that now? Look at trees, majestic mountains, green grass, fast flowing streams and rivers, and all the animals with children. Point out their beauty and uniqueness. Talk of the majesty of the bald eagle or the toughness of a coyote. Each animal has been created uniquely through God’s wisdom for its place in creation.
Children have to be taught not to throw out trash or paper from cars. It is easy for them to imitate wrong actions of others. They should be taught that when they are finished with a snack, the wrapper must be thrown in the proper-place and not on a schoolyard or playground.
Older children understand the effects of man and industry on the environment. Textbooks about environment and the care of it should be used. There are excellent textbooks available to teach children about their environment, pollution, and solutions to the pollution. These books reflect the worldly trend toward seeking a cleaner environment and give man’s solutions to help clean up the mess. Children should learn this, but it should be taught with the emphasis on keeping God’s creation which He has given to us clean, not as the world teaches, to achieve an utopia here in this world. We are merely strangers passing through and know God has promised us a better land (Revelation 21:1). Our responsibility lies to God, not to ourselves, even though we receive the benefit of a cleaner environment.
The world teaches ecology and beautification of this present polluted trashy mess for their own good. Polluted air can kill you (this applies to cigarette, cigar and pipe smokers especially) so it must be cleaned up. Trash is ugly so it must be picked up or never thrown. The world is seeking a heaven here on this earth. They are frantically trying to find remedies for the utter mess they have made on this beautiful earth. We, as Christians, should join this effort, but not for that reason lest we be disappointed also. We are here for a short time and have been called by God to care for His creation. God reveals Himself to us through His creation (Psalm 19:1) and we must not make a mockery of that special revelation. God has made us kings over creation and we must use, not desecrate, the honor He has bestowed on us.