It seems daily that we hear about the weather. Epic hurricanes, catastrophic tornadoes, floods, snow, drought, and increasingly record-setting temperatures: For years, scientists have argued that the Earth is experiencing climate change at a rate that is ultimately to our own destruction. Everyone is pointing fingers of blame if not completely denying that the climate is indeed changing. But before we do that, we as everyday citizens of the planet ought to examine ourselves and discover our role in all of this.
We drive our cars, wash our clothes, take showers, and keep our lights on usually without giving any of it a single thought of any long-term effects. As a result, according to NASA, the Earth’s temperature has increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, sea levels have risen at a rate of 3.4 mm per year, and carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is at a record 403.28 parts per million. Not to mention the rapid decrease in Arctic ice. How does all this happen? Who is responsible? What can be done? As followers of Jesus Christ and Father God it is up to us to take action. It’s time for us to pay more attention to the health of our air, water, and land.
In Genesis 1:29-31, God tells Adam to rule over the Earth and to take dominion over it. It seems that most of the time this is taken to mean that man should get to do whatever he wants and however he wants with our natural resources. The Bible tells us that this is not what God had in mind and that we are to be good stewards of the Earth. Originally, man was supposed to oversee God’s new creation, which God Himself pronounced as being “very good”, in order that its condition would accomplish God’s purposes. Man was never supposed to literally subdue it or do as he pleases with it. But, being of a sinful nature, though, man corrupted God’s creation and now we all have to wrestle with the issues and effects of pollution and climate change.
While climate change affects all parts of the Earth, it still has local impacts in our communities. It affects the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we farm. Some of climate change is naturally occurring, but most of it is not. Power plants and factories are not the only things degrading God’s creation. We, as individuals, are acting as catalysts of this natural fluctuation simply with the little choices we make every day such as making multiple trips in our cars to run errands and neglecting timely car maintenance, letting the water run while we brush our teeth or take baths, and dumping chemicals on our lawns or down storm drains such as during car washes. As a result, cardiovascular disease is on the rise as is asthma, allergies, preterm birth, and certain cancers among other ailments. Not to mention the adverse effects on natural habitats and wildlife and its ability to reproduce.
This is not what God had in mind for the Earth or for us.
Though it may seem that the damage has been done and there’s no turning back, there are still ways that we can affect change for the better.
Practice Water Conservation
Turn off the water when you’re brushing your teeth or wiping down your kitchen counters, set a timer on your irrigation system, and take showers instead of filling up the bathtub whenever possible. Fix leaks, run the dishwasher and laundry washer only when it’s full, and consider installing a low-flow toilet.
Conduct Regular Maintenance on Your Car
Change the oil at the proper mileage, take your car in for regular tune-ups, and maintain proper pressure in your tires in order to keep it running as efficiently as possible.
Dispose of Household Chemicals Properly
Few household chemicals are suitable, or even legal, to put down the drain or dumped in the yard since they eventually seep into the groundwater, which is a source of drinking water. Take your unwanted chemicals- paint, cleaners, oils- to your local disposal facility for proper handling.
Pick Up After Your Pet
Pet waste is one of the top reasons for phosphorus contamination in our local waterways. It’s cited as the third or fourth largest contributor of bacterial pollution in urban watersheds. Water conservation involves preventing this kind of runoff, which removes oxygen from the water and suffocates the plant and animal life in it. It also takes extra energy to clean the water. Picking up your pet’s waste protects the water and land.
Turn Off the Lights
Get into the habit of turning off the lights you’re not using so that there is less demand on our energy systems that largely draw from non-renewable resources.
These are just a few little things you can do every day to be a good steward of what God has created. We all play a part in the changes the Earth is experiencing and we ought to do whatever we can to protect it. The Earth, after all, belongs to God. Not us. In our obedience to Him, let us do whatever we can to take care of our planet for His purpose and His glory.