Over the past week or so I’ve been reading the autobiography of renowned environmentalist, David Suzuki. It’s an enthralling book for a number of reasons, and it reveals a man with a deep love for the natural world and a passionate commitment to preserve it for future generations.
His book confirms what we already know. In many parts of the world, the destruction of the environment has passed the point of no return! Vast areas of pristine wilderness have been torn apart by mining and drilling.
Millions of hectares of virgin forest have been cleared to meet the insatiable demand for timber. Much of it has not been replanted, or has been converted into unproductive farms.
Rivers and lakes have been so badly polluted by the runoff from industry and mining that all life forms in and around them has disappeared.
The air in many of our major cities is now so toxic that it represents a constant threat to the health of wellbeing of those who live in them.
Global warming and climate change are the inevitable result of environmental degradation and the pollution of the atmosphere.
Responsible environmentalists have done their best over many years to alert us to this rapidly developing threat to our collective future.
Their warnings, as so often happens, have often been scoffed at or ignored, especially by those intent on making a great deal of money very quickly, and by governments more concerned with the next election than the future of the planet.
Although our own Prime Minister has recently acknowledged that the problems are real and must be addressed, his continued insistence that what is “good” for Australia sets the environmental agenda is somewhat mystifying.
If “good” means economically beneficial then the attitude is short-sighted and very misleading.
If it means that the rest of the world doesn’t matter as long as Australia gets something out of it, the attitude is totally selfish and irresponsible.
We are one world! What happens in South America, or Africa, or Antarctica ultimately impacts on everyone.
When our Government (along with the USA) refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol, it distances itself from a joint commitment to reduce the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and acts as if we can do as we like without reference to anyone else!
We should be in no doubt. The problem is real, it is urgent, and it demands a unified approach from the nations of the world.
The response called for includes a commitment by wealthy nations to address the economic inequities that encourage poorer countries to engage in rapid industrial development, often without regard for the inevitable destructive impact on the environment and the atmosphere.
For Christians, the current crisis is informed by our understanding of the biblical witness regarding the creation of the earth and responsible stewardship. The world God has made is a gift entrusted to our care.
The use of the words “subdue” and “have dominion” in the creation story found in Genesis 1 do not infer the right to ravage, exploit or destroy. They are words that establish the biblical notion of responsible stewardship.
God not only saw that everything he had made was “good”, God entrusted what was good into the care of the human race.
In the beginning, God saw that what the divine wisdom had brought into being was “good”.
In his letter to the Colossians, the Apostle Paul reminds us that Jesus is the Lord of creation.
As Son of God he was present and active in the creation of the earth. As the risen Christ he will present and active when God brings everything in heaven and on earth to its ultimate and perfect fulfilment.
In the meantime we have a special responsibility to care for the earth and its people.
The stewardship of creation is not just for now. It remains with us until Jesus comes again!
How’s the weather where you are?