Environment refers to the totality of the surrounding conditions. The conditions of any surroundings directly affect its occupants and this being the case, it is essential for people to aspire to make their environment a safe place to live in. In the past, environment conscious individuals and organizations have played a major role in the conservation of our worthy environment. These efforts however have not been sufficient to combat the global environment crisis.
In any nation with conscience about the environment, all sectors should be involved its conservation or restoration. Among such sectors are the religious sector and more specifically, Christians. In the past, Christians have not put sufficient effort to conserve the environment. As a result, they need to come up with actions that are aimed at conserving the environment.
This essay covers Christian’s concept and attitude on nature and Christian involvement in environmental crisis; that is, efforts that Christians believe will enable them contribute positively in the conservation of the environment. It will be done in accordance with Toulmin model of argument.
Involvement of Christians in environmental conservation
According to Christians, matters related to the environment emerge from state of tension between behaviour of individuals, which lead to diminishing environmental value, and role of the civil society to preserve the environment. In the past, however, Christians have not been in the forefront in averting environmental degradation.
From the story of creation in Genesis, the essential goodness of God came out when He created everything and made them perfect. Humans are required to emulate this goodness by taking care of His creations. Brandt asserts that since christians understand that after God was through with creation He gave man dominion over all his creation, which includes the environment, it is their duty to take care of this creation including the environment (2002, p. 134).
Since there is a large number of people who believe in and value principles of Christianity, Christians should emphasize part played by communication and propaganda, in convincing people that the environment constitutes not only the surroundings but also its inhabitants. Moreover, it is important that they develop altruistic attitudes towards the same. Having known this, Christians have now fully expressed their interest in solving all the matters related to the environment, which is of invaluable importance to its inhabitants.
Actions to be taken by Christians to conserve the environment
In a bid to contribute positively towards the conservation of the environment, Christians need to primarily, develop self-conviction that conservation of the environment is their personal duty and a privilege from God. As such, they should show personal concern in matters related to care of the environment.
Burnie, in his guide about protecting the planet, argues that the condition of the environment is a function of the collective responsibilities of its inhabitants, aimed at increasing its suitability to habitation (2001, p. 64). Christian should therefore endeavor to make the planet a worthy place to live in. This is only possible if they do or encourage people to be conscious about environmental issues.
Secondly, Christians should change their lifestyle norms and adopt new environment sensitive ones. This may include advocating for environmental organizations, re- using waste, adopting means of transport friendly to the environment and avoidance of deforestation. The third action requires Christians, through written statements or sermons, to emphasize that God loves not only human beings, but also the non-human hence both need equal care.
Elsdon argues that by God creating humans, animals, and all non living things, all are of equal value before him, thus humans who God granted dominion over the other creation bear the responsibility of taking care of God’s creation(1992, p. 121). In other words, people are required to know and appreciate the existence of a relationship between theology and ecology. By doing this they will adopt lifestyles which value the need to care for their surrounding, the environment.
The fourth action that Christians need to take in order to conserve their environment is to issue statements through their churches, sensitizing the world about the environment and mobilizing them to develop conservation measures. Hill asserts that it is worthy to liken the environment to a human body.
The way a well-nurtured body overcomes diseases is the same way a well-maintained environment will overcome degradation (1998, p.146). Christians should therefore, take care of the environment the same way they would do to their bodies.
Christians should not allow the modern culture to soil their beliefs about the connection between God and the environment in which they thrive. They should shun modern cultural practices, which dedicate the ownership of all creation to human power instead of God.
Instead, they should embrace His creation and honour Him with praises for they are able to see how good a worker He is through nature that surrounds them. By doing this, they will be able to maintain the faith they have in God and their beliefs about nature, through which God reveals Himself to them.
Lastly, Christians should incline their actions to responsible public policies, which value the biblical concept of creation. Northcott argues, “These public policies can guide people to be conscious about nature in all their actions” (1996, p.130). As a result, individuals, and organizations are able to make decisions, which not only helps them achieve their motives, but also recognize the importance of conserving the environment.
The environment, described as the total conditions surrounding an individual, is a vital part of human existence. Many people are negligent of its value and the part it plays in human life. Although there are individuals and organizations that value the environment and make efforts that enhance its sustainability, it is important that people create a global awareness about conservation of the environment.
The Christian community should be at the forefront in sensitizing the society about the importance of environmental conservation to human life; hence, they should come up with actions geared towards conserving the environment.
Brandt, D. (2002). God’s Stewards: the Role of Christians in Creation Care World Vision. California: World Vision International. Print.
Burnie, D. (2001). Earth watch: The young person’s guide to protecting the planet. United Kingdom: Penguin Books. Print.
Elsdon, R. (1992). Greenhouse Theology: Biblical Perspectives on Caring For Creation. Tunbridge Wells: Monarch. Print.
Hill, R. (1998). Christian Faith and the Environment: Making Vital Connections. New York: Orbis. Print.
Northcott, S. (1996). The Environment and Christian Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Print.