Sunday, April 17, 2005

Caring for the Environment

Our lead pastor spoke today about the environment and how those of us who call ourselves Christians should be far more convicted about caring for the environment than we are. It was a very personal message in that he, himself is just starting to wake up the waste and mismanagement of the world's resources in his own life. I try to do my part at home and at work but it isn’t too hard to bring home a bag of pop cans or scrap paper to drop in the recycle bin. It is far more difficult for me to consider the amount of water I waste in a long, hot shower in the morning or the extra fossil fuel we’ll be burning and greenhouse gasses we’ll be emitting if we get a second car. With Earth Day (or as some prefer to call it Creation Day) coming up this Friday, take a look at your own life for ways to decrease your consumption of resources and how you can give back to the world that God has given us to look after. I’ll be doing just that this week and will hopefully have some tips next Sunday after this topic is explored further in the adult forum at church.

I’ve copied the info below from Calvin DeWitt from one of many websites on Christian environmentalism. Go check it out!

The Seven Degradations of the Earth
Calvin DeWitt, in his book The Environment and the Christian, lists seven degradations of the earth.

First, land is being converted from wilderness to agricultural use and from agricultural use to urban areas at an ever-increasing rate. Some of these lands cannot be reclaimed at all, at least not in the near future.

Second, as many as three species a day become extinct. Once a species has disappeared, it is gone. Neither the species nor the role it occupied in the ecosystem can be retrieved.

Third, land continues to be degraded by the use of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Just because DDT is no longer used does not mean that potentially harmful chemicals are not being used in its place.

Fourth, the treatment of hazardous chemicals and wastes continues as an unsolved problem. Hazardous chemicals seep into water sources from previously buried dumping grounds.

Fifth, pollution is rapidly becoming a global problem. Human garbage turns up on the shores of uninhabited South Pacific islands, far from the shipping lanes, and DDT has been found in Antarctic penguins.

Sixth, our atmosphere appears to be changing. Is it warming due to the increase of gases like carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels? Is the ozone layer shrinking due to the use of chemicals contained in refrigerators, air conditioners, spray cans, and fire extinguishers? Though these questions cannot be answered easily, they must be asked.

Seventh, we are losing the experiences of cultures that have lived in harmony with the creation for hundreds or even thousands years. Cultures such as the Mennonites and Amish, as well as those of the rain forests, are crowded out by the expansion of civilization.

Never before have human beings wielded so much power over God's creation. Do we know what we are doing?