Environmental groups and other secular entities often emphasize the importance of natural and uncultivated land. However, this may not always get to the root causes of environmental degradation.
Essentially, restoration must take on a small scale approach so that individual efforts can be combined to make a huge impact. It shall be argued that Christians can bridge that gap by spearheading specific, local and small scale environmental changes such as small scale organic farming, personal energy conservation measures and purchasing choices in the corporate arena.
What Christians can do
Instead of taking on a pluralist approach like the environmentalists, Christians need to emphasize traditional values like communal agriculture. Large scale farms owned by big farms often exploit and destroy the earth through chemical fertilizers and excessive soil erosion. However, if societies were to go back to the culture of local farming then this would create a situation where environmental damage could be put under control.
Furthermore, large institutions through agribusiness have been responsible for destroying local structures so there should be a rebuttal of local situations that would allow for a tighter nurturing of the environment. In essence, most of the issues that have been taking centre stage in environmental restoration have been related to the economic sphere.
However, a more holistic and personal method would be plausible. The reasoning behind this argument is that man is a steward of his environment and if he takes personal responsibility for it through agriculture then he can safeguard the earth (Poetry foundation, 2010).
It is essential for Christians to speak with one voice on environmental matters. In other words, Christian leaders should offer their followers certain tangible solutions that they can use in order to alter their effects on their environment. In essence, humans need to make a commitment to live in a manner that is devoid of luxuries. Humanity’s tendency to continually seek self gratification is what has led to the current environmental crisis.
Therefore, the church can be the initiator of a new commitment towards an emphasis on the necessities of life rather than its excesses. It is a fact that consumption is what has led the world to its current circumstances. Christian leaders can make their followers realize that to live a full life then they need to avoid excesses. They can also propel the argument that the earth can only be sustainable once current generations think about the generations that will come ahead of them.
This would promote a value based approach to creation and management of the environment. Some of the methods that may be utilized in spreading this message include: creation based sermons.
Preachers may talk about the splendor and magnificence of God’s creations and the need to reserve them as such. Also, churches may sing songs and hymns that endorse the beauty of creation and this would encourage individuals to take on the personal challenge of safeguarding those creations. Therefore, the church can play an important role in educating the masses (NRPE, 2010).
Education is not the only pathway to restoration of the environment through the church; there is also the option of mobilizing individuals for this cause. Christianity boasts of having the largest religious followership in the world. Consequently, this institution brings together a large number of people who may not be easily reachable through conventional environmental groups.
Once the groups are taught about the importance of God’s creation then they can use their large numbers in order to implement those recommendations within the homes or amongst their family members. In much the same way that the church initiates certain community based projects; it can do the same for the environment. Evangelical groups may start Ministries that revolve around the environment and this will definitely affect its restoration and sustainability for the future generations.
Mobilization may also occur through communication between communities and their public officials. Churches can be the pathways that connect the public to their representatives especially in terms of environmental matters. This essentially means that the public can spearhead change through the political arena using the Church (Evangelical Environmental network, 2010).
Christians need to endorse methods and actions that would reduce the environmental impact of human activity. This means reexamining lifestyles that are likely to contribute to pollution and endorsing solutions that would prevent their occurrence. For example, the issue of energy conservation needs to be endorsed. Churches can encourage personal choices through efficient energy consumption. For example, they can endorse the use of fuel efficient cars or cars powered by alternative energy sources that do not pollute the environment.
They can also endorse the use of certain energy efficient alternatives in homes such as they use of energy saving bulbs, low energy consuming refrigerators and others. Christians may also support the use of renewable energy such as wind in order to make the environment more sustainable. Also, the use of recycled material and the actual act of recycling can be promoted by the church such that resources are not overly exploited (Olson, 2010).
Churches can be the avenue that promotes personal changes related to the corporate arena. For example, they can promote the use of local merchandise over foreign products. This implies that individuals will be trying to minimize environmental pollution caused by transporting products through long distances that eventually lead to excessive use of fuel and hence excessive emission of pollutants into the environment.
The church can also support utilization of environmentally friendly choices by encouraging their members to buy commodities from farmers’ markets rather than large scale superstores that often get their merchandise from out of town. They church may also talk about these sustainable practices within local businesses. It may continue to emphasize the importance of resource conservation through such an avenue by local businessmen.
Some individuals have argued that the church cannot support environmental issues because it endorses anti-environmental values. In other words, these individuals believe that Christianity promotes those values through some of its principles. For example, James Watt- a Christian and administrator in the 1980s asserted that the earth is there to be subdued and dominated by man (Deem, 2010).
However, this assertion is actually taken out of context. People who endorsed these principles did not go out of their way to analyze the full assertions in the Bible. In essence, God did give man dominion but this dominion was to take care of the earth not to destroy it.
Christianity is an ideal platform for instating positive environmental changes through personal approaches. This is because the church can easily mobilize and educate the masses. It can also spearhead the use of environmentally friendly personal practices in the home and through business. Even those who oppose this stance do not have a solid backing because their references were taken out of context.
Olson, B. (2010). Environmental stewardship. Web.
Deem, R. (2010). Is Christianity anti environmental? Web.
Evangelical Environmental network (2010). Ministry of creation care. Creation Care magazine, 2010.
NRPE (2010). Questions and answers about faith and the environment. Web.
Poetry foundation (2010). The Story of Wendel l Berry. Web.