February 5th, 2020
Everyone is talking about caring for the environment. Climate change, climate strikes, fossil fuels, plastic pollution, animal extinction, rising waters - these are hot topics on the media and they’re saturating our everyday conversations too. The question though is, do we as Christians have a responsibility to join this conversation? Are we supposed to lead by example in how we care for creation? Here at YWAM Vancouver, we’ve been delving into these questions for the last few years. We call this conversation Sustainable Soapbox. And we think yes, we do have a responsibility. So sit back and relax while we explain why we believe that Christians have a divine call to engage in creation care.
CARE FOR CREATION
“Creation care” describes how we as humans (created beings) relate to the world around us (created order). It’s more proactive than simply seeing our surroundings as “the environment.” If we are created beings inside of creation then there’s this natural sense of responsibility, ownership, and humility too. Christians believe that our wild and wonderful world was made intentionally by God, and it’s “very good” (Genesis 1:31)! We inhabit this world as guests with the divine duty of looking after creation. Our God-given job is to “tend and keep” the Earth (Genesis 2:15). We serve and preserve it. However, our rule over creation has often been greedy, shortsighted, and cruel, expressed through consumption, waste, and misuse of natural resources. We have caused many of the problems facing our world today. 2.2 billion acres of natural land has been converted for human use since 1850. With less natural land, the environment takes a hit. Covering the landscape with concrete interrupts the food chain, leads to water scarcity and the deterioration of ecosystems. As we look around the world around us, we know that something has changed. This isn’t “very good.”
CARE FOR PEOPLE
Care for people and care for creation are inextricably linked. We all depend on creation to survive. This is especially true farmers, herders, fishers, and more around the world who depend on the Earth for their immediate well-being. Misuse of creation has critical implications for billions of people around the world and the poor are often the first to suffer. As we at YWAM Vancouver reflect on these facts, we walk away with the conclusion that our obedience to Jesus’s command to love our neighbours as ourselves expresses itself in creation care. Our administrative decisions may seem small, but they matter. Do we waste paper, or buy from companies who perpetuate deforestation? Do we buy blindly from companies who exploit banana pickers or coffee farmers? Do we give and sell merch made in factories that don’t pay a fair wage to their workers? Do we buy from businesses who profit from selling single-use plastic? These choices matter, expressing how we relate to our neighbour. All of these beg us to question, are we obeying the command of loving our [international] neighbour?
THERE IS HOPE!
Colossians 1:16 says that the Earth was made by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus. This is a stunning declaration of the value of this world. We Christians are motivated to hope in Christ’s full redemption of our world, and to roll up our sleeves and engage in this redemptive work too. What is the role you will play?