I must confess I have not had a lot of time for radical, tree-hugging environmentalists. When they won’t allow you to build a hotel at the base of a ski hill like Sunshine, Alberta, it just annoys me. The ski area has been there for 50 years. Area wise it is a tiny dot in Banff National Park, and if there wasn’t a ski area there, no human being would ever visit that exact spot, ever! This week, however, I found myself thinking about the environment. It was hard not to with one of the biggest environmental disasters in human history unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. As of this writing the BP oil spill was still leaking crude into the Gulf at a rate of 5000 barrels a day. There is no guarantee that they can stop the flow and the damage that can result should be frightening to any thoughtful person. While this was going on I was camped out in California’s Redwood forest at a leadership summit. You cannot stand at the bottom of a 400 year old Redwood or Sequoia and not be overwhelmed with the majesty of God’s creation. These trees are so immense they make you feel like an insect not a person.
When I was growing up referring to someone as being ‘green’ either meant they were an envious human being or an alien from outer space. Today the word ‘green’ is synonymous with being environmentally friendly. The word is grossly overused and often abused. Manufacturers label everything as ‘green’ in a shameless attempt appeal to environmentally conscious consumer. Often times it means little more than the packaging might be able to be recycled. Big deal! When GM came out with their environmentally friendly hybrid pickup truck it got 17 mpg. The conventional V8 got 15 mpg. Probably a net environmental loss when you consider the extra manufacturing outputs and $5,000 price premium.
Probably the biggest scam going on today is the selling of carbon credits. Air travelers are being guilted into paying $100’s for some opportunistic entrepreneur to plant trees for them to offset their carbon footprint. Major industrial polluters around the world can buy carbon credits that supposedly compensate for their continuing dumping of toxins into the atmosphere. For me the biggest joke is the emphasis on CO2 emissions in the first place. We are so pre-occupied with Al Gore’s A Convenient Lie… that CO2 emissions from your car are causing global warming… that we have almost completely forgotten about the real problem of millions of tons of toxins and poisons that are still being dumped into our water, air and soil at an alarming rate. Click HERE to read my blog GLOBAL WARMING AND OTHER MYTHS.
Christians have been remarkably slow at getting onside with the environmental movement. There are two reasons, both theological. One has to do with the misinterpretation of Gen. 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Many christians actually have a human-centric belief that the planet is here for our absolute pleasure. To indulge and imbibe at whatever the cost. We have therefore been slow to condemn the burning of the rain forests or the devastation that has been left in the wake of some (arguably not all) oil sands operations right here at home.
The second reason is found in one the last books of the bible. We are told the whole thing is going up is smoke one day. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2Peter 3:7) Many of us have just shrugged our shoulders and said, “Well, God is going to toss the whole mess into the oven one day anyway, I might as well just enjoy myself while it lasts”. We forget that the Genesis mandate was all about stewardship. We seem to have neglected the part where he said be fruitful. Being fruitful requires maintaining the planet in a state where it can… well… produce fruit. We have failed to recognize the value God Himself puts on creation. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. (Gen 1:31)
When God put Adam in the garden He instructed him about stewardship, again. Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to TEND IT AND KEEP IT. (Gen 2:15) Make no mistake about it, we have a responsibility towards God’s creation. The big difference between us and the tree-huggers of the world is this; their humanistic worldview means their future is entirely dependent on the sustainability of the planet. It is all they have. As Christians our hope is in the Creator and not the creation. It is immensely different. Our interest in saving the planet should be born out of the utter awe and respect for the God who created it all, not a sense of our own self-preservation. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Rom 1:20) The God of the universe is revealed in His creation. I believe that when the church gets with the program we are going to kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, as I have already said, to honor God’s creation. But secondly, to gain favor with the very people we are trying to reach with the gospel. Left leaning environmentalists are often the same people we contend with on issues of abortion or same sex marriage. They often feel we have nothing in common with them and they tune us out before we have a chance to point them to Christ. Maybe, just maybe green christians will not be seen as just aliens from outer space.