Seventh-day Adventists and the Environment

Seventh-day Adventists and the Environment
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Stewards of the Environment
In Genesis 2:15, it is observed that “God took man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it” (KJV). By implication, it would seem that God intended that mankind should treat nature with respect and not abuse it.  Additionally, the official statement of our church says, “Seventh-day Adventists believe that humankind was created in the image of God, thus representing God as His stewards, to rule the natural environment in a faithful and fruitful way” (Voted at the General Conference session in Utrecht, the Netherlands, June 29-July 8, 1995). The statement also notes, “Increasingly, men and women have been involved in a megalomaniacal destruction of the earth's resources, resulting in widespread suffering, environmental disarray, and the threat of climate change.” 
 
Human Selfishness: a Basis for Environmental Destruction
        Furthermore, “it is clear from the accumulated evidence that the increasing emission of destructive gasses, the depletion of the protective mantel of ozone, the massive destruction of . . . forests, and the so-called greenhouse effect, are all threatening the earth's eco-system.”  Unfortunately, these problems are “largely due to human selfishness and the egocentric pursuit of getting more and more through ever-increasing production, unlimited consumption and depletion of nonrenewable resources.”  These issues result from humans’ failure to be good and responsible stewards in “dressing and keeping” that which God has entrusted to us. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to do something to help reverse or minimize further negative effects to planet earth.  What can we do?  I suggest some ideas that were shared with me.
 
Practical Ways of Caring for the Environment
            For starts, let’s ensure that our surroundings are kept clean.  Failing to rightly deposit our waste can do damage to nature.  Throwing oil on the ground may seem harmless, but untold damage is being done to our water supply. Allowing old or derelict motor vehicles and appliances to remain in our yards or vacant property certainly do not help the environment; for they may give off oil and other harmful liquids that could seep into the ground. Also, uprooting all of our trees, unnecessarily, to build is unfortunate, especially if we fail to replant some trees.  Thank God for the celebration of Earth Day, for we are reminded to go green in our paint selection and also to use paper bags, or green bags, instead of plastic ones.
            When we go to the beach, we want to ensure that we collect our garbage. Leaving them on the shore does not only pose a problem to the ecosystem, but also the marine
life is put at great risk when plastic bags and empty cans get into the sea.
            Likewise, it is important that we service our cars regularly to minimize harmful emissions into the air that we breathe. Essentially, it may do us good to note that our lives are tied to protecting nature and the environment. So we can team up community leaders with the Pathfinders, other members and concerned citizens to clean up our neighborhoods, or sections of the islands as well as educate persons regarding the importance of protecting Mother Earth.  Also, we could share what we have studied about the environment in our Sabbath School Lesson with others so that the message goes far and wide, for we are stewards of God’s creation.
            Finally, I note again from our official statement, “Seventh-day Adventists advocate a simple, wholesome lifestyle, where people do not step on the treadmill of unbridled consumerism, goods-getting, and production of waste. We call for respect of creation, restraint in the use of the world's resources, reevaluation of one's needs, and reaffirmation of the dignity of created life.”