‘The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ (Genesis 2:15 NIV)
‘If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.’ (Leviticus 26:3-4 NIV)
‘The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it’ (Psalm 24:1 NIV)
We hear a lot about the relationships between God and his people, and people with each other, but far less about God’s heart for us to love his creation. Throughout the Bible however, there are verses showing our interdependence with the Earth; we reap from it, but also have a large responsibility to care for it, love it, and look after it.
The state of the Earth is clearly not as God intended; animals, people and the Earth itself are all suffering the consequences of human sin. According to the UN World Food Programme, 18 million people will require emergency assistance before March next year in Southern Africa alone, due to droughts. Last Summer, more than two thousand people died in Southwest Asia and India because of heatwaves. The World Health Organisation estimates that air pollution causes 7 million premature deaths each year globally. In China, two major rivers, the Yellow and the Yangtze are drying up so fast, that 18 rivers in the Qumulai county alone have completely dried up leaving just riverbeds remaining. Jesus’ return will fully restore Creation to glorious perfection, but that doesn’t mean we can avoid our responsibility to care for it now.
Loving creation in an active way can begin with baby steps, such as looking into using energy saving light bulbs, using draft excluders to keep heat in, and lowering your thermostat by just 1 degree which can all save lots of energy (and money!). Since the majority of energy supply in the UK comes from non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels, this can reduce your carbon footprint drastically.
A more substantial change you can try to make while you’re at home is to look with your family at your energy supplier and how much of your energy supply is renewably sourced, and consider changing supplier to a greener one. These companies source most or all of their energy from renewable sources. Ethical Consumer has compiled a long list of Green Energy suppliers of fairly consistent environmental standards, so it is a good place to look. These suppliers are also surprisingly cheap with the cheapest green tariff being only £5 more expensive annually than the cheapest non-green tariff.
Finally, most of us will be travelling home, around the country or abroad this summer, and while sometimes there is little we can do about the fossil fuels used, we can offset the carbon emissions produced. Offsetting carbon means to donate money to a carbon offsetting charity who will use the money to fund projects such as tree planting. Carbon offsetting has caused lots of controversy over whether it can completely neutralise any emissions you create, so it is worth exploring a bit more, but Atmosfair is generally regarded as a good organisation for offsetting flights.
- Pray for Southern African nations such as Malawi where a prolonged drought is continuing to cause extreme food poverty
- Pray for wisdom and compassion within the new UK Government’s cabinet as they change legislation regarding the nation’s policy
- Pray for guidance and motivation to find ways you can change your home’s energy consumption this Summer