It started out as an environmental celebration in the spring of 1970. Fueled by outrage over a huge oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, Earth Day has become a worldwide phenomenon. Each year April 22 provides an opportunity for people to rededicate themselves to learning about and caring for the earth.
It’s good to clean up what has become polluted, recycle what can be used again, avoid waste, and live modestly. It’s good to find ways to harness the energy of wind, water, and sun so that our fossil fuels will last longer.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). These wise words help Christians to steer between two extremes when it comes to environmental stewardship. Psalm 24 reminds us of Genesis chapters 1 and 2, where the Creator entrusts Adam and Eve with care of the earth. We are accountable to God for how we treat his world. He commissioned us to rule it, not rape it. Who more than Christians should care about clean air and water and have respect for animal habitats?
It’s possible, however, to love the Earth too much. Some Greens and public television science shows are not bashful about identifying cause and effect as “Mother Nature.” Paganism is making a comeback.
The world is not your Mother; it’s your Father’s.