A New Hope
Environmental stewardship is, of course, an obvious passion of mine and it is something that occupies a great deal of my thought. There is rarely, if ever, a day that goes by where I do not ponder the problems therein. That being said, as my internship is rapidly coming to an end, this will be my final Science & Faith Friday blog post connected to St. Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
One of the most common problems I associate with environmental stewardship is the impression people have that large-scale global environmental problems are simply too big for human beings to have the ability to cause or to fix. Our very own history tells us that not only have we created such problems in the past, but we have also fixed such problems as well. The problem and solution were both born of science.
While scientific evidence for human-caused climate change has been present for over 50 years, when I was growing up climate change was not the hot environmental topic. The first environmental disaster scenario I remember hearing was about, at the time, was the ever-growing hole in the ozone layer allowing more and more harmful radiation to enter our atmosphere.
This was considered and extremely dangerous situation. In 1974, two scientists from the University of California discovered that chemicals being emitted into the atmosphere, such as chlorofluorocarbons or CFC’s, by aerosol cans, refrigeration units, etc. were interacting with and deteriorating the ozone layer. This was a highly contested discovery, largely by the chemical industry. However, in the 1980’s, the science could no longer be contested. The ozone layer was rapidly deteriorating and something had to be done.
Then in 1987, the Montreal Protocol was signed and became effective January 1, 1989. These policies stopped the use of CFC’s in both the industrial and personal arenas. Now, 30 years later, not only has the ozone layer stabilized, but the current scientific evidence indicates that it has begun to heal itself; it would seem that the infamous hole in the ozone layer, in the absence of CFC’s is on the verge of beginning to close.
The point of my telling this tale is that we human beings have in the past created global life threatening disasters that changed the very shape of creation itself and then through our God-given gift of intellect and science discovered how to fix it and resolve the problem. We have the ability to disrupt and damage creation, but we also have the ability to fix it when we do.
The first commandment God gave humanity in Genesis 1:28 was to be stewards of God’s creation. In order to properly care for something, you need to understand, at least in some capacity, how it works. Through science we study God’s creation, learn more each day about how that creation works, and how to be better answer God’s call to be stewards of this amazing creation.
Every one of us has the ability to make a difference. Human intellect is one of the greatest gifts God ever gave us. We are God’s children, and like children we stumble and fall until we learn. However, there is no reason to fear because like any parent, God is there to lovingly and graciously pick us up when we fall and teach us. We merely have to listen and learn.
So… my friends and fellow children of God, go forth and learn about this amazing world in which we live and be good stewards of this place called Earth.