As people of faith, the principles of stewardship , justice, community of life, and awe inform our call to care for Creation.
Stewardship: Responsible use of God’s Creation
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it.
– Psalm 24:1
Every major religion has an ethic of Creation care. Caring for our natural environment shows respect and love for the creator as well as respect and love for our fellow creatures, both human and otherwise. The Earth and the natural resources that power our lives are gifts from God. Are we using them wisely?
In Georgia, over 70% of our electricity is generated by coal-burning & natural gas power plants. Unfortunately, both the mining and burning of coal and the extraction of natural gas has devastating impacts on Creation.
When coal is burned, it releases pollutants with harmful effects ranging from health concerns such as respiratory problems and neurological damage to environmental issues such as acid rain, smog, and climate change.
The way we power our world harms the earth as well as ourselves. We can be better stewards of our resources by producing electricity sustainably and investing in energy efficiency so we use less electricity. We have great potential for renewable sources of energy in Georgia, such as wind, solar, hydro-electricity, and energy generated from agricultural sources or landfill gas.
Justice: Working to ensure fair usage and distribution of natural resources
“…Be just, for it is closest to God-consciousness…” (Quran 5:8)
Creation care is also a matter of love and justice. We are called to love our neighbors, and to seek justice for our brothers and sisters. Climate change will continue to affect the earth for generations, and often, the communities least able to adapt will be the most affected. If we follow the commandments to seek justice for the entire earth, we are showing love for our neighbors and not harming the air and water, or overusing our resources. We can help make the world healthier and safer for ourselves, others, and generations yet to come.
Community of Life: Understanding our role in the interdependent ecosystem
” Interconnectedness is the true nature of all beings. We are not only connected to other people, but to the air through our breathing and to the universe through light. Thus, severing these interconnections means death for all beings.” – Buddhist teaching
Every major religion has an ethic of environmental stewardship that reflects on humanity’s responsibilities as a part of a larger ecosystem. Christians and Jews reflect on God’s creation of the world and recall humanity’s responsibility to care for all Creation. Muslims understand humanity’s role as stewards as an act of submission to Allah. Buddhists recognize the interrelatedness of all forms of life. Hindus revere nature as expressions of divinity. Despite the differences in faith and language, each of these religions shares a common concern for the health and welfare of the entirety of Creation.
Our calling as people of faith is to protect and sustain the creation that, in turn, supports and nurtures humankind. When we become more responsible stewards of our resources, we help our fellow human beings as well as the rest of Creation.
Awe: Recognizing the fingerprints of the divine in the created works
“The universe and every object in it has been created as an abode of the Supreme God meant for the benefit of all, implying that individual species should enjoy their role within a larger system, in relationship with other species.” – Mahabharata, Sankrit epic
The beautifully interdependent world we live in is a divine, and the world reflects the Creator’s love for all of us. Next time you’re outside, take a moment to notice the gift of this earth. Allow yourself to marvel at the beauty of the created world that we are blessed to call home. Commit to being a good steward of this earth every day in thanksgiving for the gift of Creation.
Considering these faith principles, we therefore affirm our calling as people of faith to:
Inform ourselves about where our energy comes from and take responsibility for our own actions before demanding this of others.
Reduce our dependence on fossil fuel energy by living simpler lives and promoting energy efficiency.
Consider the impact of our environmental decisions on the marginalized communities we are called to serve.
Advocate for clean energy at all levels of public policy: local, regional, national, and international.