R20 Care for the environment

The environment belongs to God but is shared with each living person. We have joint stewardship to care for the environment. However, certain companies and countries regard the environment as theirs and seek to make short-term gains from it, rather than caring for the long-term future of our world.

Caring for the environment is often seen as a luxury for people with money, rather than as a concern for people who are poor. The poor suffer most when our environment is damaged. They have few choices and are often forced to live in areas at most risk of environmental damage – steep slopes at risk of collapse, areas likely to flood or where water or land may be polluted.

Extracting the world’s resources, such as oil, coal, minerals or timber, is often done to make maximum profit for those involved, with minimal protection against any damage done.

  • Read Psalm 104. This psalm contains some amazing images. Consider the images in verses 2, 3 and 4 and use your imaginations. How do these images help you to understand God’s greatness?
  • Verses 5 to 9 describe a little of how God created our world. Do we take enough time to marvel at God’s creation?
  • Verses 10 to 30 provide a picture of how God maintains order within his wonderful creation both on the earth and in the sea. How do we see God at work ‘renewing the face of the earth’ in our lives?
  • How can we reflect God’s care for his creation by caring for the environment around us?
  • In verse 31 we read that God rejoices in his works. Are there situations near us where people have caused damage to the natural environment? (For example, rubbish, polluted water, erosion or squalid living conditions?) How can we take action to improve these so that God will indeed rejoice?
  • Do we find it easier to praise God for his amazing creation and majesty or to bring our needs before him?
  • Can we think of examples in our society where the natural environment is not treated with respect and with good stewardship? What are the consequences? Who suffers?
  • What actions can we take to improve our immediate environment – in our homes or communities?
  • Who owns or controls land in our region that is not used for agriculture (such as forests, mountains, deserts or lakes)? What care is taken of these areas, and what protection is given to them?
  • What natural disasters occur in our country? What causes these? Are any steps being made to reduce the impact of such disasters? Are there any organisations that could help people become better prepared?

Articles 1, 29 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights