An ecological grain of sand

When it comes to the environment and climate change, it’s easy to mentally block out the topic entirely and decide that there’s nothing we can do about it—or foist the responsibility on someone else, relieving ourselves of the obligation. But God gave us the responsibility to take care of His creation, not just out of duty, but out of love for Him and His creatures. “The Lord God took the man, and put him in the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.”1 That’s the main factor that has motivated me to be more ecologically mindful.

Looking at our world and the damage the environment has sustained can lead to feelings of sadness, discouragement, and even fear. It’s also human nature to say: “Send my brother” or “Let the government or big corporations do it. They have the means and the money. It’s their responsibility.”

But there are many ways to make a difference. Consider Olivia Bouler. When she was 11, she started drawing birds and auctioning some of her drawings to help recovery efforts after an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Positive action is potent, and contagious. Neighbors can band together to clean a park, kids can organize a cleaning crew to pick up trash from a beach. All of us can join tree-planting groups. Even small actions like turning off lights, not letting the faucet run, or taking shorter showers can make a difference and a better world for us and our children and future generations.

Actions speak louder than words, and change begins at home. Environmental sermons can make people uncomfortable and defensive, but environmental-friendly action can encourage others to make positive changes of their own. In Chile, like in many other countries, there are no colored bins for each kind of trash. But that doesn’t stop Hans, my German neighbor, from collecting all the cans and bottles from the nearby houses and taking them to a recycling plant himself.

And let’s not forget that taking care of the environment is also being kind to the people around us. An encouraging word to the man that tends to the municipal green areas and flowerbeds, a hearty thank-you to the lady that has to graciously handle the difficult personalities in a public hospital line, a kind greeting to the man cleaning the public bathroom of a mall.

Let’s be the change we want to see.

  1. Genesis 2:15.