Why is caring for our environment an urgent concern and moral issue today? Caring for the environment is the first responsibility that God gave to mankind – to cultivate and care for his creation (Gen. 2:15).
How does the environment become a moral concern? It becomes a moral concern when we hear of businesses that dump their toxic wastes in watershed areas, eventually destroying this vital natural resource. It is a moral concern when great numbers of endangered species of animals and fish are slaughtered to satisfy someone’s greed for profits. It is a moral concern when mountains and forests are denuded for short-term gain, ignoring the fact that in the long run this denudation would irrevocably damage the ecosystem. It is a moral concern when industries ignore the safety measures that would minimize their toxic exhaust fumes from destroying the ozone layer. It is a moral concern when there is no discipline or proper regulation in the use of natural resources, resulting in their misuse and depletion.
Closer to home, it is a moral challenge for each of us to take care of our own piece of the environment around us. How? By not dumping our garbage in the streets outside our front wall or in the drainage canal on the other side of the street. By taking care of our barangay park. By cleaning up after our pets when we take them for walks along the streets. By keeping our yards clean and neat. By planting trees whenever we can, wherever we can, and then after planting, taking care of them. By recycling and reusing instead of just consuming and consuming.
Protecting and restoring the environment to its God-created condition is a great moral challenge for everyone. Only when each activity that we do, when each activity that our businesses/livelihood and community contributes to a healthy, sustainable environment can we truly say that we are taking our environmental responsibility seriously. Only when each one of us looks for ways to nourish, love, and care for our environment on a daily basis can we say that we are good stewards of our God-given responsibility for the environment. Only by doing all of the above can we help insure that our children and their children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy living in a vibrant, life-giving environment.