The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian network founded in 1973

 

Letters

A theology of the environment (1973)

By B. J. Traynor, Ushaw College, Durham

Catholic Herald (23/2/73)

Never before have we witnessed so many articles in newspapers and magazines about our environment and the ecological problem facing the world today. As we face this barrage of warnings and information it is all too easy to become apathetic about the whole affair.

The reality of this ecological crisis is all too obvious: one just has to look around to see the threat to God's creation - oli-poluted beaches and rivers, atmospheric pollution from factory chimneys, chemical plants, steel plants and motor cars, and the continuous rape of our countryside by bulldozers and mechanical diggers preparing the way for motorways and by-passes.
These problems are causing headaches for conservationists and scientists, and they should also be or concern to us. At a time when great emphasis is laid on human relationships and understanding it is all too easy to forget that our whole future depends on our ability to live in harmony with nature as well as with our fellow human beings.

What about the theological implications or the environmental crisis? If we turn to the Bible it can give us an overall viewpoint for evaluating and responding to the problems in hand. Genesis I, 26-31 tells that the world around us is a treasure given to man for his own enjoyment.

It follows from this that man is responsible for this treasure and must look after it. We are the stewards of this earth, not owners. Can our polluted rivers and lakes, our ravaged countryside and unclean air be considered a tribute to our stewardship over creation?

To save our world we must act now, and if the Church is to take a lead over social action movements then she must also be in the front of the ecology movement. By the "Church" I am not referring merely to the hierarchy but to all members of the Church because we are all stewards over creation. Every member of this world has a responsibility to look after the world.

Reproduced with thanks.

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