1. Because We Love Our Neighbors
The first and foremost reason we, as Christians, should embrace environmental issues is because we love our neighbors. Everything we do that affects the environment affects our neighbors because they have to live in it. Whether it be the asthma and early death caused by our vehicle emissions, or hormone disruptors in plastic, or PFAS in our public water systems, or mercury released from burning coal, or farmers' health issues from the pesticides that they have to work with, what we purchase and consume creates by-products that we need to recognize as potentially dangerous to our neighbors. Since love does no harm to a neighbor (Romans 13:10 NIV), shouldn't we Christians treat the environment with the utmost care? What hurts the environment most likely hurts our neighbors.
2. Creation Declares God's Glory
There are many passages in scripture that speak to His creation showing His glory.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. -Psalm 19:1
Not only that, but God called His creation good.
So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And saw that it was good. -Genesis 1:21
God uses His creation to show Job His power, might, majesty, and glory. If we destroy it, we remove the opportunity for others to see His qualities.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements - surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place? Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, "here we are"? Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you observe the calving of does? Behold, Behemoth, which I made as I made you; he eats grass like an ox. Behold, his strength in his loins, and the power in the muscles of his belly. He makes his tail stiff like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron. He is the first of the works of God; let him who made him bring near his sword! Job 38:4-5, 12, 16, 35, 40:15-19
3. The wilderness is pristine and useful for growing closer to God. Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, each encountered God in the wilderness.
So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed. - Luke 5:16
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” - 1 Kings 19:11-13
In the third month after the people of Israel left Egypt, they came to the Sinai Desert on the same day. They had left Rephidim and had come to the Sinai Desert. There Israel set up their tents in front of the mountain. And Moses went up to God. The Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Say this to the house of Jacob and tell the people of Israel: - Exodus 19:1-3
4. The Outdoors, God's Creation, Leads To Better Mental Health
"In the study, two groups of participants walked for 90 minutes, one in a grassland area scattered with oak trees and shrubs, the other along a traffic-heavy four-lane roadway. Before and after, the researchers measured heart and respiration rates, performed brain scans and had participants fill out questionnaires.
The researchers found little difference in physiological conditions, but marked changes in the brain. Neural activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, a brain region active during rumination – repetitive thought focused on negative emotions – decreased among participants who walked in nature versus those who walked in an urban environment."
A. Your Vitamin D levels will go up.
B. You'll get more exercise, especially if you are a child.
C. You'll be happier.
D. Your concentration will improve.
E. You may heal faster.
God created this earth to provide for us physically and mentally. Let's not destroy it, abuse it, or harm it unnecessarily. It will end up harming us and our neighbors. Better yet, let's clean it up and restore it so that less harm is done to others, more of His glory can be displayed, we can spend time growing closer to Him through it, and we can live healthier lives.