Earth stewardship is a moral responsibility

The NH Council of Churches recently released a unifying statement on the Stewardship of Creation, reflecting the deep concern across multiple faith traditions regarding the critical importance of caring for our common home.

The statement reads in part that “as good stewards we are called to take actions on behalf of creation that we might honor God, preserve earth and its rich variety and bio-diversity, and find delight in this place we call home.”

As leaders of faith communities in New Hampshire, we are committed to engaging citizens from all walks of life to reflect, pray and act to make a difference in our world to develop a sustainable future.

Stewardship of the earth has become a unifying principle across a broad spectrum of faith traditions, emphasizing both our personal and collective responsibility to care for God’s creation.

This call to care for the global community takes many forms, from supporting energy-efficiency efforts within our congregations to supporting public policies that will lead to a more sustainable energy future that reduces carbon pollution and the effects of climate change.

The effects of climate change are apparent all around us, from the threat of sea level rise to the devastating decline in our moose population due to the proliferation of winter ticks to more frequent and powerful storms.

The poorest among us are particularly vulnerable to the global environmental changes, adding to the moral imperative to act.

Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment – “Laudato Si,” or “Praise Be to You” – celebrated its one-year anniversary on June 18, and continues to challenge us to grow in our understanding that there is a deep connection between the care for the human person and care for the environment. We are not apart from the world, but instead are called to respond to nature’s warnings with a message that has broad resonance on a global scale: We should act on the basis of a sacred a moral conviction to protect and care for all of creation on behalf of generations to come.

While the moral imperative to take action on climate change is rooted in scripture and values, the practical earthly impacts to our world that we see with ever-increasing frequency heightens the need to pursue public policy options consistent with these values.

Initiatives such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon emissions from power plants and increasing investments to support the development of renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind are policy choices consistent with an the moral fundamentals of an earth stewardship outlook that makes a difference.

The gathering of nearly 200 nations in Paris at the end of last year that resulted in real commitments to meet the challenge of global climate change, especially on behalf of the poorest among us, continues to be supported in prayer for continued progress.

A central tenet of our shared humanity is that we are keepers of our brothers and sisters and stewards of creation. This means working to protect all that has been entrusted to us by our creator from harm.

As leaders of faith, we continue to encourage the development of a transformative effort to inform the moral imperative of deeply caring for our common home by our actions and the choices that we make in our communities and in dialogue with each other. It is our sincere hope that the Stewardship of Creation statement adopted by the NH Council of Churches adds value to these important discussions.

Pastor Jonathan Hopkins of Concordia Lutheran Church is president of the NH Council of Churches. The Rev. Mary Westfall of Durham Community Church and The Rev. Richard Slater of the UCC New Hampshire Conference are members of the council’s board of directors. 

Categories: Opinion