I’d not heard the phrase ‘creation care’ until just a few months ago. While useful as a theological term, I was struck more by how beautifully it put language to an important attitude every follower of Jesus should have.

It’s clear right from the second chapter of the Bible that God cares deeply about the earth He created and humanity’s duty of care for it: The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) From the beginning, God generously gave us dominion over the animals and planted seeds so that we would have food to eat. He set man and woman in the centre of His creation with the mission to be stewards of it.

God loves the earth and so should we. What a privilege it is that we are invited to do the work of caring for creation alongside Him.

Most people now understand why we should take care of the planet; we have a responsibility to maintain it and prevent irreversible damage for the generations after us. But being an advocate for the climate is also a unique way to share our faith.

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We, as Christians, can present another perspective on the need to care for the planet, one that focuses on the creator Himself. Out of love for the One who carefully carved every mountain top and paints every sky, we are taking care of and preserving what He created. We can extend an invitation into a personal relationship with the God who created all things and will redeem all creation on the day of salvation. God gives hope to the hopeless and we can share that hope with those who feel disheartened by the way we’ve treated our world.

That’s a big responsibility, but it can be carried out in simple ways and through small conversations.

As a university student, I have moved about frequently and this past year I have begun to focus on minimising the number of things I own and use. This has involved:

  • creating a smaller wardrobe with each piece getting more frequent use;
  • bringing reusable grocery bags to the store in order to not collect plastic bags;
  • lessening my food waste by intentional meal planning and preparing;
  • and other seemingly small changes that can have a long-term positive impact.

Living this way, especially in our consumerist, material-driven world, is not only counter-cultural, but also initiates a lot of conversations about why I live in a way that uses less. I explain that minimising the amount I use and maximising each item’s use is a way of honouring God. I am honouring Him because I am choosing to live in a more sustainable way that lessens the waste that harms His creation, and those impacted by climate change.

We can extend an invitation into a personal relationship with the God who created all things and will redeem all creation on the day of salvation.

God tells us that loving those around us is the second greatest commandment and in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul says that love is not self-seeking. There’s no denying that Jesus has called us to love others sacrificially. One of the best ways we can do this is by taking care of our planet and, subsequently, taking care of our neighbours and those who will inhabit our planet in generations to come. By loving others at this small cost to our comfort, we can point to Christ who paid the ultimate sacrifice to love us and know us. We can tell people of the hope we have in a new creation, and an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade (1 Peter 1:4). We can speak of Jesus, who promises the renewal and restoration of all things (Revelation 21:5), and who invites us to partner with Him in that work.

The Lord created this beautiful planet with His own hands and we have a duty to take care of it. That is a substantial, daunting task, however, we can start with small, simple changes in our personal lives. Carrying around a reusable water bottle or using up leftovers for lunch rather than binning them are lifestyle choices that will serve to care for God’s creation, and love those around us. As you change your habits out of love for the Lord, people may well ask you why. Be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have in the face of climate change.