Opinions

Creation Care for a Christian University

In the issue of climate change, many wonder whether it is a Christian responsibility. Christ calls us as Christians to bring forth justice and restoration to his fallen Creation. In the case of climate change, justice is enacted by speaking up for the responsibility we owe God’s Creation.

The greatest commandment to Christians is to love. Taking care of the Earth and loving people go hand in hand. By ignoring the problems of climate change, we as Christians are not paying attention to the people who are most vulnerable. Here at Eastern, we might not be seeing the effects of climate change every day, but other areas of the world are not as fortunate. In California hundreds of thousands of acres are being destroyed due to wildfires. Over this past weekend in India, the air pollution was so dense that there could not be an accurate measurement of the city’s air quality index (AQI).  God’s children are being hurt by our infatuation with consumerism of single-use plastics.

In Jeremiah 2:7 God calls the Israelites to take care of the Earth. God spoke “I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable (Jer 2:7 NIV).” This verse shows God’s anger towards the Israelites. God was angry with the Israelites for their defilement of his land, and I imagine He is angry or deeply saddened with the state of our beautiful planet currently.

This is not the only verse mentioning our Christian responsibility to care for the Earth. Other than this verse, I could think about the story of creation, or about the Garden of Eden. Both stories show how much God cared for his creation. The Earth and humans combined. I can understand when people ignore politics, but for a Christian to ignore warning of climate change and how the Earth is suffering astounds me. Christians should be fired up and ready to cultivate and protect this great gift.

Sometimes I tell myself that there is no justice if there is no peace. We must fight for peace through learning about justice and what can be done. Justice for the Earth means becoming less selfish and finding ways to use less waste. When injustice is seen and understood it becomes difficult to ignore. Becoming a sustainable person is not easy at first, but it is an issue worth spending the time to learn about.

That is why I am calling all Christians to see the injustice that is single-use waste. Christians need to wake up and realize what their responsibility is on Earth. These responsibilities are to care for the Earth and love others. It is impossible to have one without the other.

Here at Eastern University, creation care is a topic that is rarely focused on. There are only three recycling bins available to students even though we have a fantastic recycling company ready to help us process up to 90% of recyclables that enter their facility. Eastern does very little to educate people on how to recycle or on environmentalism functions. Something else I have noticed is how all the recycling bins are lined with plastic bags. This is problematic as the bags themselves are not recyclable which frequently results in the entire bag being thrown out by housekeeping. Currently there are plans to make this campus more sustainable, but this progress is moving too slow for the speedy rate at which climate change is moving.

Climate change is not a fake drill. Climate change is a red alert. The science is here and proves how humans have polluted the Earth in such a short amount of time. Countless studies have been done to show how climate change has affected the Earth and will continue to affect us all. The IPCC report tells us that we have 11 years to turn around our ways otherwise our ecosystem will not be able to rehabilitate. My life and the lives of my fellow peers will be influenced by the scientifically proven threat of climate change on all of our futures. Eastern as a community needs to join together and educate themselves on daily life choices which  affect climate change. There are many simple changes each student can make would be to start bringing more reusable items with them. If an item cannot be reused, refuse it. Bring a reusable mug to Jammin’ Java, bring Tupperware to the DC, and bring a reusable bag when shopping. Starting with these simple steps can lead to a life of sustainability. I fully believe that we as a student body can fight for this Earth God has gifted us.

Please follow @easternuniwaste on Instagram for updates about club meetings, and future plans to help make Eastern a sustainable campus.

One Comment

  1. BettieAnn Brigham says:

    Great article Claire. One of my passions is care for our environment. I’m hoping that the things we accomplished in this regard when I worked in Student Development there, are still in effect. (I left Eastern in October 2017.) Jeanne Bundens who is still there, would know what we did in the past. If these things are not still happening, perhaps your group of interested students might work toward restarting them and expanding on them. Find a faculty champion and work to help EU be, once again, a national leader in Creation Care which is as you say, an important matter for Christians to champion, especially during this time of EPA rollbacks and reopening land and waters to exploitive practices simply for money.

    Blessings, Dr. Bettie Ann Brigham

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