I never seem to remember that April 22 is Earth Day – but this year is an exception. Not that I am going to be celebrating, at least not like I would for a birthday or Christmas.
Children have predictable questions each May when Mother’s Day is celebrated, and again in June when we observe Father’s Day: “When is children’s day?” Every parent responds the same way: “Every day is children’s day.”
In the same way, we shouldn’t need a special day to remember our obligations to be good stewards of the planet. It’s the only one we’ve got, so we need to keep it in good shape. Not to forget that there is also a divine command to care for God’s creation. Some people may have forgotten it, but it is clear in Scripture that creation care is one of the foundations of the Christian faith.
Earth Day though seems to carry with it other undertones. It seems to have become something of a religious holiday for those who worship the creation as opposed to the Creator. It becomes part of a substitute for true religion.
We live in an age where the environment is an important news story, one that has unfortunately become politicized. Last week I was half listening to the news and heard mention of how belief in climate change is a big issue for Trump administration appointees. Or rather their non-belief. I gather they are also being questioned about their views on abortion or sexuality. I’m not sure how relevant that is to most government jobs, but I understand the political climate that drives the questioning.
I’m old enough to remember when climate change scientists were concerned about another possible ice age, not global warming. And I’m not that old. As a result, I have a healthy skepticism as to the accuracy of some scientists and the validity of some theories.
However, I don’t deny that climate change happens, though I don’t know the cause. Neither does any scientist willing to be honest. I think it unlikely, given historical weather patterns, that all climate change is man-made. That smack to me of a certain amount of hubris. I suppose it is possible – but it is also possible all climate change is due to sunspot activity.
What I do know for sure is that we are called to be good stewards of God’s creation. Given that this is Earth Day, let us make more of a conscious decision to fulfill that calling. At all times though, let us celebrate the planet we live on, without worshipping it.