Stewardship of the earth should be our priority

Posted: Wednesday, March 28, 2007

When this column was scheduled, I had planned on writing about the vernal equinox and its importance to the world's religions. However timely the subject, I found it very difficult to concentrate on spring what with the white landscape dominating the view from my home office.

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With spring delayed by our winter of unusually persistent snow, my thoughts turned to stewardship. No, not the financial stewardship that too many face with less than enthusiastic anticipation, but stewardship in the larger sense: the obligation we have to take care of our environment.

With global warming now in full swing and generally accepted to be at least in part the result of our love affair with fossil fuels and other human activities, including large scale production of animal manure to satisfy our craving for meat on the table, our stewardship of our life-giving planet is in question. In fact, if we don't pay attention to improving our stewardship, we may very well find this planet's environment to be anything but life-supporting, at least for our form of life.

Stewardship of the earth we live on should be a priority of all of us who call ourselves religious. It matters not whether one's religion views the earth as God's creation or as the result of some big bang forces unleashed some millions of years ago. The consequences of global warming will be the same no matter our personal belief systems. In Alaska, we have already seen some of those consequences. We in Southeast are seeing dramatic changes in our glaciers and forests and we may soon see equally dramatic changes in the marine ecology.

As we celebrate our Spring traditions, we need to be mindful of the changes we should be making in our lives to slow the pace of climate change. Perhaps if we view those changes as a part of necessary stewardship, it will be a little easier to make the changes. In our most religious traditions, Spring is celebrated as a time of renewal, of new life and rebirth. There couldn't be a better time to take stock of how the habits of our daily lifes affect the environment and begin to take the steps we need to reduce the effect as much as possible.

• Dave Dierdorff is a member of Juneau Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

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