We must be stewards of the earth

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We can argue about the causes of global warming, but it is happening, and we have a responsibility as stewards to do something about it. It is not only the earth and the atmosphere that need our attention, but the lakes and oceans must be cared for, like a garden. According to Genesis 1:28, God said: "Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." We have dominion to use, but not abuse.

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There are some positive things happening to help us change our lifestyles. For example, U. S. scientists and Christian leaders around the country have joined forces to protect the environment from global warming and toxic waste. Locally, several churches have declared the month of April "Stewardship of the Earth" month, with activities and sermons on stewardship of the earth. Rev. Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Orlando, and a group of other pastors have even developed a "pastor's toolkit" that includes biblical references regarding the need for humans to protect the environment.

During the latter part of March, high school students from around Alaska descended on Juneau to lobby the legislature on this issue of vital importance to them, as they will be here long after most of us are gone. Sen. Kim Elton, D-Juneau, has introduced a bill, SB 118, that would establish a fee for disposable plastic bags distributed by retail sellers of goods or services to consumers to carry away or protect goods; and establish the Alaska litter and marine debris reduction and recycling fund.

Many people around the world are concerned with this issue. For example, the Sea Protection Institute conducted a Regional Seminar on marine litter last March 2006 in Vladivostok, including representatives from Korea, Japan and China to address the primary sources of marine litter in this region and are planning another one for 2007.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has submitted its report to the United Nations. This report draws on research by 2,500 scientists from more than 130 countries and has taken six years to complete. The report says there is at least a 90 percent probability that human activities are to blame for most of the warming and toxic waste in the past 50 years. That report will continue to be debated and global warming and dumping of toxic waste will continue.

In celebration of Earth Day, and to call attention to the need to care for our planet, there will be a spiritual walk-a-thon after a short service at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church. Everyone in the community is invited to participate. The walk-a-thon will include a walk of the Mendenhall Campground and a "communion with the earth" service on the shore of the river.

Let us take our responsibilities of Stewardship seriously, as this is the most challenging moral issue of our generation.

• David Moe is a member of Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church.

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