Environmental Stewardship and Conservation


 

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This beautiful earth and all things on it are the creations of God (see Genesis 1:1; Moses 2:1; John 1:10; 2 Nephi 2:14). As beneficiaries of this divine creation, we should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. The earth and all things on it are part of God’s plan for the redemption of His children and should be used responsibly to sustain the human family (see 1 Nephi 17:36; Moses 1:39; Abraham 3:24–25). However, all are stewards—not owners—over this earth and its bounty and will be accountable before God for what they do with His creations (see D&C 104:13–15). All humankind should gratefully use what God has given, avoid wasting life and resources, and use the bounty of the earth to care for the poor and the needy (see D&C 49:19-21).

To truly reverence the Creator, we must appreciate His creations. God intends His creations to be pleasing to look upon and to enliven the mind and spirit (see D&C 59:15-19). For that reason, making the earth ugly offends Him. It is important to see and appreciate the glory and grandeur of God in everything about us (see D&C 59:20–21), because the state of the human soul and the environment are interconnected—each affects the other. The earth, all living things, and the expanse of the universe all eloquently witness of Him (see Alma 30:44; D&C 88:45, 47).

Why does God care about the earth?

Accounts and portrayals of the Creation show that God cares about all He has made—His children, the earth, and all living things on it. The earth and its fulness were first created spiritually (see Moses 3:4-5), and the great variety of life forms God created give the earth its beauty and diversity. The earth and its creations are eternal (see D&C 77:1-2). The earth will be sanctified and receive celestial glory (see D&C 88:18-19). It will be the home of the righteous, who will enjoy God’s presence (see D&C 88:25-26).

What is the role of the earth in the plan of salvation?

The earth is the place where God’s children experience mortality, exercise agency, learn from their experiences, improve, and progress (see Abraham 3:24-25). Most importantly, earth is where the Savior took a mortal body, completed the incomparable gift of the Atonement, and brought about the Resurrection. The earth also teaches us. We can learn, for example, the laws, principles, and patterns by which it functions (see D&C 88:42-47). We learn respect and humility when we work with nature and not against it. It allows us to see the works of God that bear testimony of Him (see Alma 30:44).

What does it mean to be a steward of the earth and its resources?

God has made us accountable for the care and preservation of the earth and the wise use of its resources (see D&C 104:13–15). As stewards, we avoid complacency and excessive consumption, using only what is necessary (see D&C 49:19-21). We make our homes, neighborhoods, and cities beautiful. We preserve resources and protect for future generations the spiritual and temporal blessings of nature.

Wasn’t the earth created with enough resources for all?

The earth is endowed with an array of natural resources that will provide for the human family if they are used as the Lord instructed—to care for the poor and the needy and not use more than is needed (see D&C 104:14-18); to avoid waste (see D&C 49:19-21); and not to forcibly take resources from another (see D&C 59:20). The fulness of the earth is to be used with wisdom and restraint.

If the earth will be changed at the Second Coming of Jesus, why does it matter if we care for the earth and conserve?

It pleases God that He has given the earth and the good things that come of it as blessings to us (see Moses 2:31; D&C 59:20). They not only provide for our temporal needs but are given to “gladden the heart” and “enliven the soul” (D&C 59:19). They are living souls (see Moses 3:4-5, 9, 19). To be complacent with His creations offends Him (see D&C 59:18–21).

The earth and all living things on it were first spiritually created, were blessed by God as “good,” and are to fulfill the measure of creation that God has given them. In our care and preservation of the creation, we either accept or reject our accountability to God.

How does the Church practice stewardship and conservation?

The Church strives to conserve and manage energy appropriately. It has implemented a green building initiative that incorporates sustainable design and construction practices. Water conservation efforts include the use of smart controllers, hydrometers, rain sensors, drip irrigation, and secondary or reclaimed water. In 2013, the Church headquarters campus recycled about 180 tons of cardboard, 65 tons of paper, 26 tons of plastic, and 2 tons of aluminum. Farm and ranch lands are protected from overgrazing to nutrient depletion. Natural, organic resources are used.

How can I get involved in my community to care for the earth?

Check with your local utility company, local community groups, or on the Internet to find suggestions to conserve energy and to recycle. Support community recycling programs. Consider starting a community garden. Support local civic groups that promote stewardship and conservation. Be an involved citizen in government. Be informed, respect the views of others, and treat everyone with civility.

What can I do?

Learn, ponder, and pray about what you can do to be a better steward. Use the resources of the earth sparingly and reverently. Adopt lifestyles and personal habits that respect the creation. As you can, fix up and keep clean the places where you live, work, recreate, and worship. Make your own living space more beautiful and inspirational. Contemplate the ways that nature bears testimony of God and the harmony between the laws and patterns of nature and the gospel of Jesus Christ.