In your own words, what is “creation care” and why is it important to Christians, specifically?
Care of the natural world is a part of the job of all people. I think that’s the central concept of creation care.
How did you become involved in this movement and why? Who else do you see as a leader in this area, and who can become involved?
I grew up on a small farm with parents who were committed to caring for the world. I attended Mennonite schools. Mennonites are committed to peace and justice and have a strong ethic of simple living. These things and an abiding love of the natural world born from camping trips, gardening and time with my family outdoors, gave me a drive to protect the natural world. My college mentors especially Richard Wright and Tom Dent and my experience at AuSable Institute cemented this desire.
(This is too many questions in one question!)
Anyone can get involved!
Many denominations have some type of creation care program.
Many relief and development agencies do as well.
I especially appreciate the work of organizations like Young Evangelicals for Climate Action , AuSable Institute, Renewal, and Restoring Eden because of their emphasis on working with young people.
How have atheist or secular environmental science groups responded to this call to action?
I can speak to atheists, but in my experience, secular groups have been glad to have a Christian voice calling for caring for the environment. In the last decade in particular, many scientific and environmental groups have reached out to faith communities.
What do you think is the most important habit or lifestyle choice to cultivate for Christians who want to make a daily impact on helping the environment? What else can we do?
I don’t know what the single most effective thing is, but I think we need a mindfulness continually. It’s very similar to diet and exercise.
If you live unhealthily, you have to change your lifestyle, it isn’t just one little thing. I think we need to be “earth healthier “ I also think we will need significant new ideas. For example, having Zip cars for car sharing is a radical way to avoid having everyone own their own car. I think we need more such ideas.
What else should God & Nature readers know about Christian environmentalism in the 21st century?
I think there is support for care of the environment that comes out of a concern for the next generation. Knowing that we are making decisions today that affect the welfare not only of the poorest among us now, but of future generations, is a motivator to be more intentional in our actions. I would want readers to connect North American evangelical Christianity to Christianity all around the world. Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Anabaptists, and a range of protestant groups all care about the environment.