Environmental protection has been the goal of every society in the world. Today’s world is characterized by environmental degradation. A lot animals and plants became extinct. We see environmental degradation through print media – newspapers and magazines, through television, through the use of internet. These include the water, air, and land pollution – forest denudation through slash and burn, acid rain due to industrial pollution, oil spills killing marine and aquatic life, piled up garbage due to lack of landfills Many attempts had been done the problems on environmental protection.
Every day’s news is not complete without news regarding the destruction of our environment. As Rachel Carson says in her Book, the Silent Spring, pesticide DDT was having a great effect of destruction for men and the food chain. Chemicals do harm the environment in a significant amount. The destruction of our environment is brought about by the greediness of people. People seem not satisfied by the assimilation of resources due to them. Most of them are constantly assimilating resources even more then what is due to them. Because of the constant desire to have everything, people seem not to care for the future generations. People become egoistic and self-centered, only thinking their own well-being and not of others. As a result, the environment has been violated and disrespected. People became in distance with the environment that is ought to be man’s companion in surviving this world.
MAN’S ESSENCE: STEWARDSHIP
Webster’s New World Dictionary defines steward as “a person morally responsible for the careful use of money, time, talents, or other resources with respect to the principles or needs of a community or group.” The elements present in the definition such as money and resources in relation to the needs of the community or the world in general refer to the environment. The environment is the source of people’s needs to survive. People’s subsistence depends on the providence of the environment.
“We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children” is an old American Indian saying. This saying is telling us that the generations next in line with us have the right and already owning the environment prior to their birth. This implies that the environmental resources are not only for the generations of today but also of tomorrow. People must not be greedy enough to even get the resources due to the next generations. People must always bear in mind that they are parcels of the whole quantity that share the environment.
Given that the environment is man’s companion to survival, why does he able to destroy it big time?
It is of great reality that material possessions tempt most people. The glaring and shining entity of material things to be possessed always draw people’s attention. People seem to be attached to the material reality of their existence. Materialism rules the world and it becomes now the object of man’s actions. This is the main reason why most of them always end up destroying and over exhausting the environment and natural resources. Again, people are left to question: Is this the real essence of our existence?
To protect and care for the environment is man’s essence. It is the completeness that he may attain as created in the likeness of God.
“God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). Created in the image and likeness of God, man possesses power to rule over everything in this world. But this power to rule does not mean owning everything. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). Man is only the steward of His creation. Man is here to take care of the masterpiece of God which is the earth. Relating to environmental conservation, man must always take into account the very reason of his existence. Man’s existence emanates from God and man owes his existence to God. All people’s activities must not jeopardize God’s creation but in return, it must be an avenue to propagate it. Man is here in this world to protect and at the same time nourish it. Hence, to protect and care for the environment is man’s essence. It is the completeness that he may attain as created in the likeness of God.
To be one with nature as a matter of protecting it and to achieve God’s image in preserving the environment, man is therefore achieving his own essence in the context of stewardship.
It is of a ubiquitous reality that our environment has faced its most difficult and hardest battle nowadays. People became of less care for the environment because of their desire to gain material possessions. Possessions are what most people look at as the basis for humanity. The more they have, the more they are human as what they view it. Material possessions become the criteria for being a truly human being.
Because of people were being drawn by material possessions, they consequently do away from their own essence. They are supposed to protect the environment as being endowed by God to do so. It is man’s duty and obligation to take care of the world. It is in being one with nature that they become one with God and therefore achieving their essence in the context of stewardship.
Ending this paper is a challenge to everyone. Let us all fulfill God’s endowed task to us. Let us not be drawn by the material reality that makes us selfish and greedy. Let us protect the environment not only for us but for the future generations. Let us now fulfill the essence of our existence.