The ELCA developed a Social Statement: “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope, and Justice” in 1993 to develop a framework for discernment and discussion on issues related to the environment, conservation, and the natural world. You can read the entire statement on the ELCA Webpage.
The social statement makes two primary assertions: (1) God created a perfect world – including the natural world – but sin corrupts that perfection. (2) God has given us the gift of creation to use for our needs. God also gives us the responsibility to care for, safeguard, and respect the natural world as God’s loving creation.
We are called to action on an individual, local, national, and global scale to reduce the negative impact human beings have on creation. Human beings impact the natural world negatively in two ways: (1) Overuse or misuse of the natural environment and natural resources and (2) Unsustainable population growth. As Christians, we are called to live in ways that promote and protect our natural world. Some possible ways that we can do this are:
- Finding ways to reduce our own contributions to waste and landfills by using sustainable, reusable, or recycled products.
- Reducing our “carbon footprint” by lowering our use of fossil fuels on an individual level (ex: fuel-efficient cars) and collective level (ex: clean/cleaner energy).
- Using and advocating for sustainable agriculture and forestry practices at home and abroad while supporting economic alternatives for those who over-tax the environment to escape poverty.
- Advocating for policies that protect the environment and encourage conservation efforts while using our wealth and resources to support companies dedicated to good environmental practices.
As with so many things in our world, we are not able to “fix” these problems on our own. This is an area that calls for partnership and collaboration with all people of the world. We are also called to pray that God works through leaders, policymakers, scientists, and others to protect the natural world. If you would like to talk about any of our social statements, contact our pastor.