God created our beautiful planet Earth to be our home. God loves all created things, including plants, animals, insects, fungi, bacteria and the soil which nourishes everything. The United Nations estimates that three quarters of our land and two thirds of our oceans have been severely altered by human activity. If the natural world is over-exploited it may never recover.
Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth, including variation within species. Such genetic diversity enables species to survive in adversity, such as disease, drought and climate change. Ecology is the study of living things, together with their environment and how they interrelate. All life on Earth is part of the same ecosystem. What happens to one species affects many others.
At least 130 fruit and vegetable crops depend on insects for pollination, including almonds, apples, aubergines, beans, blueberries, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cherry, cucumber, kiwifruit, pears, peppers, pumpkin, tomatoes.
Science says… A 2019 report* by the United Nations (UN) states:
• The current high extinction rate is accelerating. 680 vertebrate species (animals, birds and fish) have been driven to extinction by humans since the 16th century. We have lost about 50% of the world’s wildlife in the past 40 years.
• Around a third of the Earth’s forested area has been lost since the start of the industrial revolution. Forests are home to millions of species. Causes of wildlife decline globally based on analysis of 3,430 populations
The climate crisis, with weather systems breaking down, will cause extinction rates to rise more quickly. Even a small temperature rise causes habitats to change and species to be under stress or to die.
Other causes of extinction are over-exploitation of natural resources – fishing, farming, forests – and pollution in water, air and land. (* Global Assessment Study, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services, May 2019)
The Bible says… God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the Earth across the expanse of the heavens.” Genesis 1:20.
For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine. Psalm 50: 10-11.
Praise the Lord from the Earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars! Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds! Kings of the Earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the Earth! Psalm 148:7-12.
Solomon spoke about plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of walls. He also spoke about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. From all nations people came to listen to Solomon’s wisdom. 1 Kings 4: 33-34.
Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Luke 12:6.
For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in him, and through Him to reconcile to God all things, whether things on Earth or things in Heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1.19-20.
Making a Difference – at home and at church.
Tick any actions you will try.
Pray for Creation and those who protect it, including children and adults courageously standing up to people in power. Include Creation in Church services.
Campaign, write to MPs or supermarkets, sign petitions and join marches. Follow “green” groups on social media. Support conservation charities.
Ensure your savings, and those of your Church, are ethically invested and are not destroying wildlife.
Make your garden and churchyard wildlife-friendly:
Garden organically; use peat-free compost.
Create a pond – even a small wet area helps
Leave wild areas e.g. log piles and meadows
Allow plants to set seed for birds
Help people of all ages enjoy the health benefits of outdoor spaces. For example, take Sunday School children on a nature trail; hold an outdoor Church service; go for walks in all seasons; learn to identify local wildlife and plants.
Buy less and buy ethically: look for recycled paper and sustainably produced/recycled wood products; use less plastic and fewer household chemicals; move towards a plant-based diet. Conservation efforts can and do work: the extinction rate of birds, mammals and amphibians would have been at least 20% greater without conservation action in recent decades.
Some other Christian environmental organisations:
• A Rocha: arocha.org.uk • Operation Noah: operationnoah.org/ • John Ray Initiative: jri.org.uk/ Gardening for wildlife • RSPB: rspb.org.uk • The Wildlife Trusts: wildlifetrusts.org/actions • The Eden Project: edenproject.com