Saturday, June 03, 2006

A Biblical Perspective on Environmental Stewardship

Those readers interested in the intersection of theology, economics, and the environment may be interested in reading the following detailed paper by the Acton Institute: A Biblical Perspective on Environmental Stewardship. "This essay challenges the arguments behind the anti-growth environmentalist agenda that is ubiquitous in today’s mainstream churches, and argues that a biblical stance is entirely coherent with free-market democracy oriented toward sustainable economic growth."

Further details:

"In this essay, we shall present theological and ethical foundations we believe are essential to sound environmental stewardship; briefly review the human progress erected on those foundations; and discuss some of the more important environmental concerns–some quite serious, others less so–that require attention from this Christian perspective. We shall also set forth a vision for environmental stewardship that is wiser and more biblical than that of mainstream environmentalism, one that puts faith and reason to work simultaneously for people and ecology, that attends to the demands of human well-being and the integrity of creation."

Here is an outline of the paper:

I. Theological and Ethical Foundations of Stewardship
II. The Marvels of Human Achievement
III. How Economic and Environmental Trends Relate
IV. Some Human and Environmental Concerns for Present and Future
Population Growth
Global Warming
Species Extinction
V. Environmental Market Virtues

They conclude: "On the basis of a biblical worldview and ethics, as well as of sound science, economics, and public policy principles, we believe sound environmental stewardship celebrates and promotes human life, freedom, and economic development as compatible with, even essential for, the good of the whole environment."

While the paper is lengthy (over 20,000 words), it is (in my opinion) both careful and convincing.