Scripture: Genesis 1:2-7; 2:18-24; 3:7, 7-19; Psalm 24:1; Matthew 25:34-46; Mark 2:27, 28; 3:4.
The day may have come and gone without much notice from many, but April 22 was Earth Day--a day created to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment. Taking a look at part of an Earth Day timeline, a lot of good has happened since its beginning on April 22, 1970. Here are some of the accomplishments:1
1970 – President Richard Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency, and Congress amended an act to set air quality, auto emission, and pollution standards.
1971 – Congress restricted the use of lead-based paint in residences and on cribs and toys.
1972 – Canada agreed to clean up the Great Lakes, which hold 95 % of America’s fresh water.
1973 – Congress passed the Endangered Species Act, which was designed to protect critically at risk species from extinction.
1974 – Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act, allowing the EPA to regulate the quality of public drinking water.
1983 – Congress enacted laws for the safe removal of nuclear waste, and the EPA encouraged homeowners to test for radon gas, which causes lung cancer.
1988 – Congress banned ocean dumping of sewage sludge and industrial wastes.
1990 - President George H. W. Bush signed the Pollution Prevention Act, which emphasized the importance of preventing—and not just correcting—environmental damage.
1991 – The U.S. and other countries worked to put out fires and clean-up oil spills created by Iraq, during its invasion of Kuwait.
1992 – Most world leaders came together to attend the groundbreaking United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Together they adopted a blueprint for sustainable development.
1993 – The EPA reported that secondhand smoke contaminates indoor air, posing serious health risks to non-smokers.
1995 – The EPA began viewing a pollution policy for the first time in terms of protecting children, since they have unique vulnerabilities.
1996 – President Bill Clinton signed the Food Quality Protection Act, which tightened the standards for pesticides used to grow food--with special protections to ensure that foods were safe for children to eat.
2006 – Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel became available. The EPA hailed it as “the single, most far-reaching environmental and public health achievement since lead was removed from gasoline.”
As you can see, we humans have made an attempt to preserve the earth, and keep it a safe place to live and raise our children and grandchildren in. But are we doing enough? Do we rely on the government to brainstorm and pass Acts that will make our earth a better home? Or are we as individuals and families doing all we can in our homes, neighborhoods and cities?
Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” This has been true since the beginning of time, when God gave Adam and Eve the Garden to care for. Would we even recognize the earth if we could go back in time and see how beautifully pure and clean it was created and given to humankind?
Perhaps if we would remember that our earth does belong to God, that it was given to us to care for, and that it is in this worn-out state because of sin, we would actively care for it. Don’t feel that the efforts of one family or one individual don’t matter. They do. We can each take responsibility to take care of this amazing gift Jesus created for us, until He returns and creates all things new again.