Mere Environmentalism, by Steven F. Hayward, is a small book, only 78 pages (including notes), but don’t let that fool you. It contains a simple, yet elegant outline to help Christians chart a course through the otherwise turbulent waters of the modern day environmental movement.
Steven begins at the beginning, Genesis, and shows how Christians have a cleat theological mandate for responsible stewardship of creation. Steven also takes time to show how this simple stewardship goal has been misconstrued and maligned over history by Christianity’s detractors. In particular, debunking the myth that dominion is synonymous with domination.
From here Steven provides a brief survey of the environmental landscape, including a brief overview of the various approaches to environmental issues. He describes these in chapter 3 from utopianism to practical incrementalism. The former, utopianism, being what is often heard today in popular media to the tune of “let’s just leave nature alone”. The latter being a well-reasoned and disciplined, some might even say progressive, use of the resources found in nature, including man himself (meaning men are not seen as interlopers or an environmental disease).
Steven also provides quite a few facts and arguments in the latter half of the book which provide a good foundation for thinking that things aren’t as bad as many claim and that the proposed solutions today may, in fact, be worse than the supposed illnesses we face as a society.
Steven ends the book with a sobering call for Christians from various angles to approach the issue with humility and grace. Humility in acknowledging what we do and do not know and grace for those with whom we disagree.
I hope to use the content in this book to make future discussions with both believers and non-believers more profitable on the subject of how we should interact with the environment.
And now for a couple of videos with Steven:
An Inconvenient Truth… or Convenient Fiction? (Part 1 of 3)
The Environment with Steven Hayward