Stewards of Nature

What the Bible Teaches Us about Man's Relationship with the Environment

"Environmental issues require more serious thought than they often receive in the media or in the hands of activists. Being more thoughtful through the perspective of faith is an important action step in our age--maybe the most important action of all."

--Steven F. Hayward

FOR RELEASE: November 2010

"What Would Jesus Drive?" This bumper-sticker slogan has come to symbolize the rising interest in environmental issues among evangelical Christians. Driven by concerns over global warming and the potential degradation of God's creation, Christian leaders are starting to speak out on a subject previously considered wholly secular.

In Mere Environmentalism: A Biblical Perspective on Humans and the Natural World (AEI Press, 2011), AEI scholar Steven F. Hayward offers an insightful reflection on the relationship between humanity and the natural environment. He carefully explores important similarities and differences in how faithful Christians and conventional environmentalists think about key issues.

Christian environmentalism should resist both the utopianism and the hostility toward the human species that often characterize conventional environmental points of view, Hayward argues. He interprets the biblical account of creation and the pivotal story of Noah's Ark for the principles they teach about humankind's responsibility for the stewardship of nature. Noting that God explicitly places humans at the apex of creation, Hayward's account both affirms the central focus of environmentalism--that humans have a moral obligation to care for nature and that human indifference or carelessness about nature is an aspect of humanity's sinfulness--but also departs from the view that humanity is a harmful plague on the planet.

Mere Environmentalism also incorporates the insights of modern resource economics, showing that economic approaches to environmental problems are compatible with biblical teachings about property. Using a bold and provocative interpretation of the Genesis story of Joseph's regency in Pharaoh's Egypt, Hayward offers a critique of centralized control and management of natural resources, and offers key lessons about the resiliency of nature, the importance of local action, the necessity of understanding tradeoffs between competing goods, and the necessity of developing technical expertise to solve specific practical problems.

"As in other modern fields of endeavor that depend on specialized knowledge," Hayward concludes, "students with a scientific interest should take up earth sciences, engineering, and related disciplines. Many current environmental problems have found their remedies chiefly from technology that scientists and engineers have discovered. In the humanities, there is an equal need for lawyers, economists, historians, and other intellectual pursuits that bear on institutional structure and reform. What will unite many specialized pursuits in this century will be the entrepreneur (in fact, the term 'enviropreneur' is coming into fashion) who finds ways to bring new green technology to the mass marketplace."

Steven F. Hayward is F. K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is the coauthor of the annual Index of Leading Environmental Indicators and host of An Inconvenient Truth…or Convenient Fiction?, a rebuttal to Al Gore's documentary.

INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

Steven F. Hayward can be contacted at [email protected] (202.862.5882). His assistant, Hiwa Alaghebandian, can be reached at [email protected] (202.862.5820). For additional media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected] (202.862.4871) or Hampton Foushee at [email protected] (202.862.5806).

Media inquiries: Véronique Rodman

202.862.4870 ([email protected])

Orders: 800.462.6420 or www.aei.org/books

Read this press release as an Adobe Acrobat PDF.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Steven F.
Hayward
  • Steven F. Hayward was previously the F.K. Weyerhaeuser Fellow at AEI. He is the author of the Almanac of Environmental Trends, and the author of many books on environmental topics. He has written biographies of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and of Winston Churchill, and the upcoming book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents. He contributed to AEI's Energy and Environment Outlook series. 

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 20
    MON
  • 21
    TUE
  • 22
    WED
  • 23
    THU
  • 24
    FRI
Monday, October 20, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Warfare beneath the waves: The undersea domain in Asia

We welcome you to join us for a panel discussion of the undersea military competition occurring in Asia and what it means for the United States and its allies.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 | 8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters

AEI’s Election Watch is back! Please join us for two sessions of the longest-running election program in Washington, DC. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
What now for the Common Core?

We welcome you to join us at AEI for a discussion of what’s next for the Common Core.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, October 23, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Brazil’s presidential election: Real challenges, real choices

Please join AEI for a discussion examining each candidate’s platform and prospects for victory and the impact that a possible shift toward free-market policies in Brazil might have on South America as a whole.

Event Registration is Closed
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.