Christians and the Environment

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Christian theology states that God created the earth and gave it as a gift to humans to be shared with all other living creatures. This belief is known as the “Creation-centered approach to the natural environment” (Massaro, p.163). This approach emphasizes the value of nature by recognizing humans as being an equal part of God’s creation under which all “species deserve protection” (Massaro, p.163). With such publicly known cases of pollution like the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico or Bethlehem Steel’s pollution of Lake Erie decades ago, it is evident that humans have been using the environment in accordance with the Stewardship or even the Dominion model, both of which place humans above all other creations. According to Massaro, Christian theology also explains that showing “disregard for the air that others breathe and the quality of the water they drink is to sin against God” (Massaro, p.162). This type of disregard destroys humankind’s relationship with all other living organisms.

This “relationship” previously stated is the basis for the second key theme of Catholic Social Teaching. “The Catholic social encyclicals teach that to be human is to experience not only rights but also obligations to others” (Massaro, p.84). A strong advocate for solidarity, Pope John Paul II stated “To be human is to be a social being, one whose very life is and should be bound up with those in close proximity and even distant strangers (Massaro, p.84). Solidarity exists when individuals are contributing towards a common good, which is simply a goal in life that is held above the private benefits of those individuals. Catholic Social Teaching states that when the individuals of today make sacrifices for the common good of a ...

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...far into the future as possible until it becomes a burden to the current generation and that any perceived benefits gained by those future generations cannot be measure. With that in mind, burying the nuclear waste in Yucca mountain is simply too risky given natural condition, which is why the aboveground storage and passing on to future generations method is best suited for the overall benefit of mankind and the enviroment. This can only hold true if each generation commits to not only contributing towards the safe containment of the radioactive waste, but also encourages the next generation to do the same. Actions taken today with good intentions for the future can still yield negative results in that future. But, with this method, small incremental improvements can be taken over time and not burden one generation with the welfare of all generations after it.
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