Acton Institute Powerblog

Remember the trees

In this week’s Acton Commentary I argue that pathos and politics isn’t enough to address the contemporary challenges of environmental stewardship in general and climate change in particular. I point to the necessity to recognize the gifts and responsibilities that God has given to humanity. This includes natural resources like trees and human endowments like ingenuity and creativity.

And in case you think remembering the trees is too basic of an idea, I will say that I once attended an expert talk on climate change that gave “biomass” only a passing reference, and didn’t (as I recall) say anything trees in particular at all. When asked about carbon sequestration, the speaker only mentioned the shells of sea crustaceans and the possibility of pumping carbon back into the ground wells where petroleum was drilled from.

So…remember the trees and the place of forestry in the broader understanding of human stewardship. Or as I also put it, “We do not need to hug trees to properly care for them.”

Jordan J. Ballor

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is director of research at the Center for Religion, Culture & Democracy, an initiative of the First Liberty Institute. He has previously held research positions at the Acton Institute and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and has authored multiple books, including a forthcoming introduction to the public theology of Abraham Kuyper. Working with Lexham Press, he served as a general editor for the 12 volume Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology series, and his research can be found in publications including Journal of Markets & Morality, Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Faith & Economics, and Calvin Theological Journal. He is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary and the Henry Institute for the Study of Christianity & Politics at Calvin University.