Acton Institute Powerblog

Remember the trees

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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.”

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Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.