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Looking down the verdant Whanganui River in New Zealand



Human understanding and control of natural processes empower people not only to improve the human condition but also to do great harm to each other, to the earth, and to other creatures. As concerns about the environment have grown in recent decades, the moral necessity of ecological stewardship has become increasingly clear. It is critically important to remember that while passion may energize environmental activism, it is reason -- including sound theology and sound science -- that must guide the decision-making process.

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Environmental Stewardship is an approach to the earth and its resources that attends both to the demands of human freedom and flourishing and to the Biblical call for human beings to exercise caring "dominion" over creation. Environmental stewardship affirms that freedom, human flourishing, and the integrity of creation are principles that are not only compatible but also dynamically related.

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Free Market Environmentalism

A strong understanding of economic principles and their impact on the market structure are fundamental to a proper Environmental Stewardship. A majority of market systems use a 'cost-benefit' calculation to evaluate a good's sum cost. Within this 'cost-benefit' structure under the environmental framework, several differences of opinion emerge. These differences form various segments of public policy and public life. They have direct impact on market forces and they can encourage or discourage a strong environmental stewardship.

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Christian Environmentalism

Our common Judeo-Christian heritage teaches that God, the Creator of all things, rules over all and deserves our worship and adoration. The earth, and with it all the cosmos, reveals its Creator's wisdom and is sustained and governed by His power and lovingkindness. Therefore, sound environmental stewardship must attend both to the demands of human well being and to a divine call for human beings to exercise caring dominion over the earth.

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Laudato Si

Read commentaries and analyses from Acton scholars on Laudato Si, Pope Francis' papal encyclical on the environment.

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