Have you looked around at the gloriousness of the earth lately? Have you noticed the sound of the wind rustling through trees, appreciated the sweet scent of wildflowers, or let your eyes linger on the perfection of each fluffy cloud in the sky?
Heavenly Father has created beautiful wonders for all of His children to enjoy, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that we have a stewardship to keep the world beautiful for ourselves—and for everyone else.
The scriptures tell us that “all things which come of the earth … are made for the benefit and the use of man” (Doctrine and Covenants 59:18) and that God has commanded humankind to “subdue [the earth], and have dominion over … every living thing” (Moses 2:28). We will all be held “accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:13). And we regularly raise our voices in a “hymn of grateful praise” “for the beauty of the earth.”1
So how do we appreciate and take care of this beautiful earth that was created for us? One way is by considering how our current choices about the planet will affect all of God’s children, not just ourselves.
After all, our forebearers’ choices have affected us, whether directly or indirectly, for better or for worse. We can ask ourselves if we are taking care of God’s creations, being generous to others, not being wasteful with resources, and being grateful for all He has given us. We can consider if we are creating a world where future generations can learn and live the gospel—and if we are preparing the earth for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
In a conference with the LDS Earth Stewardship organization,2 Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, asked: “When we waste what others desperately need, what are the ramifications to our physical hearts and our unity? This is a difficult question for people who live in what we call First World countries because it’s almost impossible not to waste things. Yet our Lord and God, as the Creator, wastes nothing; His system has no waste. When we waste what others desperately need, what does that do to the fabric that stretches between us as human beings?”3
What can we do to take care of the earth and not waste its precious resources? How can we help maintain and preserve the beauty of the earth? Here are a few ideas to spark inspiration:
Remember the Creator. It’s easy to see the beauty and power in nature, but sometimes we can forget where that beauty comes from. Don’t worship the creation instead of the Creator. The earth testifies there is a Supreme Creator (see Alma 30:44).
Live lagom. In Swedish, the word lagom means “enough” or “just the right amount.” If we use moderation in everything we consume—food, clothing, products—we can avoid wasting valuable resources. Lagom means finding a balance of not too much but also not too little.
Learn about your environment. Find out what animals and plants are native to where you live. Learn their names and facts about them (for instance, “these plants don’t need much water”; “these animals are nocturnal”). Learning about your environment changes the way you interact with it.
Live the Word of Wisdom. It’s pretty easy to see the connection between the earth and what we eat. We can help take care of God’s creations by living the Word of Wisdom—this includes eating fruits and grains, but using meat “sparingly” and with gratitude (see Doctrine and Covenants 89).
Evaluate your actions. How do your actions affect your environment? Your environment includes the nature, space, and people around you. Taking a good look at your impact on the world will help you gain the information you need to receive inspiration from Heavenly Father on what you can do to help take care of the world.
God created the earth for us and to help meet our needs, so by caring for the earth, we are also helping to take care of His children and all His creations. President Russell M. Nelson has said: “As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations. And we are to love and care for one another.”4 As we heed this counsel and do our part to help care for the earth, we will start to appreciate more and more each “hill and vale, and tree and flow’r.”5 Our efforts will be worth it for ourselves, for future generations, and for the continued beauty of the earth.