Where did the mountain go? More on Serving God & Saving the Environment

I just finished reading a review of Serve God, Save the Planet by Tim Challies and it got me thinking. Not so much about the book, but rather my personal thoughts on stewardship of the environment; particularly the effects of coal mining on the forests and wildlife of Appalachia.

The popular debate about the environment these days seems to be centered primarily on global warming. However, take a short drive to the coal fields of southeast Kentucky and you'll find a problem that is far more important to many residents there, mountain top removal.

Mountain top removal consists of hundreds of feet of a mountain top being blasted away and the resulting debris is pushed over into the valley, even if there are streams in those valleys. This exposes the coal seam so that it can be mined.

Areas that have experienced this practice have seen streams blocked, wells poisoned by dangerous chemicals used in mining, and native plant and animal life virtually eliminated. In addition, the intense blasting during the process has damaged or destroyed home after home. I know of someone whose well was emptied by an underground cavern caused by blasting and the resulting void was filled with explosive methane gas.

Until recently I was very apathetic about the entire issue. Now, however, I hope that this practice can be stopped because it looks like my hometown will soon become its next victim. I feel guilty that it takes my personal interests being threatened before I start caring (I think we humans are like that in a lot of ways).

I'm also taking greater interest in my responsibility for the overall environment. The jury is still out on global warming, but there can be no doubt that I (we) need to become more responsible in how I treat creation.

In the words of Francis Schaeffer from Pollution and the Death of Man,

"The man who believes things are there only by chance cannot give things a real intrinsic value. But for the Christian, there is an intrinsic value. The value of a thing is not in itself autonomously, but because God made it. It deserves this respect as something which was created by God, as man himself has been created by God."

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