God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
I find it so interesting that God has given us the responsibility of "subduing" the earth. In common English dictionaries when referring to land, "subdue" actually means to cultivate, rather than conquer or destroy. What a joy to be stewards of cultivating the earth that declares the glory of God! I guess I have always thought about the responsibility of being a steward of God's creation, but not about the impact that cultivating it can have on others coming to know God more fully. Romans 1:20 says that "since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." So, I ask myself and those reading this -- As stewards of God's created world, ones that have been commanded to cultivate it, how are we doing? Are any of our actions, ultimately providing additional clarity to others' vision of God's eternal power and divine nature or are we just making that picture fuzzy?
I'm an advocate for doing little things throughout your life that can add up to big things. Just as working out 24 hours straight will not have nearly the impact that exercising an hour a day for 24 days would have, so one huge "earth project" will not have the same impact as several of us making wise decisions in our daily lifestyles about the stewardship of our resources.
If you think you're doing well with all of this, test yourself with one of the many ecological footprint calculators out there. These calculators aren't an exact science, but they attempt to measure an individual's demands on nature. I've done a couple and all of them have pretty consistently said how many earths we would need if every one lived a lifestyle like mine (I like this one! Check it out.) These website usually also have suggestions for how you can reduce your footprint, by just making small changes.
So...what are some changes we can make personally? Though somewhat overused, the old adage of reduce, reuse, and recycle is actually a good one! :) Reduce the amount of electricity, water and gas used in your household (move your thermostat up or down a couple degrees depending on the season, wash clothes with cold water, etc.). Increase your alternatively energy options. Reuse items you already own by altering or customizing them (rather than buying something brand new, when you get tired of your same olds), shop at local businesses, eat foods grown within a couple hundred miles of your home, reuse non-disposable shopping bags, plant plants!!!, recycle your paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum. The awesome thing is, these choices are actually economical. You don't have to be a millionaire to make a difference, and you don't have to be Al Gore to change the world. :)