"If you love the creator, take care of His creation," environmental evangelist Peter Illyn advised Samford University students Thursday, April 22.
"God is a good God. He made a good earth, and calls us to be good stewards," said Illyn, speaking as part of Earth Day activities at the school.
Illyn is executive director of Restoring Eden, a Washington state-based organization which promotes Christian stewardship of the environment.
"My goal is to convince Christians that caring for the environment is part of our faith," said Illyn. "God's relationship to the earth is ownership. Man's relationship is stewardship."
Illyn's remarks came during a day devoted to emphasis on environmental stewardship. Exhibits sponsored by student and community groups dotted Ben Brown Plaza. Informational displays included a Classics department exhibit which touted the healthful benefits of the diet of the ancient Greeks and Romans, who largely avoided refined sugars and processed foods and preservatives.
The art department supplied clay with which students could fashion their interpretation of "restoring Eden." Apples, trees of life, and at least one model of a serpent were offered as finished handiwork.
During a pre-Earth Day lecture on Wednesday, April 21, Jerry de Bin, chief of information and education, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, challenged students to seek opportunities to become connected to the land.
"Alabama has one of the most diverse ecosystems in the U.S." he noted, citing climate and fertile soil as contributing factors to the distinction.
"No matter what your major or your job, there is a direct connection with natural resources," he told the audience of mostly science majors, urging them to make wise decisions regarding the resources. A property developer, for instance, may be faced with turning a plot of wetlands into land suitable for building one more house, or leaving it a natural habitat for all residents to enjoy.
"There is an end to resources," he said. "For every action of man, there is a consequence, good or bad."
De Bin's lecture was sponsored by Samford's Vulcan Materials Center for Environmental Stewardship and Education.