I’m a Young Adult Who Cares About Creation
New research shows that 92% of young Canadian Christians believe caring for creation is an essential act of discipleship – here’s my perspective.
By Marnie Klassen, A Rocha Manitoba Communications and Administrative Assistant
March 31, 2023
I love hiking. Growing up in Northern BC, my family celebrated Canada Day by driving an hour and half into the mountains to go for a hike near Tumbler Ridge. Getting outside and enjoying the places we loved was our way of celebrating the land we were so privileged to live on and enjoy.
A few months ago, just an hour north of where I used to hike on those glorious July firsts, there were two earthquakes caused by fracking. When we injure the earth, the earth cries back to us.
I’m a young adult, and I care about creation and the climate. In a few short weeks, A Rocha Canada and Tearfund Canada will release the results of a survey conducted this past fall – the research says that “92% of young Christians surveyed believe that caring for creation is an essential act of discipleship and the Church’s mission.”
These numbers feel deeply hopeful. I want to see the earth heal; I want to see things made whole and new again. But I have peers who didn’t grow up with those teachings at church or at home, and so integrating their faith with their love for the earth has been more of a learning and growing process. Both of these streams are okay; neither is better than the other, and both can lead us to loving God’s creation wholly.
I wanted to tell you today a little bit about why I care for the earth. Partly it’s those younger days in the Peace River Valley where I grew up, collecting rocks, kicking around in the shallows of the river, hiking, and canoeing. My love for that place only grew when it was imperiled. The threat of the Site C Dam, an unnecessary hydroelectric project that is destroying the landscape I hold most dear, taught me to act on behalf of creation. Throughout high school, I stood up for what I believed to be right; I attended protests, I wrote letters, I went door to door with petitions, trying to protect the river that held so much of me. It’s years now since I’ve visited, stuck my toes in the cold water of the Peace, but my love for that place and for the whole of creation has continued to grow.
My faith also motivates me to care for the earth.
A lot of what I believe has changed over the years. One thing that has remained is my belief in the New Creation. When the bible talks about Christ making all things new, I believe that to include creation – God is working in us and with us towards a new creation, towards the redemption and resurrection of all things. This is what keeps me hopeful and motivated – that I have the opportunity to work alongside Christ on God’s mission to reconcile all things to God’s self – how wonderful! The work of creation care is just this – work alongside God for the redemption of all things.
Christian theologian Jürgen Moltmann says this: “Whether this world will come to an end, and whatever that end may be, the Christian hope says: God’s future has already begun. With Christ’s resurrection from the catastrophe of Golgotha the new beginning has already been made, a beginning which will never again pass away.”
In a day and age when it feels as though the world is ending, it is incredibly comforting and hopeful to hold onto a message like this, that God’s work has already begun and is ongoing.
When I moved to Winnipeg six years ago, it was so important to me to find a church that cares about creation. I landed at my church partly for that reason; it is a congregation that puts that care into action. We are actively greening our building, as well as standing up for environmental justice in several ways. It’s so encouraging and exciting to be part of a congregation that cares so deeply about the planet!
I’m hoping that you, dear reader, will support the young adults in your life in a few ways (whether or not you’re a young adult yourself!) First, ask them about how faith and the earth come together for them. It might sound a little different than my reflections here! And second, encourage your church to take action on the environment! This matters deeply to so many young adults.
As we celebrate Easter, may we come together, with Christ, to love this beautiful earth into new beginnings.