The relationship between Christianity and the environment is controversial. Some criticize Christianity for Biblical verses that seem to imply humans have dominion over nature and the right to use nature and non-human animals for their own benefit (White, 1967). Others, however, argue that Christianity, when properly understood, compels human beings toward respectful stewardship of God’s creation. According to Ian Bradley, “Christianity is arguably the most concerned of all the world’s great faiths about the fate of the non-human as well as the human part of creation” (1990, p. 11).
There is a movement among some Christians to reject notions of the rightful domination of the Earth by human beings. This movement is sometimes referred to as eco-theology, and it seeks to place the proper treatment of Creation as central. “Ecotheology seeks to uncover the theological basis for a proper relationship between God, humanity and the cosmos … Many approaches to eco-theology are those that seek to recover our sense of place on the earth, a reminder that the earth is our common home, that the story of the earth and that of humans are one” (Deane-Drummond, 2008). This movement remains nascent within global Christianity and has not yet become mainstream. Many Christians maintain traditional beliefs, and it has often been conservative Christians that have argued it is God’s responsibility to protect nature and that humans do not have the power to negatively impact God’s creation (Patterson, 2014).
Human interaction with the environment remains a controversial subject among Christians, with some claiming that its protection is among humankind’s greatest duties and others continuing to view the environment and non-human animals as God’s gift to humans to use for their own benefit.