Passage of Green: Finding natural ways to ‘subdue’ the earth this spring

By Burnie Cook

We’re in the midst of Eastertide as well as springtime –– winter is clearly gone and the warmer weather is here. We see plenty of wildflowers along the roadways and our lawns are green and growing once again. Many of us are spending hours each week taking care of our gardens, flower beds and yards. By doing so, we are taking part in God’s original plan for mankind.
“God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth,” says Genesis 1:28.
How do we “subdue” the earth? This is most responsibly done with good natural stewardship. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the common stewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits. The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race” (2402). 
To look at the rest of the verse from Genesis, to “have dominion” means to have power. With power comes great responsibility, though. Again, as the Catechism says, “To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of ‘subduing’ the earth and having dominion over it. God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the order of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbors. Though often unconscious collaborators with God’s will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their action, their prayers, and their sufferings. They then fully become ‘God’s fellow workers’ and co-workers for his kingdom.”
On Earth Day 2013, Pope Francis also encouraged us to be good stewards of the gifts our earth provides. “Take good care of creation. St. Francis wanted that. People occasionally forgive, but nature never does. If we don’t take care of the environment, there’s no way of getting around it,” he said.
I hope everyone will follow the advice of our pope and take the time to learn how we can preserve our earthly resources and take care of the earth as God intended. Some of the products on the market are better for our environment than others. Lowe’s or Home Depot are two of the more common companies where we will find many products for our lawns and gardens. Yes, there are many others, but for convenience, I bring these two companies to the forefront.
Lowe’s has partnerships with The Nature Conservancy and Keep America Beautiful. According to the Lowe’s website, “Lowe’s recognizes how our company’s activities impact the Earth’s ability to provide natural resources to future generations. For that reason, we continually examine opportunities to reduce our environmental impact while providing products and services to help consumers reduce their footprint. Each of our more than 245,000 employees is a vital part of that mission. Our employees’ success educating consumers by promoting energy and water conservation has brought Lowe’s unprecedented recognition from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” So, if we have questions about products, we need to ask for help and do our research. 
Home Depot offers where consumers can learn more about “living green” and conserving our natural and renewable resources. “Whatever your home improvement project, we’ve got the organic solutions that can help make your home healthier and air cleaner; and products that can help you conserve water, be more energy efficient and save money,” the website says. So I encourage the use of this tool to find ways to be good stewards of our earthly treasures.
As we plant and grow things this spring, let us do so in thankfulness for the beauty and productivity of God’s green earth. Let us make wise, prudent and responsible decisions as we “subdue” the lands God has given us.

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