Heritage Foundation Religion and a Free Society fellow Ryan Messmore comments on Earth Day at crosswalk.com:

The concept of stewardship involves taking care of something that belongs to somebody else. For Christians, stewardship of the environment recognizes that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof” (Psalm 24:1). … Practices that actually generate worse suffering among people cannot be justified as good stewardship. Yet too often this is what happens in the name of environmental protection.

The poor and vulnerable will also be disproportionately affected by costly cap-and-trade policies that regulate carbon emissions in the name of fighting global warming. The change in global temperature such policies are expected to bring about is miniscule—less than half a degree Celsius; the cost in terms of energy bills and lost jobs, however, is great. Because low- and fixed-income families spend a greater portion of their disposable income on fuel, policies that raise energy prices will hit them the hardest.

Such examples show that we need to be good stewards of our good intentions, making sure that we do not actually do more harm than good to the earth and its inhabitants. Being good stewards—and students—of the environment means taking the time to explore how real people are affected by the choices we make. It means understanding what has actually led to cleaner air and water. It means acknowledging the benefits of responsible human productivity. It means affirming the ways in which economic development has led to cleaner technologies and increased standards of living for the poor.