As far I know, not a single Seventh-day Adventist college or university is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Several schools have nascent environmental initiatives – Green La Sierra and Pacific Union College’s Angwin Ecovillage – unlike in the rest of American education. But the green wave has not really affected Adventist institutional priorities in significant ways yet – despite student interest.
In July, 2008, Jan Paulsen, the General Conference President, recently devoted an entire article to the need for Adventists around the world to take our beliefs and practices of stewardship beyond just the monetary and care for God’s creation.
There is another aspect to environmental stewardship that speaks strongly to Adventist values. When we choose a simple lifestyle and exercise restraint in our wants, when we emphasize the spiritual above the material and choose relationships before “things,” we are following in the footsteps of our Lord.
I see a certain circle in this. Seventh-day Adventists have always preached a spiritual message of freedom—freedom from the power of sin, freedom from fear, freedom of conscience and religious expression. Even our work of healing, educating, and providing humanitarian care is driven by a desire to free people from poverty, ignorance, pain, and injustice. And so that same concern for freedom takes us into care for the world in which we live. Being mindful of what I drink, eat, wear, use, how I travel and spend my time—these all yield certain consequences for the environment and, in turn, for each one of God’s children and His created beings. It’s not about living a somber, colorless existence. On the contrary, pulling free from relentless consumerism, focusing more on people and less on acquisitions, building a life that is focused on Christ’s priorities, not the world’s priorities—these are choices that deliver a wonderful sense of freedom, an indescribable feeling of liberation! And these are choices that yield a quality of life that is second to none.
Let’s take this stuff seriously.
Idea: should the NAD, or for that matter, the GC, offer an biennial award for the greenest Adventist campus?