From the Church

How can you be a good steward of the earth? Latter-day Saint biologist shares his thoughts

Hiker in the mist at dawn at Bachalpsee lake, Switzerland
Grindelwald, Bernese Oberland, Bern Canton, Switzerland.
Getty Images

The following article appeared in the Digital Only section of the March 2021 Liahona magazine.

My fondest childhood memories are of my family piling into our big gold van and fleeing the flat deserts of Texas toward the mountains and rivers of the West. As we climbed in elevation, my father, a geologist, would point out the window at rock formations and explain how the layers were deposited just so and how the rocks contained a record of past processes that quietly shaped the landscapes in front of my eyes. My mother would take pictures of wildflowers, collect pine cones, and revel in the turning of the seasons.

Their love for nature was contagious, and I fell in love with the world of living things too.

Years later, while serving my mission among the mountains and forests of Alaska, I developed an even deeper respect for the connections between God’s human and nonhuman creations and decided to devote my life to the conservation and study of nature.

Throughout my studies, I’ve been encouraged by principles of earth stewardship taught by prophets, apostles, and other Church leaders. For example:

  • At the beginning of this dispensation, the Lord told Joseph Smith that He wanted the Saints to be “accountable, as [stewards] over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures” (Doctrine and Covenants 104:13).
  • President Russell M. Nelson has taught: “As beneficiaries of the divine Creation, what shall we do? We should care for the earth, be wise stewards over it, and preserve it for future generations.”
  • In 2019, Sister Sharon Eubank, First Counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency and president of Latter-day Saint Charities, discussed the connection between God’s children and the earth by stating: “Some people will say, ‘Isn’t there something more important to do? Shouldn’t we be caring for the poor versus caring for the earth?’ And my question is, are they not linked so inextricably that we can’t do one without caring for the other?”
  • And finally, President M. Russell Ballard, Acting President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, spoke these words directly to our generation in March 2020: “I see … your commitment to a more sustainable future for all of God’s children and creatures and the earth. Whether it is environmental, economic, or social, I would hope you will continue to find creative solutions to help protect the future for all of God’s children in our world. We should do whatever we can to protect and preserve the earth, to make life better for those who will live here. We have a divine stewardship, as noted in Doctrine and Covenants 59:16–20.”

These teachings and many others highlight our responsibility to care for God’s creations, both today and for future generations. So how can we as young adult Latter-day Saints respond to these prophetic teachings more fully today?

Read the full list of recommendations in the Liahona magazine.

Stay in the loop!
Enter your email to receive updates on our LDS Living content