Well, I've been doing a bit of thinking about environmentalism and related issues and I've been getting a few mixed views. On one hand, evironmentalists are nuts and I never want to be caught agreeing with them. On the other hand, I'm an outdoorsman and I really love the natural beauty of our planet. I've trekked all across the Ozark National Forest, and if it were to disappear, I would only be slightly less sorrowful than if I had lost a friend. Then, there's all these different mentalities I hear. On one hand, I see lots of people on one side saying that this is our planet and we'll do as we please with the resources. We have to strip mine for our metals and coal. We have to clear cut forests for lumber. Whatever we have to do to get more resources is fine. On the other side, I hear that man is a scourge on the planet, a disease to be eliminated. Only through the near destruction of the human race (remember jackass's speech at his awards ceremony?) can save the planet. We can't mine a single vein, cut down a single tree, or even kill a single animal for food, fur, or defense. I can't agree with either side. Our environment is one of our most precious gifts and needs protection, but, on the other hand, the environment is also a bounty of the things we need to make our way of life possible, like lumber, coal, metals, water, and food. So, I searched for some middle ground. I can't remain neutral on the issue, it's to important, but it's so hard to wade through the nuts to find a reasonable view that I nearly gave up, so I did what I always do when I'm confused and don't know what to do. I prayed. Soon afterward, I stumbled onto a Breakpoint column by Chuck Coleson. Some of you fogeys may remember him as one of Nixon's croneys who went to jail for a long time. Well, Chuck got saved in jail and now runs a prison ministry and a daily, 5 minute radio spot (Breakpoint) that is transcribed and published as a column. While Coleson was spotlighting the enviro-whackos and their anti-human rhetoric, the view he gave of man's role was excellent and Godly. Man is not a plague and a harm to this planet that is to be removed to return this planet to its natural state, nor is this planet a plaything for man to simply do with as he wants. Man is the steward of this planet. This planet was a gift to us from God, but God is still the ultimate owner. As stewards, we may use this land to provide for ourselves a great life. The resources we need are provided, with a little work. We have air, water, food, shelter...everything we need is ultimately provided by the planet that God has entrusted to us. However, we are expected to take care of it. Abusing God's gift to us will draw his ire, and as the only creatures on this planet capable of truly observing our impact on our environment, we have the added responsibility of limiting that impact. Cutting trees is OK. Cutting forests is not. Tunnel mining to get at the coal is OK. Destroying the mountain is not. Drilling for oil is OK. Clearing entire sections of land and neglecting to protect against spills is not. I liken it as to parents leaving their kids in the house for the weekend. The kids are free to use the stuff in the house as they wish to suit their needs. They can even have a few friends over. However, they aren't allowed to trash the house and need to clean up their own messes. One day, God's going to come home in a very real way, and I don't want him to see that a wild party has trashed his planet beyond repair or that some of the kids have been harming or killing the others in order to keep the house clean.