Catholics and the Environment
Catholics believe that God expects humankind to exercise stewardship over the earth. As God's highest creation, human beings have a responsibility to use their knowledge to preserve and protect the environment. Both the Holy See and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have pressed for action in response to global warming and have urged governments to move toward models of sustainable development. In North America, the Church operates an “environmental justice” grants program that gives money for environmental education, research, and action. The Church's environmentalist stance is tied to its support for developing nations, as their growth hinges on an equitable sharing of the earth's resources.
There is also fledgling lay movement for individual action to preserve the environment. This movement urges Catholics to live with respect for the rest of creation by practicing organic gardening, supporting organic farming, reducing automobile use, and consciously reducing consumption of material goods.
Catholic Catechism emphasizes the interdependence of all things as part of God's plan. When individuals take too many of the world's resources for themselves, they upset the natural order. Each plant and animal has its own particular goodness and perfection and should be respected as a work of creation. Making use of creation for our own livelihood is part of mankind's role, but each tree or plant or animal must be taken with good reason and in a way that would not lead to disorder in the environment.