The question of how “environmentally concerned” a Christian should be has become very popular during the past few years. In order to know our responsibility, it is important to understand the original relationship between man and nature.
God created man and woman in His image and gave them dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:26-28). This included all the animals that God had created, as well as the entire earth. God also charged their descendants with the care for all the earth (Gen. 1:28). Even after the curse, God never withdrew this responsibility. We must care for the world that God has given to us.
While the Bible is clear about our responsibility, it is equally clear that the existence of the human race is not in jeopardy. God is in control of our destiny. He has planned the future for mankind.
The earth will someday be restored by Christ (Rom. 8:21), and ultimately God will destroyed it by fire, replacing it with a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:10). The restoration and ultimate destruction of the earth is God's working and is not related to man's “fine-tuning” of the environment.
Perhaps one reason that we are commanded to care for the earth is as an illustration of responsibility and caring. God placed man over the earth as the crown of His creation. We are to show care, compassion and responsibility in our relationship with creation. In this way, we can appreciate better the special relationship which God has established with man, who was created in God's own image. We do good by accepting the responsibility that was given in the beginning.
One more thing is important to know. We must learn that our responsibility to the earth is less important than our caring for each other. This lesson is illustrated in Jonah 4:9-11. God reminded Jonah that he had no right to care more for plants and trees and cattle than for the 120,000 people that lived in Nineveh.
Now, more than ever, we need to gain God's perspective on what things really matter most. The environment is important, but God is more concerned for the lives and souls of people.