Keep South Carolina Beautiful, the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, recently gave a $10,000 new affiliate startup grant to the Keep Pickens County Beautiful program. According to The Greenville Journal, Pickens County has consistently emphasized awareness to prevent and clean up littering, including hosting events like the annual countywide litter pickups.
Greenville County also has a state-affiliated program, Keep Greenville County Beautiful, which was founded in 2008. According to their website, “[KGCB is] a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a simple mission: to engage citizens in beautification, litter prevention, and waste reduction through public awareness, education, and special events.”
The programs give opportunities to the community to keep the environment litter-free, reducing environmental hazards and eyesores. People can donate funds, volunteer for various cleaning initiative programs or “Adopt-AStreet” and commit to cleaning litter from a city street once every three months for a year.
As Christians, we are called to be good stewards of that which God has given to our care. In fact, stewardship of our natural environment began in the Garden of Eden when God “. . . put [Adam] into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep” (Genesis 2:15).
It is dishonorable to abuse the environment we have been given with no consideration for both those in our community and the environment itself. To toss trash out of a car window out of convenience, leave garbage bags in others’ way out of laziness or pile up plastic foam take-out boxes on top of an already stuffed garbage can are unChristlike habits that overlook God-given direction. 1 Corinthians 14:40 says, “Let all things be done decently and in order.”
First, we need to take individual responsibility for how we leave the community we enter. 1 Corinthians 10:24 instructs people to focus on the good of those near them over their own interests. We must not be so selfishly inclined that we act out of convenience with no concern for those around us. This includes our habits in restaurants and coffee shops around town, community spaces in the city and social spots around campus like The Den and dining common. Leaving undue mess for others to run into or cleanup is ungracious.
Second, we need to consider the impact our habits have on our natural surroundings. Litter is not just an eyesore, it is an irresponsible stewardship of God’s creation. Rivers get heavily polluted, sewers are clogged, animals can even choke or suffocate because of trash carelessly tossed out and carried by the wind. Luke 16:10 says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much . . .” The way we treat our environment reflects our concern for honoring God in whatever we do if we are responsible in our stewardship (1 Corinthians 10:31).
We can go beyond taking responsibility for our own actions by being proactive in volunteering to help our communities through programs like the Keep America Beautiful state and county affiliate programs. BJU students can also keep an eye out for Universitysponsored ministry opportunities that focus on environmental care.