I thought if there was going to be a New Earth then environmental issues really don't matter. I thought that humans were of utmost importance, and humans do have greater worth than the animals or plants, so whatever helped humans most was the best. I had a short sighted view. I didn't see how my interaction with the earth had anything to do with eternity.
Imagine if you will a young boy named Timmy. Timmy has just been told that his teeth will one day fall out and be replaced by new adult teeth. Timmy's baby teeth will be gone and new teeth will replace them. So, Timmy guzzles as much pop as he can, he refuses to floss or brush, he uses his teeth to open glass bottles rather than using a bottle opener, and about anything that he feels like doing with his teeth. The hope of new teeth gave Timmy license to disregard his current teeth.
After years of ignoring his dental health Timmy's baby teeth fell out early leaving strange spaces for his new teeth to grow in mismatched directions. The bacteria that he let fester near and on his baby teeth ate away at his unseen adult teeth. Timmy's understanding about baby teeth was incomplete and he suffered because of it. Rather than having beautiful new teeth, he had braces and implants.
What we do with baby teeth and what we do with the current earth matters.
We can't screw up God's redemption of the earth like we can screw up permanent teeth. However, it is true that what we do with the earth matters greatly. Earth is and will be our home. God will make His dwelling with man on the New Earth. It matters how we take care of this planet.
"God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 2:28
Part of the first set of commands that God gave humanity was to have dominion over the earth. He gave us dominion over His creation. To use and abuse it? No, to be a good steward of it. If someone gave you something that was theirs would you use and abuse it? No, you would treat it well. You would try to leave it in excellent shape before, during and after your use of it. Why would our stewardship of the earth be any different?
If your eschatology makes you believe environmentalism is for liberals and tree huggers (there is most definitely unbiblical viewpoints from some that wear the label "environmentalist" but I'm not addressing that here) then I invite you to further investigate your understanding of Scripture. I know my daily life has been changed by deepening my understanding.
So, on this Earth Day ask yourself if you're using God's creation the way you should be. Ask if there's a way you could be a better steward of any of the creation that He's given you dominion over. And after seeking and find the answers to your questions act accordingly today.