By Kara Ball
A few weeks ago my husband Jim and I planted a pollinator garden in our front yard. We had a fun time providing what we hope will be habitat for a variety of butterflies, bees and other pollinators. We dug up the grass (Jim did that part), worked the soil and saved the earthworms, and selected plants from the local nursery and planted, watered and mulched them.
Pollinators are an indispensible part of the productivity of God's creation.1 For example, a recent study found that wild, native bees pollinate more than a third of California's crops. This "service" is worth up to $2.4 billion a year to California, which produces half of our nation's fruits and vegetables. The study suggests that it's worth conserving habitat that supports native pollinators and planting habitat buffers near crops for wild bees.
In his recent book Global Warming and the Risen LORD, Jim further explains how pollinators are vital to providing us with the fruits of God's creation.1 Pollinators are essential to the production of three-fourths of the world's main crops 2 and their global economic value is estimated at $30-$60 billion. Jim highlights one example: "A study in Costa Rica found that 'forest based pollinators increased coffee yields by 20% within 1 kilometer of the forest (as well as increasing the quality of the coffee)'"[and] 'increased the income of a 1,100 hectare farm by $60,000 a year."4,5 Global warming threatens 20-30% of the world's species with increased risk of extinction this century.6 What will happen if these pollinators disappear?
I understand the importance of the "ecosystem services" that God graciously provides to us through pollinators and a healthy ecosystem. Yet protecting the ability of nature to provide these services is only part of the reason that, as Christians, we are to care for God's creation.
Jim and I recently finished reading Simply Christian by Bishop N.T. Wright. Bishop Wright emphasizes that, through Jesus Christ, God has begun and will one day complete His new creation, putting to rights creation's current brokenness and decay. He says that as Christians, ""we are called to be part of God's new creation, called to be agents of that new creation here and now"7 and in our words and by our actions we are to invite others to join in. So all of our work for creation care, whether it's providing habitat for pollinators, conserving land for other creatures, or fighting for policies that protect against global warming, is part of what it means for us to be God's true image-bearers in Christ in the world.
 Jim Ball, Global Warming and the Risen LORD (Evangelical Environmental Network: Washington, D.C.; 2010), p. 114.
 United NationsEnvironment Programme-World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC),Biodiversity and Poverty Reduction: The Importance of Biodiversity forEcosystem Services (UNEP: Cambridge, May 31, 2007), p. 16
 Sir Nicholas Stern, The Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change, (Cambridge University Press,2006): p. 71, Table 3.2; http://creationcare.org/blog.php?blog=19
 UN Environment Programme(UNEP), Ecosystems and Human Well- being: Synthesis of the MillenniumEcosystem Assessment, (UNEP/WRI: 2005) p. 56;http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/Synthesis.aspx.
 Ball, GlobalWarming and the Risen LORD, p. 114
 Intergovernmental Panelon Climate Change, AR4, WG2; Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation andVulnerability; Contribution of Working GroupII to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on ClimateChange; M.L.Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds.; (Cambridge UniversityPress, Cambridge, UK, 2007) pp. 213, 242; http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg2_report_impacts_adaptation_and_vulnerability.htm
 N.T. Wright; Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense (HarperCollins: New York, NY; 2006), p.236