Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the Earth was created by Jehovah to provide a home to those faithful to him. As such, they are stewards of the earth and many members try to adhere to an environmentally responsible lifestyle. Jehovah’s Witness congregations and projects in different countries have won environmental awards such as a ‘Clean Enterprise’ certificate for printing facilities in Mexico and ‘Green Building Initiative’ awards for two buildings in New York. The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ new UK headquarters being built in Chelmsford, Essex, has been rated ‘outstanding’, “the highest rating available according to the world’s leading sustainability assessment standard, BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).” Numerous wildlife protection measures have also been put in place in this building project.
Jehovah’s Witness literature is keen to point out that Witnesses do not see natural disasters as a form of punishment from God. It rather points to humankind’s detrimental actions contributing to climate change as the source of many disasters, in line with current popular and scientific understandings and in contrast to some other faith traditions. Nevertheless, the literature also states that the Bible foretold that humankind would ‘ruin the Earth’ (Revelation 11:18) and hence current natural disasters are taken as evidence of the imminent end times. But as the Earth was a gift from God, it is reasoned, God will not allow the complete destruction of the planet, and intends men and women to live on the Earth forever. In the end times, God will ‘ruin’ those ‘ruining the Earth’ – that is the current government systems, which will be replaced with ‘God’s Kingdom’. “The righteous will possess the earth, and they will live forever on it” (Psalm 37:29). Despite Jehovah’s Witnesses’ commitment to environmental responsibility, it is believed that ultimately only God can save the Earth.