As a Mormon and an environmentalist I believe that ensuring healthy air, water, and ecosystems is our moral and religious duty. My own Mormon environmentalism is based on three important principles found in the scriptures.
First, all of creation is imbued with a soul, and thus has value. We are taught that all things, both animate and inanimate, were created “spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth” (Moses 3:5), therefore they all have a “living soul” (Moses 3:9), and the “worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10). We are even taught that our mother earth herself has a soul and is conscious of our “filthiness” (Moses 7:48).
Second, all of creation is meant to bear record of God. The prophet Alma taught that “the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it . . . do witness that there is a Supreme Creator” (Alma 30:44). The Lord taught Adam from the beginning that “all things bear record of [Him],” including “things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth” (Moses 6:63).
Given these principles, I think it is sad that members of the church are not generally the strongest voices in protecting our environment. We put up with polluted and unhealthy air and water in order to protect corporations, we have much stronger voices for the slaughter of wolves, bears, coyotes, and cougars than for finding ways to peacefully coexist with wildlife, and we treat our last few truly wild places as commodities for our enjoyment rather than as having intrinsic value worth protecting at all costs.
I believe we have lost touch with the spiritual aspect of creation in our errant quest for perpetual economic expansion. In our rush to "subdue" and exercise "dominion" over the earth we have forgotten that we are stewards only and will be held accountable for our stewardship. When we report how we took care of the world which we were given will we be able to say we cared for it, nourished it, and protected it? Or will we have nothing to show but a polluted world whose plant and animal life we destroyed for temporal gain?