A primary and defining relation: this is the core of a biblical ethic of responsibility for the environment. To understand that we and our environment are alike in the hands of God, so that neither can be possessed absolutely, is to see that the mysteriousness of the interior life of another person and the uncontrollable difference and resistance of the material world are connected. Both demand that we do not regard relationships centred [sic; wink to my brit friends] upon us, upon our individual or group agendas, as the determining factor in how we approach persons or things. If, as this whole section of Leviticus  assumes, God’s people are called to reflect what God is like, to make God’s holiness visible, then just or good action is action which reflects God’s purpose of liberating persons and environment from possession and the exploitation that comes from it–liberating them in order that their ‘primary and defining relation’ may be realized. Just action, towards people and environment, is letting created reality, both human and non-human, stand before God unhindered by attempts to control and dominate.
–Rowan Williams, “Renewing the face of the earth: Human responsibility and the environment” in Christianity and the Renewal of Nature: Creation, climate change and human responsibility, ed. Sebastian C. H. Kim and Jonathan Draper (London: SPCK, 2011), 2-3.
While we are on the topic of environmental ethics, check out Joseph Kelly’s blog on a reflection on climate change and prophets–ancient and modern.