Exploring the gospel principles of earth stewardship

Our Other New Board Member: Karl Jarvis

We’re pleased to announce the new member of  the LDSES Board of Directors: Karl Jarvis. Here Karl introduces himself. It was worth the wait!

It’s silly, really. I’ve been sitting at my computer, trying to start writing this blog entry for way too long now. I have several false starts and loads of pictures I could add. It’s several days late. I’m wrestling with this, starting and stopping. The longer I take the more vain I feel. This is supposed to be an introduction, not a biography. Why don’t I just get it done?

It’s Darren Hawkins’ fault, really. His introductory blog post is perfect. It’s got a cool story, tells a bit about him, and tells what he wants to do, and it’s really interesting. Sigh… I should know better than to pay attention to such comparisons. It brings out the perfectionist in me, and perfectionism makes for a rough existence.

Which brings me to an actual point. We, as Mormons, are deluged with lists of things to do, and if we are going to take on an additional moral imperative, we want to do it well. We have callings and tithing and scripture reading and home teaching and service projects and Sunday meetings and food storage and youth activities and temple work already.

Not long ago, a friend got annoyed that I didn’t want to tell her how she should start being a better steward of the earth. I didn’t have a specific answer for her then, and I still don’t. That’s partly a practical issue, because I don’t have a complete inventory of what she does and does not do. But it’s also an issue of how I see stewardship. What is stewardship? It’s something we’ve been entrusted with. A gift to care for. All our actions touch on stewardship. All we do shows our care or lack of care for it.

Certainly I do have specific opinions about stewardship, such as that I think that riding bikes should happen more often and driving cars should happen less often.

But I put a lot of weight on Joseph Smith Jr.’s remark that “I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves.” In the context of stewardship, much is relative, but there are ideas to promote that have lasting value. I hope that I can help spread understanding, trust, and faith in stewardship-related principles espoused by the LDS Church.

Because there are so many ways to be good stewards of the earth, I’ve really liked putting together a series of profiles for this blog. Check out the Stewardship in Action profiles from some amazing people if you haven’t already.

And I suppose I should tell about myself, too. I’m a 5th-generation Utahn in most of my family lines. I live in Utah with my family at the moment while finishing a PhD in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. I study conservation biology of wildlife, particularly how roads affect the genetics of animal populations. So you can say I study animal genetics (the cool factor) and roadkill (the gross factor).

My favorite activities tend to involve moving through wild places, but trail running is what I do most. I also love playing and watching soccer with my kids and being the family bike mechanic.