Coconut husks, made of tough fibers, are abundant in tropical regions. Coconut farmers have most often discarded the husks, but science is finding creative ways to use them.
Baylor University researcher Walter Bradley has engineered a method for incorporating coconut husk fibers in place of polyester fibers in automobile parts, like in trunk liners.1 If the fibers successfully pass safety standard tests, the “coconut car” could one day become a reality.
Not only would coconut fiber-based products be an efficient use of what would otherwise be wasted resources, but this would be a small step toward oil independence, since polyester fibers are derived from petroleum. It could also mean an additional income source for tropical workers. Bradley said in a university news release, “What we hope to do is create a viable market for the poor coconut farmer.”1
This kind of win-win proposition is consistent with God’s Dominion Mandate, spoken to His first humans 6,000 years ago and reiterated after the Flood about 1,600 years later: “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”2
A charge often leveled against the Bible is that it encourages wasteful exploitation of natural resources, that the Genesis-based instruction to dominate the earth “bears a huge burden of guilt for environmental deterioration.”3 However, a more careful study of the relevant biblical passages shows that humans should not harm or exploit God’s creation, but manage it sensibly. Thus, the core of God’s command is responsible stewardship, which applies to all aspects of human endeavor.4
Since Christ the Creator values His own creation,5 humans should too. The useful, practical, environmentally friendly ideas that many are working towards—such as technology for using coconut fibers—is consistent with a biblical worldview, which itself is based on the doctrine of creation.
- Baylor Researchers Create Car Parts From Coconuts. Baylor University press release, December 9, 2008.
- Genesis 1:28, 9:1.
- White, L. 1967. The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis. Science. 155 (3767): 1203-1207.
- Morris, H. Dominion Mandate. Days of Praise, January 27, 1995.
- Luke 12:6.
* Mr. Thomas is Science Writer.
Article posted on January 14, 2009.