What's the difference, you ask?
Simple. It's a recognition that the resources on our planet are there for humans to use. God gave us this planet, and it's resources, to use. That includes natural resources like oil and natural gas.
It's important that we are careful as we can reasonably be, no question. There's a great line from a favorite classic movie called Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It tells the tale of three men who go into the mountains of Mexico to search for Gold. At the end of their mining operation, the experienced old miner in the group speaks of the importance of closing the mine after they have exhausted the gold from it,
"We've wounded this mountain. It's our duty to close her wounds. It's the
least we can do to show our gratitude for all the wealth she's given
This, my friends, is an example of proper stewardship. It wasn't about "protecting the fragile mountain" after taking the gold out of it. Environmentalism would suggest we should not go get that gold in the first place. Ditto for oil, coal, and so forth.
The same kind of environmentalist baloney that suggests we shouldn't (responsibly) go get the oil in the ground. Take the BP Oil Spill in 2010. British Petroleum cleaned up the oil it could. The reason I use the word "could" is not because BP was unable to clean up the remaining oil, but rather because the Earth took care of itself before BP could complete cleanup. It turns out there is actually bacteria that eats oil. You heard that right: it essentially eats oil. The oil was gone before BP could finish removing it.
This is an example of the brilliant design of this planet. There is actually a bacteria present that breaks down oil. Earth is able to heal itself, much like the human body is able to heal itself. In the case of oil, these bacteria act for the planet the same way white blood cells act for the human body.
The human body serves as a great analogy for the Earth. We do need to care for our bodies. We need to not be stupid with them. Such safety choices like wearing helmets when playing full contact football and not snorting cocaine are reasonable acts of stewardship toward the human body. Ditto for washing our hands before eating and after using the bathroom.
What we don't do to protect our bodies is refuse to go near another person, refuse to ever eat food at a restaurant, or anything else that can cause your body to contract germs. It's unreasonable to try to do so.
Another good analogy is our cars. The majority of car accidents happen while driving the car (as opposed to when the car is parked). We don't refuse to drive. We put seat belts and airbags in our cars. We design them with crumple zones so the car, and not the passengers, absorb the shock of a collision. Further, we put motor oil in the engine, transmission fluid in the transmission and brake fluid in the brake lines to ensure the car runs smoothly.
What we don't do is we don't stop driving our cars.
Yet environmentalists want us to stop getting resources out of the Earth because they call the Earth "fragile." We're going to somehow damage the planet. The fact that the planet has survived earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, meteor crashes, a worldwide flood in the days of Noah, and more makes it clear that the planet IS NOT FRAGILE. Our planet can adapt itself and heal itself.
We should be good stewards of the planet. When we drill for oil we should close the wounds in the Earth. But we should not stop drilling. We should close up the mines we open for coal when we're done. We shouldn't stop getting the coal.
Stewardship, which means taking care of the Earth while responsibly using it's resources. Stewardship is good. Environmentalism, which is treating the Earth as helpless so we don't use the resources God gave us is bad.