"Acting rightly with respect to the earth is a source of hope, for those who so act give expression to the Christian belief that it is God’s intention to redeem the earth, and her oppressed creatures, from sinful subjection to the domination of prideful wealth and imperial power. Such actions witness to the truth that the history of global warming has gradually unfolded; that those poor or voiceless human and nonhuman beings whose prospect climate change is threatening are neighbours through the climate system to the powerful and wealthy. And Christ’s command in these circumstances is as relevant as ever: 'love your neighbour as yourself.'"
- Michael Northcott, A Moral Climate: the ethics of global warming
(London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 2007), 285.
Note that framing the discussion within the concept of love doesn't necessarily mean that only humans are included within the sphere of our concern. Northcott here suggests, quite radically for some perhaps, that nonhuman beings can also be our neighbours. Much more needs to be said on this, but to suggest animals (and plants?) as neighbours, as fellow members of the community of life and fellow breathers of the divine Spirit, need not imply that there are not ordered relationships between different forms of life, though it does at the very least imply that nonhuman creatures are loved by God for what they are, not simply for what they can be for us humans.
UPDATE: Were the animals also waiting for the coming Messiah?