When G-d was creating space and time, G-d formed many universes, but each one was not quite what G-d had intended and so G-d recycled the materials for another go at it. Finally, G-d made a universe that was just what G-d had wanted, and in that universe, our universe, in the outer third of the spiral arm of a rather ordinary galaxy, G-d put a lovely blue planet. And then G-d formed Adam (the human being) from the Adama (the red earth) and breathed into Adam the breath of life. And G-d placed the human being on this garden planet, lush and full of all good things to work with it and to protect it (lit: l'avda u'lshamra). And G-d said to the humans: "Remember, I made you human from the humus (soil) and you belong to this land. The land is your mother. Take care then to protect and care for her, and do not destroy her, for if you do destroy then who will make her whole for you again?" (A Midrash on Genesis 2: Gan Ayden--translated and retold by Elisheva).
Bal Taschit and Tikkun Olam by N
Bal Taschit is a commandment from Torah:
This pasuk is about how to treat trees during a war, but in the Talmud our rabbis expanded the meaning of Bal Taschit to mean that you may not destroy anything that G-d has made just because you want to destroy it. You can kill animals to eat them, but you must not waste them just to get the best parts or because you want to show what a great hunter you are. You can cut down trees for the wood to make your house, but you must not waste anything. Even throwing paper away and not recycling it would be to break the commandment not to destroy. I think what our rabbis meant was that the earth is not ours to do whatever we want to it. It belongs to the One who gave life to everything that lives here. We are part of the earth and not above it. So we have to find ways to "walk more lightly" on the earth as Tom Brown says.
There are many meanings to this story, as is true of all good stories. But I think the one important for today is that everything in the world contains sparks of holiness. We just don't see it because we notice only the broken shards. When we look beyond only the material, we uncover the beauty and the spirit in everything. And we want to preserve and protect, "tend and till," and fulfill our role as creative stewards of Creation.