Cross posted from SheThought.com.
It is no secret that the condition of our environment has long been a popular topic in recent years. It isn’ really a new one either. Just a few decades ago we were facing the matter of acid rain, and litter scattered throughout. Several rivers, at least here in the US were considered very unclean. Smog was a big issue in many larger cities. Then governments, at least in industrialized nations, began to work to overcome some of those problems. In the US the Clean Air Act was enacted. Factories were ordered to put in scrubbers on their smoke stacks. Roadside litter clean up campaigns were implemented in communties everywhere. River and waterway clean up programs were begun to reverse the damage done to national waterways. All of those programs were proven to be successful.
Fast forward a few decades and again we are faced with some true environmental issues. We have an increasingly rising population and more nations are becoming industrialized. Issues like air quality, water quality and a growing waste stream are becoming alarmingly serious. Global demand for the fossil fuels oil, natural gas and coal are at an all time high. In some less developed nations, the trash of richer nations ends up being literally dumped right into their front yards, which provides a toxic environment for the residents there.
Steps are again starting to take place as people recognize the problem, try to grasp the scope of it, and work to try to come up with practical solutions to reversing what we have wrought upon our planet. Recycling methods are improving all the time, companies are coming up with innovative ideas to reduce energy usage. Governments, businesses, scientists and average citizens are looking into alternative, renewable ways to use energy, and to reduce one’s footprint on the planet’s environment. Sometimes ideas to reducing pollution can be a bit different, but still beneficial to the environment. One company sells outdoor lighting designed to reduce outdoor light pollution. http://www.starrynightlights.com/
Books, videos and seminars abound about how communities and individuals can help to be better stewards of our planet. Even people of faith are getting into the game. A quick Amazon search reveals several items geared towards helping Christians, from the individual parishioner to the church congregation help be a bit greener when it comes to how we use our natural resources. Books such as Inheriting the Earth: Poor Communities and Environmental Renewal, The Care of Creation: Focusing Concern and Action and others demonstrate that even Christians are noticing the problem and wanting to do something to fix it.
The concept goes along with teaching in biblical scripture. In the book of Genesis, Adam and Eve, were given the task of caring and tending the earth. In the book of Leviticus rules about giving fields a year of rest was given. Apparently the knowledge of robbing the soil of nutrients was known in that day. The frequent pastoral references in the bible demonstrate a closeness with nature and an understanding of man’s interdependance on what the earth produced.
Then there is this. http://www.resistingthegreendragon.com, produced by Cornwall Alliance. When I first read about this at the blog site run by writer John Shore, I thought he was joking. He does tend to enjoy the satirical at times, and he does use a tongue in cheek approach with this subject, but the message Cornwall Alliance, the promoters of this DVD series, is trying to send to churches all across the US, is anything but humorous.
They are suggesting that being environmentally conscious is destroying the church, that the movement is brainwashing our children, and that is actually a form of cult like-religion designed to lure the faithful from the true way of God. They are quite willing to share all this information with you for the price of $49.99 for the 4 DVD set. For an extra $30, one can pre-order a book by a geophysicist named James Wanliss. His credentials seem interesting on paper, and he does teach in his field, at a small Presbyterian college in a small town in South Carolina. Why did the producers of this project choose a professor who isn’t an expert in geology or environmental studies to be their scientific expert, and to author a book on the subject? It is a curiosity.
Ironically Cornwall Alliance admits, at least in part that we have some real needs in the care of our planet and of the people who live upon it. They acknowledge that people need access to clean water and medical care, but it is what they reject that is bothersome. They reject climate change, they reject the need to stem the exploding growth of the world’s population. They don’t seem to be troubled by the fact that we are dependent on oil and all it produces including pollution in several forms. Silent is the mention that people in many parts of the world are living as a direct result of man’s poor stewardship when it comes to sound environmental practices, or that AIDS kills twice as many as their mentioned Malaria every year. They believe that “Environmental policies should harness human creative potential by expanding political and economic freedom, instead of imposing draconian restrictions or seeking to reduce the “human burden” on the natural world. Suppressing human liberty and productivity in the name of environmental protection is antithetical to the principles of stewardship and counterproductive to the environment.”
It almost seems that they feel it is perfectly ok to burn down rain forests and destroy eco-systems so people can grow palm oil fields. “It’s ok,” that message seems to say. “its economic freedom, who cares that in 20 years the soil that that ecosystem once sustained is all in the ocean. That’s in the future. Go burn down some more rain forest.”
The Christian in me, the human in me, the one who cares for the planet she is damned lucky to live on, is angry that such ideas are being promoted and given credence despite overwhelming evidence that things are exactly what scientists and environmentalists say they are. Being green isn’t about being in a anti-Christian cult. It is about wanting our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren, all the world’s children, now and in the future to have a place where they can exist and thrive. It’s about caring about the world I believe God gave me to live on and to do what I can to care for. It is about all of us trying to work together for the common good for all mankind and for all the creatures that live upon the earth. To suggest that mild, moderate or radical environmentalists are wanting anything else is quite simply, dead wrong.