THE CAREFUL FOOT

                                                        Religion & Reconciliation Ecology


Sick and tired of the battle between economics and ecology?



Are the Earth's species really safe?



Must we give up either Nature or the comforts of civilization?

 
 
 


Disinterested yet passionate stewardship of the environment and its creatures may not be a religion. Nevertheless it invests human life with a sense of holiness. Some of us forget that, and peddle diversity as a cure for cancer or a necessity for reliable ecosystems or a hope that high natural diversities produce the greatest amount of food and timber or even a protection from massive outbreaks of disease.

But what if diversity itself adds nothing measurable to ecosystem services? And what if we do identify all the arcane biochemicals that it takes to cure cancer? Would we then throw away the 'useless' species?

Sure, we do continue to find new uses for old species. But God did not tell Noah to do that. God merely said, "Of all that lives, of all flesh, take two of each to keep alive with you."

"With you." This is the commandment of reconciliation.

And God further said, "Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you — birds, beasts and everything that creeps on the Earth. Let them swarm on the Earth and be fruitful and multiply." Yes we are their master, but that gives us responsibilities toward them, not the license to wipe them out.

Those of us who are neither Jews nor Christians will tap their moral roots into a different inspiration. But which of those other teachings demands that we strip Nature of her wonders? Certainly not those of the Moslem or Hindu, whose traditions demand immense respect for Earth's creatures. Our moral systems may not all be the same, but none advocates either destruction of Nature or indifference to her needs.