THE CAREFUL FOOT
& 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.