Saturday, February 17, 2007

Is man ruining the environment?

That's always an interesting question. The answer depends on how one views the purpose of the environment. Does the environment exist for man? Or, does man simply trespass on the living earth? Important questions, indeed.

I subscribe to the Biblical version which places the environment under the dominion of man. Changes to the earth show man's use of resources provided by God.

The humanist version, the one exposed by environmentalists, views the earth as a pristine entity that is continually violated by the activities man. Changes are scars that defile the earth.

Is man ruining the planet? Well, I couldn't imagine living in an environment similar to Ohio and Michigan of two hundred years ago. From Oberlin College Online:

Wolves and rattlesnakes were a constant threat, but the fever, commonly referred to as malaria, ague, or bilious or autumnal fever, was feared most. One pioneer confessed "a wholesome fear of two things: fever and ague and rattlesnakes" (3). Because the fever was often contracted around the wetlands, settlers thought it was caused by inhaling the "bad air," "miasma," or "malaria" that they associated with the rotting vegetation of swamps.

However, the fever was often debilitating and accommodating the shakes wasn’t always an option. Malaria disabled entire families as described in this account of Michigan frontier life: "The malarial gases set free, that country became very sickly…crops went back into the ground, animals suffered for food, and if the people had not been too sick to need much to eat, they too must have gone hungry. The pale, sallow, bloated faces of that period were the rule; there were no healthy faces except of persons just arrived"

Personally, I'm much too soft for such a life.

Man has ruined the environment of Ohio and Michigan? Hardly.

Before you accept the environmentalist tale that our current structure of society and levels of consumption are wrecking the environment, consider the above passage and think how wonderful life would be watching our children and loved ones suffer and die as the result of untamed nature. It's not a pretty sight.

God gave man dominion over the earth. Thank goodness. Without dominion, life would be a daily struggle; a struggle that the earth would assuredly win.


Anonymous said...

Why has it only been in the last 50 years as man has created more poison and toxin into the environment have we seen the damage to the environment increase exponentially? We can co-exist with technology and the environment... but it can be accomplished through denial.

Jim Fedako said...

Anonyous does not address the point: Today's environment is much more hospitable to man than the natural environment he so desires.

Anonymous said...

Concern for the environment has various motivations, and I certainly can't speak for everyone, but my own concern is that the Earth will not be left in a condition suitable for habitation by future generations. And I somehow doubt that Jesus' approach to the dominion theory would be 'Take whatever you want, let the next guy fend for himself.' Selective interpretations of Bible passages, while convenient, will undoubtedly be seen for what they truly are by God.

Jim Fedako said...

Anonymous has confounded two issue: The supposed degradation of the environment, and a Christian ethic.

Unanswered is whether or not he would like to live in the environment described by the early settlers of Ohio and Michigan. If he would, he certainly can. Grab a tent and strive to live of the land. Go ahead and give it a shot. I admit to being much too soft for such a life.

Also unanswered is how much is too much. I just read an article in the local paper which implied that most people were living with less than 150 square feet of roofed space in the early 1800's. Does Anonymous want to give the specifics of his house, square footages, utility bills, etc?

As a returned Peace Corps volunteer, I can tell Anonymous that, short of the Ohio/Michigan lifestyle of two hundred years ago, he is using more resources than 100 rural Jamaicans.

It's nice to cast stones at others, but are you living the life that you decry?

By the way, what is "Jesus' approach to dominion theory?" I'd be interested in Anonymous's nonselective passages.