As international climate talks resume this month (see http://www.un.org/climatechange/summit and http://peoplesclimate.org/march), and as readers of this column acknowledge many concerns they have for the integrity of creation, may we consider the following interpretations of our current situation.
“All creation is groaning” says Katharine M. Preston in the Sept.-Oct. issue of Sojourners (http://sojo.net/magazine) .Creation is “yearning to be free” writes Rose Marie Berger in the same issue.She, however, adds that “Christians don’t just look for hope in desperate times; we are the hope in desperate times.” Both writers are probably inspired by Romans 8:22-23.
Naomi Oreskes, a Harvard professor, argues that fossil fuels can’t solve the problems created by fossil fuels (see http://greenlinemag.com/wishful-thinking-about-natural-gas ).
Environmental activists raise up the need for sustainable alternative renewables and cry out “Keep the coal in the hole, the oil beneath the soil, and the gas beneath the grass.”
In the book Spiritual Ecology (Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, editor), Franciscan Richard Rohr’s article (pgs. 235-241), “Creation as the Body of God”, posits that “our modern world has distorted or lost the original understanding of the divinity of the world, resulting in our present ecological crisis”.
From the same book come two further quotes.One, from an alchemical text (p.183): “There are fiery sparks of the world soul, of the light of nature, dispersed or sprinkled in and throughout the structure of the great world into all the fruits of the elements everywhere.”
The other quote is from Stephan Hoeller (p. 203): “God redeems humanity, but nature needs to be redeemed by human alchemists, who are able to induce the process of transformation, which alone is capable of liberating the light imprisoned in physical creation.”
Lastly, consider these abridged remarks on “The Divine Spark” by Rudolf Bahro:
“The proposed solutions to our environmental problems are no longer a matter of saving a few watts, using less plastic or stopping an oil pipeline; they are tantamount to a call for freezing the infrastructure. It is our entire industrialized lifestyle that is obsolete, and without a cultural revolution that shatters the logic of the industrial system, we are lost.
The alternative is theology, not ecology---the birth of a new Golden Age which cultivates what Russian novelist Chyngyz Aitmatov calls the ‘divine spark’.
The issue is not man’s tools, but man’s spirit.”
Source: Adbusters magazine Sept/Oct 2014 #115, vol. 22 no. 5.
The 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act of 1964 is celebrated this month. It is a landmark accomplishment of the American environmental movement.
Subsequent "Acts" have by now resulted in conservation/preservation legislation protecting 758 wilderness areas, many adjacent or within national parks and forests, in nearly 110 million acres of biological diversity.
To learn more, go to
1. Advocacy by The Wilderness Society http://wilderness.org/
2. For "The Wildest Idea on Earth" by E.O. Wilson, to set aside half of the land for wildlife to prevent a coming "biological holocaust" see http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/can-world-really-set-aside-half-planet-wildlife-180952379/
3. "The Call of the Wild" special theme issue of the Earth Island Journal (Autumn 2014) includes many reflections on "The Wilderness Act Turns 50" at http://earthisland.org/journal/index.php/issues/current/
4. "The Future of Wilderness" is a special section of Orion Magazine of Sept.-Oct. 2014. Go to http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/mag/issue/8267/
"The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders. Edward Abbey