It’s interesting to note that soil degradation and environmental problems are far more wide spread in countries with a predominantly Christian theology. The excuse to exploit the earth stems from the Creation Story in Genesis 1. Have a look at the bible again and you’ll find:
Genesis 1: God blessed them (Adam and Eve) and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it, rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky, over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
This is so bad that I sincerely hope that it was a mistranslation throughout the last few centuries. The church leaders have an urgent responsibility to change this attitude into a more positive one. We can no longer subdue the earth and rule over the fish and birds and every other living being because if we do so we wipe our soil away from under our feet. Christianity needs to adopt a new relationship with the earth – a communion with the earth in which we recognise that we all need each other and we includes plants, animals and the earth itself.
Luckily there are excellent pioneers within the Christian movement. One of them is Thomas Berry and in his book ‘The Great Work’ he outlines ‘our way into the future’. He argues that our “future can only exist when we understand the universe as composed of subjects to be communed with, not as objects to be exploited. Our commercial industrial obsessions have disturbed the bio-systems in a depth never known previously in the historical course of human affairs. The Great Work now is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner. …….. Our own special role, which we will hand on to our children, is that of managing the arduous transition from the terminal Cenozoic to the emerging Ecozoic Era, the period when humans will be present to the planet as participating members of the comprehensive Earth community.”
This will not be an easy transition but you can see initiatives all over Ireland and the world and these give hope.
And what a beautiful dedication to a book:
To the children
To all the children
To the children who swim beneath
The waves of the sea, to those who live in
The soils of the Earth, to the children of the flowers
In the meadows and the trees in the forests, to
All those children who roam over the land
And the winged ones who fly with the winds,
To the human children too, that all the children
May go together into the future in the full
Diversity of their regional communities.