Environmentalism vs Religion


Having watched Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth the other day, I was wondering to what extent various belief systems actually support environmentalism.

I can recall having recently heard something to the effect that Anglicanism has come out in support of it, but I cannot recall any others.

I find this very interesting. From a Christian perspective, the Greatest Commandments are to love God and to love our neighbours. This necessarily includes not polluting their world, not destroying our children’s inheritance, and not leaving it until the crisis comes and the poor perish.

The greatest argument against ecological action is nationalist selfishness: we cannot clean up our production because that would cost us too much and we might lose our competitive advantage. From the Christian perspective, in which the Good Samaritan spends his own money with no hope of reward to help a Jewish stranger, this is anathema.

So, what is your faith, and your church, doing about this?


Just as Catholicism is the individual in a social context, protestantism is the individual in an individual one.

It seems to me the later the new Protestant denomination or sect [there are now 78,000 of them], the more intensely individualistic they are. This reflects the cuture in which they developed.

Inevitably, most recent sects are more likely to be eco-friendly as they will have developed within an eco culture consiousness.In that respect, it might be said that Protestantism is more organic. It is suseptible to the contraints of history.

My guess is, eventually, all of the Churches will develop an eco-awareness consciousness. But let us hope not before it is too late.:confused:


Enviornmentalism has always had a place in Judaism. As I posted on another thread, one of the first commandments Hashem gave was to tend the Garden, subdue the earth… We have a responsiblity to preserve life, human and otherwise.




Religiosity and environmentalism aren’t mutually exclusive, but as Christians, Catholics in particular, we aren’t called to protect the environment in the same ways that the culture at large would have it.

We must be aware that we are called to integrate human activity and to also protect human dignity: From the CCC

“Each creature possess its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the “six days” it is said: “And God saw that it was good.” “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth, and excellence, its own order and laws.” Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God’s infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment. (339)”

Too often, mainstream society’s environmentalism doesn’t reflect a proper attitude towards the “natural order” and leans more towards the New Age or Deistic concepts that Christians have to reject.

Here’s an article that neatly summarizes Catholic teaching on the subject:



I watched before on EWTN’s Web of Faith when Father Trigilio said that it is sad to see people complaining about the environment or stuff like that when they don’t problemize themselves with the dying babies of abortion. I kinda agree. Caring for the environment is good thing but I would prioritize protecting the souls of people. :slight_smile:


In 50 years you won’t have to worry so much about abourtion. We’ll be dying from lack of resources.


Forget the whales, free the embryos, now that’s a real civil rights issue! :smiley:

I think it will be interesting to see “An Inconvenient Truth” in a few years. I tend to believe it will been seen for what it is, another doomsday scenario based on faulty science, much like Malthus and his overpopulation myth. :frowning:


Global warming means an increase in sea levels, taking already-scarce land from poor island states and such low-lying areas as most of Bangladesh. These people will have to find somewhere else to live: do you imagine that they will end up in a place with enough hospitals, enough toilets, or enough drinking water?

It also means an increase in the hot, humid belt currently around the equator. That means an increase in disease, because most diseases develop in that band. It also means an increase in the numbers of everything from bacteria to mosquitoes, one of the most common carriers of fatal diseases. That last problem is already evident in Africa, where cities built above the mosquitoes’ range have now fallen into their range because the heat has risen up into the hills.

It also means an increase in deserts, which is both a decrease in farmland, i.e., food, and a decrease in drinking water, which is already a critical problem for most of the developing world.

It also means an increase in massive storms, wrecking the homes of the poor, and washing away crops. Because it exacerbates climatic extremes, it also means an increase in droughts in dry areas, rendering land useless.

Frankly, given the choice between contesting the morality of elective abortions and battling the crisis of millions of people all over the world dying from disease, drought and starvation because rich people in rich countries will not be severely affected by it, I am going to have to go with defending the poor.


Unfortunately, measuring the CO2 content of ice bubbles in the Antarctic shelves, and seeing the fact that the level now is more than twice as high as it has ever been, with records going back 650 000 years, is very, very simple science.

Most interestingly, if it is faulty, why does it have such overwhelming support within the scientific community? The opposition comes not from scientists, but from industrialists.


I almost chocked when I saw the location of that report: Beijing! The city in which 1km visibility means a good day!

This is one of the real worries: the PRC government says that it is implementing protocols to control energy consumption, to reduce emissions, etc, but everyone who lives in China knows how far the Party’s control extends beyond their office walls. Unless they can do something new and different, and set up not only monitoring schemes, but monitors over the monitoring schemes, everything is going to be business as usual, and there will continue to be rains of ash in the countryside, sandstorms from the ever-growing deserts, and the smog which stretches all the way to Japan.

I have lived in China, and I almost turned around and left the very day that I landed, because I was so shocked and appalled by the environmental disaster which has already happened there.


Too often, mainstream Christianity becomes too fearful of the dread ‘New Age’, and forgets that the already-begun environmental crisis is a human crisis, and, like natural disasters, will hurt the poor more than the rich.

Environmentalism is about sympathy for those who will suffer.


Overpopulation is not a myth. Its a real epidemic caused by Muslims who have a very high birth rate! Since 1 Muslim can marry 4 wives, so soon our planet will be overpopulated with them.


Man was created by God to be the steward of the earth, not the abuser of the earth. We are created to have dominion over all the animals and other matter, but we are not to abuse the creation that God has given to us! :slight_smile:


This is not like insisting that the earth is the center of the solar systerm. And it’s really not even a matter of prediction. It’s reality. It is happening now. Actually, I revise my original sentence. This is like those who denied for centuries that the earth was not the center of the solar system, in spite of what science new.


I would think as Catholics we should take care of the environment, but not necessarily by being in sync with Environmentalism. The latter is more of an umbrella for extreme views regarding the environment. So I can see that it wouldn’t be “hand-in-hand” with the church. With that being said, it doesn’t mean we just ignore the environment, because we are the stewards. It isn’t too hard to do the little things, and we can still focus on the more important issues like abortion.

For example, I know people that air condition all summer to 70°F and heat all winter to 85°F. That is just irresponsible. You can save money and fossil fuels by being a little more wise. :slight_smile: And then you can spend the money to put an end to these absolute issues like abortion. Once we get the basics solved, then we can focus on long term issues like helping the poor. (It really is a shame that abortion has become a long term issue, when its reality is such a simple truth.)


First, Muslim polygyny is not a critical issue in overpopulation: owing to necessities of metabolic functioning, one man who has four wives will impregnate them less often than the four wives of four different men will be impregnated.

Second, the two countries facing the most severe problems of overpopulation, the PRC and India, who together comprise more than 1/3 of the total population of the planet, both have very small Muslim populations: only 2% and 12% of their respective totals.

Third, massive population expansion is a historically-demonstrated product of the delay in cultural adaptation to technological advancement. Poor states have poor health facilities, and economies based upon industry and agriculture. Families have many children because most of them will die, and because more workers are needed to earn money. When technological advancement arrives, lifespans leap, but it takes some time for the culture to adapt to the new situation and adjust its view of the ‘normal’ family size. The adjustment normally appears when the cost of living soars, and families realise that both parents need to work, reducing the available time and energy to spend on families. In developed nations, this leads to a nett decrease in population, which is why immigration becomes so necessary.

Fourth, the Catholic ban on contraception is the largest single religious factor in population expansion, hence the fact that the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, a developed statelet, is growing considerably faster than the larger Protestant community. I am not aware of any location in which this has yet proved to be a critical problem.


Out of all your “facts” I have to say this is the most absurd.

There is no overpopulation. We are in a growth cycle, something like a bell curve on the ascendant, but due to lowering birth rates and more contraception, abortion and sterilization, there will be a steep drop in population as older adults will greatly outnumber younger ones. The effects will be very costly.

Look, the Catholic Church does not force people to procreate without any limit. That is not the purpose of banning contraception, in any case, the Church doesn’t compel anyone to do anything. The purpose of saying contraception doesn’t fit in with a Christian worldview is to insist that the transmission and caring for human life must be given the highest degree of responsibility. Human life is sacred and we must maintain our dignity.

The role and purpose of government is to enhance the welfare of humans and their families, allowing us to fully respect the moral order granted us by God. The Church, rightfully so, opposes policies that are contrary to this moral order.

We do have many problems in this world make no mistake - but too many times the solution proposed by “society” is over-simplistic and reliant on faulty science that only mirrors the scientific community’s own values, which almost anyone can tell you, is hostile towards religious virtue.

The solution to population, rather than having governments empower their people to generate development and technologies to assist in these problems, seems to be limiting human creation often through undignified programs like sterilization, abortion and contraception that only serve to further dehumanize rather than address the real, structural issues that create poverty, hunger and strife.

These solutions only lead us to see human beings as the problem, and more often than not, further develop the latent racism that exists with population control.

"Natural Family Planning Involves Respect for Nature
…Using the natural methods requires and strengthens the harmony of the married couple, it helps and confirms the rediscovery of the marvelous gift of parenthood, it involves respect for nature and demands the responsibility of the individuals. According to many authoritative opinions, they also foster more completely that human ecology which is the harmony between the demands of nature and personal behavior.

At the global level this choice supports the process of freedom and emancipation of women and peoples from unjust family planning programs which bring in their sad wake the various forms of contraception, abortion, and sterilization. 

–Pope John Paul II, January 22, 1997 issue of L’Osservatore Romano. "

"God has created a world big enough for all the lives He wishes to be born. It is only our hearts that are not big enough to want them and accept them. If all the money that is being spent on finding ways to kill people was used instead to feed them and house them and educate them - how beautiful that would be. We are too often afraid of the sacrifices we might have to make. But where there is love, there is always sacrifice. And when we love until it hurts, there is joy and peace.



You don’t defend the poor by eradicating them.



"God has created a world big enough for all the lives He wishes to be born. It is only our hearts that are not big enough to want them and accept them.

Mother Theresa was wrong. While its true that better use of resources could end a lot of suffering, that don’t change the fact that we are over 6 billion and will be over 9 billion in 25 years or so. When I was in highshool, about 25 years ago, we were 3 billion.

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