I think the problems the conservationists and preservationist saw in the late 1800s was diminishing wilderness (with its tremendous beauty and spiritual uplift and inspiration); they thought about us and wanted us to enjoy it. It fills my heart to think they thought about us, and makes it all the more important that we think about our future generations.
By the 1960s there were rivers that went on fire from dioxins, etc. Pollution was choking and killing LA (now it’s much better). So of necessity to protect human lives the focus shifted to pollution and the 2nd wave of environmentalism was born. Now we’re in another phase, the 4th wave (I think the 3rd one came around 1990, but was snuffed out). By the late 1980s we had done okay in reducing the most egregious local pollution (tho there are still plenty of local enviro problems to address), so just when we thought it was safe to live in the world again, come global environmental problems, like the ozone hole and global warming. I’m thinking if we solve these global problems, and that is a huge IF, surely there will be some other problems future generations will have to solve.
Today’s ‘green’ movement largely functions as a replacement for Calvinistic protestantism and replaces the morally ‘depraved man’ with no good remaining in him with the ecologically ‘depraved man’ who is more a scourge on the earth than the crown of creation. Google VHEMT if you doubt me! (I’m only fairly sure it isn’t satire)
Wow, that is perceptive. I was raised Presbyterian, and the little “Interfaith Council on Climate Change” that some church women started up in IL was mainly Presbyterians, and two Catholics – me and the president of the local Sierra Club chapter. Also a Jain and a few other denominations (all women, except the Presbyterian pastor). And we met at a Presbyterian church.
Got me thinking… Weber’s THE PROTESTANT ETHIC & THE SPIRIT OF CAPITALISM. I was confused at first, bec Calvinism was supposed to lead to capitalism, not environmentalism. But then I got back to my early learnings. The Parable of the Talents was stressed…and we know what happened to the person who didn’t invest his. I began to understand that it was a Calvinistic orientation (plus my new calling to Carmel in the late 80s and a desire to reduce my sins and imperfections–and a newly found understanding that “thy will be done” applied to me, not just other people) that made me understand I had to be a good steward of my talents and God’s creation. Of course, Catholics are also supposed to do that too.
But I wouldn’t go so far as to say Calvinism leads to anti-human sentiments (at least not for me). I am, however, very aware of our fallen nature, and have argued against the Matthew Fox types. How else can we explain environmental problems, except by ole Adam and Eve doing their wrongful thing. Then there’s Cain, and I guess we all bear his mark. If it weren’t for God’s saving grace and redemption through the blood of Christ we’d be in a fine mess.
I’m not convinced that green technology is the solution. I tend to think we DO need to alter our lifestyles significantly. Specifically, I think we are a ridiculously wasteful consumer culture. The amount of disposable junk and stuff we throw out is astounding. Take cars. Yeah a Prius or Volt is great on paper. But what would be a lot better is if people would learn to MAINTAIN their vehicles and learn how to make than last 250,000 miles instead of junkyarding them at 150k (current average). Much of that happens due to stupidity and neglect on the part of car owners. I promise you that my junkyard rescue 1995 Saturn that now gets 40 mpg in my commute will have a lower total environmental footpring than a shiny new Prius. Mine was about to be scrap metal, so rescuing it generated ZERO manufacturing wastes. A new Prius contains north of 60# worth of refined nickel in the batteries, which generates over 120,000# worth of toxic mining tailings. Real green.
This is just an example of how it is our consumption oriented culture and economy that is polluting the planet. Nobody is working to address that, which is a sad shame.
Okay, we just bought a Volt 2 months ago (after 43 years of our marriage in used, beater cars). I was able to convince my husband it was a luxury car, since we don’t know the difference, and having saved $1000s from our many environ measures over the past 43 years (like living within a mile or 2 from work), we were well able to afford it…and I did an Excel spreadsheet and figured it would pay for the difference of the other car he wanted (a Taurus) in about 7 years. I would not have insisted we buy a Volt, except our electricity is 100% wind-powered, so we’re driving on the wind now. It had earlier figured it was never worth it environmentally or economically to buy a Prius or other hybrid.
But REUSE is a very important principle, right after REDUCE, and I greatly applaud you for your 1995 Saturn; that is a real environmental measure that helps the world. And I just found out about the EV batteries yesterday, the pollution from rare earth mining in China; I just hope driving on the wind (reducing local and global pollution that way) will more than offset the harm from our battery. And I hope they get their act together about reducing that rare earth pollution.