Good Friday and Earth Day: Freedom and Slavery

Good Friday and Earth Day fell on the same day this year.  Friday, April 22, 2011 marked the solemn Christian holiday memorializing the crucifixion of Jesus, but this particular Friday also featured the 41st Earth Day.  The two occasions could not be more dissimilar.

The message and acts of Jesus focused on people.  And, in addition to love and grace, freedom was one of his main evangels.  This freedom was from all ungodly yokes, which includes the sacrosanct norms and standards of today's progressive environmentalism.

While familiarity with the structure and strictures of world religions is quite common, familiarity with environmentalism as religion is not as common.   Progressive environmentalism from its modern inception in 1962 with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring quickly emerged as a kind of faith that rivals the traditional religions of the world.  It has all the trappings of a religion including a god (Mother Earth or Gaia); holy writs (Silent Spring, The Population Bomb); mantras ("Love your Mother," "Save the Planet"); doctrines (capitalism and industrialization are evil; socialism and eating low on the food chain are righteous); dead saints (John Muir, Rachel Carson); and, of course, holidays.  Besides Earth Day, there is the U.N. sponsored World Environment Day on June 5 and World Ozone Day on September 5, among others.

In practice, progressive environmentalism has by no means been a compassionate religion.  The number of casualties and calamities resulting from its environmental crusades has been almost incalculable.  Elimination of the use of DDT to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes alone has contributed to the deaths of millions upon millions of human beings in third-world countries over the recent decades.  The diversion of U.S. corn crops for the production of ethanol raised world corn prices and lead to riots across the globe.  Restrictions on the ability of the U.S. to drill for its own ample supplies of oil and natural gas, mine its own abundant coal, and construct its own nuclear power plants have resulted in national insecurity, worldwide instability, and even "war for oil."  Environmentalism's culpability to world misery ranks with the worst of them.

No sensible, caring person denies that good stewardship is required for the wise use of natural resources and arable lands.  However, what has arisen with progressive environmentalism is a careless denial of the sensible.

Despite the mania over resource depletion, there are plenty of raw materials including fossil fuel and food supplies to keep everyone who is permitted access to such substances warm and fed.  And, any lack has historically been satisfied by innovative products and technologies such as plastic substitutes for many metallic raw materials, novel devices and techniques to extract previously inaccessible minerals and fossil fuels, and nuclear power to supplement or replace other energy sources.

So, instead of subjecting people as servants to the Earth, as the earth-first environmentalists would have it, why not enlist the Earth in a more humane service to people?  The focus, as with Jesus, should be on people first and the freedom to diligently use the resources that are abundantly available to sustain everyone.  Our primary care of people should subsequently lead to effective management of the global environment.

In other words, as we come to the compassionate aid of the world's desperately needy with the world's readily accessible copious resources, our ethical priority should translate into careful stewardship of the Earth's bounty.

As the apostle Paul proclaimed, "It is for freedom that Christ liberated us, therefore stand firm and do not be burdened again to a yoke of slavery."  Such Good-Friday advice should be embraced to break the bondage to any unholy worldly practices, especially many of the ones celebrated on Earth Day.

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and primary author of Environmental Risk Communication: Principles and Practices for Industry (CRC Press/Lewis Publishers, 2000).  Susan T. Cammarata is an independent attorney practicing environmental- and family- law in Pittsburgh, PA.
Good Friday and Earth Day fell on the same day this year.  Friday, April 22, 2011 marked the solemn Christian holiday memorializing the crucifixion of Jesus, but this particular Friday also featured the 41st Earth Day.  The two occasions could not be more dissimilar.

The message and acts of Jesus focused on people.  And, in addition to love and grace, freedom was one of his main evangels.  This freedom was from all ungodly yokes, which includes the sacrosanct norms and standards of today's progressive environmentalism.

While familiarity with the structure and strictures of world religions is quite common, familiarity with environmentalism as religion is not as common.   Progressive environmentalism from its modern inception in 1962 with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring quickly emerged as a kind of faith that rivals the traditional religions of the world.  It has all the trappings of a religion including a god (Mother Earth or Gaia); holy writs (Silent Spring, The Population Bomb); mantras ("Love your Mother," "Save the Planet"); doctrines (capitalism and industrialization are evil; socialism and eating low on the food chain are righteous); dead saints (John Muir, Rachel Carson); and, of course, holidays.  Besides Earth Day, there is the U.N. sponsored World Environment Day on June 5 and World Ozone Day on September 5, among others.

In practice, progressive environmentalism has by no means been a compassionate religion.  The number of casualties and calamities resulting from its environmental crusades has been almost incalculable.  Elimination of the use of DDT to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes alone has contributed to the deaths of millions upon millions of human beings in third-world countries over the recent decades.  The diversion of U.S. corn crops for the production of ethanol raised world corn prices and lead to riots across the globe.  Restrictions on the ability of the U.S. to drill for its own ample supplies of oil and natural gas, mine its own abundant coal, and construct its own nuclear power plants have resulted in national insecurity, worldwide instability, and even "war for oil."  Environmentalism's culpability to world misery ranks with the worst of them.

No sensible, caring person denies that good stewardship is required for the wise use of natural resources and arable lands.  However, what has arisen with progressive environmentalism is a careless denial of the sensible.

Despite the mania over resource depletion, there are plenty of raw materials including fossil fuel and food supplies to keep everyone who is permitted access to such substances warm and fed.  And, any lack has historically been satisfied by innovative products and technologies such as plastic substitutes for many metallic raw materials, novel devices and techniques to extract previously inaccessible minerals and fossil fuels, and nuclear power to supplement or replace other energy sources.

So, instead of subjecting people as servants to the Earth, as the earth-first environmentalists would have it, why not enlist the Earth in a more humane service to people?  The focus, as with Jesus, should be on people first and the freedom to diligently use the resources that are abundantly available to sustain everyone.  Our primary care of people should subsequently lead to effective management of the global environment.

In other words, as we come to the compassionate aid of the world's desperately needy with the world's readily accessible copious resources, our ethical priority should translate into careful stewardship of the Earth's bounty.

As the apostle Paul proclaimed, "It is for freedom that Christ liberated us, therefore stand firm and do not be burdened again to a yoke of slavery."  Such Good-Friday advice should be embraced to break the bondage to any unholy worldly practices, especially many of the ones celebrated on Earth Day.

Anthony J. Sadar is a certified consulting meteorologist and primary author of Environmental Risk Communication: Principles and Practices for Industry (CRC Press/Lewis Publishers, 2000).  Susan T. Cammarata is an independent attorney practicing environmental- and family- law in Pittsburgh, PA.

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