Earth Day feels like it’s actually Earth Day for the first time in four years. Many of those with more common sense than gullibility know that we have only one planet. Even as we have achieved flight on Mars, any hope of going elsewhere (and some of us would rather not) is many years away. Earth is our home and we can live on our planet without destroying it. Other animals also change the environment, of course. The problem arises when one species becomes unchecked and begins changing things for their benefit only. Or what they perceive as their benefit only. Life evolved on this planet deeply integrated. The more we study nature the more we see how interconnected it is. Thinking ourselves special, we’ve placed a wall between humankind and everything else. It’s an artificial wall.
If you read about nature you’ll be amazed. Trees, perhaps the true heroes of this planet, make our life possible. They couldn’t exist without the fungi that partner with their roots in a symbiotic relationship. If there had been no trees our ancestors would’ve been easy prey to larger predators and would likely not have survived. Large industrial corporations destroy trees as if they’re a nuisance. They are our life. Even as governments with “strong men” leaders destroy the forests in “their” countries, we are losing the very biodiversity that makes life possible on this planet. There’s room for humans to get along here without destroying the environment that supports our very life.
One of the hidden motives in this scenario is a strange development within Christianity. A literalism that would’ve shocked even old Augustine developed around the turn of the last century. That literalism was used by corporations that saw the earth as a resource to be exploited and claimed that we, unlike animals, owned the planet. If you own a home would you destroy it just because you could? What good would it do? No, this Earth Day let’s take the time to consider our religion and its implications sensibly. The Bible does not advocate destroying what God created. It may have been written too early to comprehend evolution, but that was never a problem for early theologians. When fused with capitalism, however, this religion provided everything greedy businesses needed to exploit the planet for its own purposes—the god Mammon. Just this week we flew our first flight on an inhospitable planet far away. Today let’s think of how we might protect the only home we have under our feet.