What People Are Asking
Questions on Ecology
Atila Sinke Guimarães
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1. Question: Do you have a special input on ecology?
To preserve animals in extinction conserves the image of God they represent
Answer: This word generally has been understood in only one sense, which is revolutionary. I think it is a duty for us, true Catholics, to not permit this banner to be raised exclusively by the wrong side. This is the presupposition I have when I face this topic of ecology.
2. Question: What are the good aspects of Ecology?
Answer: I can give you several:
A. The effort to preserve the natural environment, animals in danger of becoming extinct, etc. can be understood in a good way as the preservation of the image of God reflected in innumerable aspects of Creation.
B. The efforts made to curb the bad effects of the Industrial Revolution on the natural environment also have a good interpretation. In reality, the pollution from factories and motorized vehicles has caused problems for human health and even an indisputable disequilibrium in the natural elements themselves (the earth, water, air).
It is very worthwhile to preserve the earth from the problems caused by nuclear trash, the pollution of rivers and lakes by chemical elements coming from factories or sewers, the contamination of the oceans caused by oil spills, and the degradation of the air of the whole planet caused by industrial smoke. Some defend also the very disputable theory about the ozone layer that would cause a global warming by raising the temperature in the North Pole and causing a general thaw. I have my reservations regarding it.
It is worthwhile to preserve the purity of magnificent waterfalls
C. If we had the preservation of the image of God in innumerable aspects of Creation (A), and if we had an environment free of the problems caused by the Industrial Revolution (B), I believe we would have better conditions to restore Christendom on earth.
3. Question: What are the bad aspects of Ecology?
Answer: I also can give you many:
A. In the fight against the negative aspects of the Industrial Revolution, today's ecologists employ a method that does not distinguish the remnants of organic society that have still remained in our Western social and economic establishment, such as the right of property, free initiative, the still existent intermediary societies - families, professional groups, universities, hospitals, charitable organizations, the army, etc.
Along with the defense of the environment, the leaders of the green movement attack the ensemble of the Western society as evil. Doing this, they have harmed directly or indirectly these principles and these intermediary organic bodies.
A bird saved from an oil spill on the shores of Spain
B. Besides, in the name of ecology, the ideal of a new universal society is being spread. The principal characteristic of this society is its global property. In the name of environmental protection, it is becoming common to declare this park, that island, this forest, that historic city as the patrimony of humanity.
What is this declaration of common patrimony but the first step to establishing a single universal property? However, this characteristic carries within itself the same defects of state property that governed in Communist countries up until 1989, and that are still in force in many Communist countries that didn’t change their regimes. But there is the aggravating circumstance that this global property naturally tends to multiply the defects of state property.
Chernobyl: a radioactive fallout 400 times higher than Hiroshima
C. With the metamorphosis of Communism after 1989, Communist Parties of various countries changed their names and adopted ecologic programs. According to them, ecology would be the natural continuation of Communism. In fact, they are right because the state property of Communism presents itself as a transitory phase for universal property, property shared by all in a system of self-management. One of the first articles of the Constitution of the old USSR pointed out exactly to this ideal.
D. Similarly, some of the most important leaders of the Liberation Theology have changed their emphasis in fighting for Communism. Today, without renouncing to that fight, many of them, like Brazilians Leonardo Boff and Friar Betto, have taken up the banner of ecology.
Pollution disturbs the equilibrium in nature
E. The green movement also presents itself as the natural outlet for the hippy movement. In the hippy movement, which achieved great notoriety in the '60s and '70s, there were two trajectories:
First, the violent hippy path that wanted to destroy the bourgeois establishment in order to install an anarchical society with Satanist hues. Its most characteristic expression was found in Charles Manson and the famous Sharon Tate crime he inspired.
Second, there was the hippy pacifist trajectory: After having diluted itself and having penetrated into the customs of the whole West, it has reappeared in today's ecologic movements. In my opinion, the movement Greenpeace is a characteristic continuation of the hippy pacifist wave.
F. The defense of animals, plants, the natural elements of life (air, earth, water) can have and frequently has a pantheist substractum. Pantheism affirms that there is not an individual God, transcendent to all creatures, but a collective and immanent god. According to this doctrine, god would be present substantially in everything. All things would partially be divine and would merit a certain degree of adoration. It is common today to hear the expression “Mother Nature,” or Gaia, which is the name the nature considered as a divinity. One of the best known expressions of this Pantheism is Buddhism, which is finding increasing acceptance in the West.
Thus, ecology is also a vehicle for a conception of the universe and a cult of nature different from what we are accustomed to. These conceptions are highly revolutionary. If you go in the Internet to the Global Ecovillage Network you can see that along with ecology it is promoting Buddhism.
A kind of altar divinizing the earth was set up at the opening ceremony
of the 2002 Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa
Actualite des Religions, October 2002
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