Polemics & Exchanges

On Man’s Dominion

In “‘Bless the Lord, All You Works of the Lord’: Nature and the Incarnation” (Views, December 2001), Scott P. Richert asserts that “modern environmentalist thought” seeks to preserve a closed, idyllic system through the exclusion of man.  This is either disingenuous or uninformed; either way, it is a wholly inaccurate characterization of modern environmentalism.  While the Wilderness Society and others lobby to preserve isolated pockets of primordial nature in a sea of urbanization, no serious environmentalist would agree with Mr. Richert that “paradise, it seems, is no place for man.”  Quite the opposite: It has become apparent over the years that only those places that are well known and well loved are likely to be preserved.  In fact, arguably the most tragic event in American conservation history, the damming of Glen Canyon, occurred precisely because the canyon was unknown to all but a small group of prospectors, cattlemen, and river rats.  Any exclusionary tendencies on the part of the conservation community have been pragmatic compromises.  The problem is not humans per se, but the eight billion of us currently sharing this finite sphere (many of whom feel compelled to drive their four-wheelers over a good part of it).

While I agree with Mr. Richert that Christians...

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