Religion and Conservation

About 80% of the world’s population is religious.  Even though it might not always be apparent, religion often serves as a unifying value of people.  Many religions have traditional and ethical ideals that sanctify the earth and its resources, thus linking mankind’s religious life and the natural system of the world.  With this much of the world professing a faith, religion could play a tremendous role in conservation.

All of the world’s major religions seem to be sensitive to the importance of the earth and conservation.  The Islamic Qur’an warns against damaging behaviors towards the planet, “But  seek,  through  that  which Allah has  given  you,  the  home  of  the  Hereafter;  and [yet],  do  not  forget  your  share  of  the  world.  And  do  good  as Allah has  done  good  to  you. And  desire  not  corruption  in  the  land.  Indeed, Allah does  not  like  corrupters (Qur’an 28:77).”  The Prophet Muhammad’s teachings also advocate for Muslim participation in the “guardianship” of the land.

The Hindu’s dedicate an entire hymn to the earth, Prithvi Sukta, in the Atharva Veda.  The faith includes many Veda deities that mostly relate to an aspect of the planet.  A system of medicine and healing, Ayurveda, is saturated with references to the environment.  Ayurvedic therapies are holistic and often include herbal medicines, food and lifestyle adaptations along with many meditative approaches that would be severely altered without the environment.

The beginning of the Christian Bible describes the creation of the earth and remarks of how precious and good God saw it to be.  Genesis 2:15 states, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  Despite the long-believed notion that God gave the earth for human use, Christians around the world are realizing that God gave man the task of caring for and protecting the earth and its inhabitants not extorting them past their capacities.

Most of the world’s religions have conservation ideals within their theology.  Ancient religions revered forests, waters, animals, etc. as sacred places; however, with modern times, many of these holy lands have been re-purposed to embrace the unofficial religion of consumerism.  As the warnings of environmental crises flood the news headlines everywhere, one can’t help but think that embracing consumerism is sustainable in any possible way.  Religion has been around for centuries uniting people together under faithful ideals.  Also, religion gives key concepts for sustainability that often strict, scientific approaches cannot: a global perception, a code of ethics and morals, and a model of limits.  With hundreds of years of experience and several efforts underway, I believe that religion can be used to bolster humans’ relationship to the environmental world.

2 thoughts on “Religion and Conservation

  1. Pingback: Batons Passing, Generation To Generation « Raxa Collective

  2. Pingback: Extinction And Its Discontents | Raxa Collective

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