Are we at war with nature?
Are we at war with nature? E. O. Wilson thinks so. In his newest book, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth, he offers this intriguing definition of nature: “Nature is that part of the original environment and its life forms that remains after the human impact. Nature is all on planet Earth that has no need of us and can stand alone” (15). I.e., nature is what has survived the global encroachment of the human race. Is he right?
To support his premise, he cites the “stunning contrast” that exists in Brazil between the rainforests and the surrounding non-rainforest habitats that have been cleared and developed by humans. In the western Brazilian state of Rondonia, for example, entomologists have recorded 1,600 kinds of butterflies in a few square kilometers. In nearby pastures converted from rainforest by logging and burning, “there may be fifty species” that flutter across the “developed” land. “The same disproportion is true for mammals, birds, frogs, spiders, ants beetles, fungi, and other organisms, including, with a vengeance, thousands of species of trees and countless life forms that dwell in the canopy” (24).
Is E. O. Wilson right? Are we humans in the unchecked process of systematically eliminating ecosystems and life forms that can never be recovered on this planet again? And if that’s true, what about the Christian community? Are we nature’s great defenders or its unwitting detractors (even destroyers)? How proactive are those who declare their faith in an intelligent Creator in preserving his creation?
Or to put in the vernacular of the conservation movement, how “green” are you and I?
But why should I be “green” when the earth is so near its end? Wilson is befuddled with that reasoning: “ . . . perplexing is the widespread conviction among Christians that the Second Coming is imminent, and that therefore the condition of this planet is of little consequence. . . . For those who believe this form of Christianity, the fate of ten million other life forms indeed does not matter” (6).
But does it matter to you and me? In “Green Google,” our study today, we ponder the trumpet call of the Creator to defend his creation. Of all people on earth, shouldn’t creationists who celebrate the Creator on his seventh-day Sabbath be leading the movement to save creation, irrespective of when Christ returns?
Or does “the fate of ten million other life forms” really not matter that much to us either?
“Pastor, tell me I am wrong!” is Wilson’s plea (6). Is he?