Mark Penninga, Guest Column – Interior News – February 15, 2012 : The Bulkley Valley is a very religious area. The number of churches is disproportional to most other B.C. towns. But religion comes in other forms too. Environmentalism, though often portrayed as empirical and far from the realm of spirituality, displays the tenets of a religion. In fact, one could make a strong case in arguing that the Environmentalism we see being promoted in the Bulkley Valley and much of the western world today has become one of the most dominant and least tolerant religions in the West.
Wait a minute! Isn’t Environmentalism an objective study of nature and humanity’s relationship with the world? Although that may indeed be a component, there is much more than that. In Al Gore’s book “An Inconvenient Truth,” which has become a type of Scriptures for many in this religion, we get a glimpse of how environmentalism goes far beyond the objective. “The climate crisis also offers us the chance to experience what very few generations in history have had the privilege of knowing: a generational mission; the exhilaration of a compelling moral purpose; a shared and unifying cause…. When we rise, we will experience an epiphany as we discover that this crisis is not really about politics at all. It is a moral and spiritual challenge.”
Religions are riddled with doctrine, whether the adherents profess and verbalize them or not. A central doctrine of environmentalism is that the world is fragile. Nature is in a precarious balance. Human interference is almost always negative. This stems from its particular belief in origins. One question that must be answered by all religions is where did we come from? The Evolutionism which grounds Environmentalism points to a world that has been formed by chance. The world is fragile because we are all on our own in this cosmic cloud of the universe. From this we get a resulting ethical code: If humanity does not rise up and take control of the planet, we can be sure of eternal damnation….I mean warming. To add to that, humanity is just another species among many. There is no reason why we should have a special place in the world (how this is juggled with a belief in human rights is a fascinating contradiction).
Contrast this with Christianity: the world is a resilient creation, made by a caring God in such a wonderful way that it can adapt to astounding changes and still thrive. Humanity was created in God’s image and distinguished from the rest of creation. We were given the mandate of developing and caring for the world. Although many have misused this belief to justify great harm to the environment, this runs contrary to the biblical principle of stewardship. We have been entrusted with the amazing creation. Harming it is a violation of that trust.
What astounds me is that environmentalism is trumpeted through the airwaves of the CBC and held up by the likes of our local MP, as if it is an objective science beyond repute. Billions of tax-dollars are spent promoting it, our children are indoctrinated in it through the public education system, and American special-interest groups infiltrate Canada’s public policy debates to push it.
When a different religion makes a contribution to Canada’s public policy debate, it is generally ridiculed and told to not mix religion and politics. But all Canadians, even those who claim to not be religious, have a worldview that guides our actions. And if we care about the decisions that our society makes, we all mix our “religion” with politics. Environmentalism is no different.
Let’s stop pretending that environmentalism is objective and beyond reproach. It’s High Priests (David Suzuki, Al Gore, etc), Adherents (many in the Bulkley Valley), and Institutions (UN IPCC, Green Peace, etc) ought to be critiqued the same way we do all others who seek to make decisions for society.
Mark Penninga is the Executive Director of ARPA Canada, a Christian political advocacy group. After a decade away he and his family recently moved to the Bulkley Valley from the Vancouver area.