While some people believe religious views to be aloof to environmental woes, in many cases it’s an unfair assessment. In nearly all religious texts, from the Torah to the Judeo-Christian Bible to the Qoran, there is a call to be stewards of the land, caring for and protecting the gifts given to followers of their faith. Also included are many Easterns beliefs, such as Buddhism and Paganism, with whom a reverence for nature is paramount.
Religion and the Environment
When it comes to religion and the environment, beliefs are often unjustly criticized (when it’s hypocrisy that should be to blame, instead).
I am no theologian, so instead of attempting to explain each religion and its stance on environmental issues, I’m simply going to point out a variety of texts and resources which support religious and spiritual environmentalism.
In all matters moderation is desirable. If a thing is carried to excess, it will prove a source of evil.
Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I undertake to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the lord has done this. In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.
Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.
Everything in the universe belongs to the Lord. Therefore take only what you need, that is set aside for you. Do not take anything else, for you know to whom it belongs.
Devote thyself single-mindedly to the Faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah.
Ahimsa or nonviolence is not only non-killing, it also means that one’s attitude must be of maitri (amity) and peace. The real meaning of ahimsa is maitri. There are thought to be countless jivas, life or life forms, that populate the earth, air, water and are present all around us. How are we to behave towards these? With maitri.
For in respect of the fate of man and the fate of beast, they have one and the same fate: as the one dies so dies the other;
Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God.
It’s inspiring and encouraging to know that despite major religious differences and the strife it often causes we can still find a common thread in our lives and our care of the Earth.