Environmentalism as Religion

Topics: Environmentalism, Natural environment, Religion Pages: 5 (1686 words) Published: May 1, 2007
How we discern right and wrong seems to be an inborn instinct, but some of our perceptions seem to be influenced by surrounding people and society. Michael Crichton expresses in his speech that we struggle to determine "which of our perceptions are genuine, and which are false because they are handed down." Crichton believes that the greatest challenge facing mankind is distinguishing fact from fiction and whether the threats we face today are real.

Crichton illustrates his point in the idea of environmentalism. One of his claims is that humans act "sympathetically" towards the environment because it seems to be a constant need now and in the future. Crichton says that we have a past history of not taking care of environment and that even our best efforts go awry. In our secular society, Crichton says that religion cannot be oppressed. Religion will re-appear in a less traditional sense, and Crichton believes that environmentalism has become one of the most powerful religions in the Western world today. He says that environmentalism is a "21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths." The world is the "Eden" which humans have destroyed with pollution, which represents falling from grace and eating from the Tree of Knowledge, and, as a result, judgment day is coming. The audience must accept this religious comparison and believe that today's society is secular and finding comfort in repairing "a paradise, a state of grace ad unity with nature." The audience must also accept that they are "energy sinners" that must seek salvation in sustainability. They must take responsibility to provide the best outcome for humankind and the environment now and in the future.

Crichton claims that environmentalism is a belief that cannot be talked out of people because it is an issue of faith. "Increasingly, it seems facts aren't necessary, because the tents of environmentalism are all about belief." Crichton says it choice of being saved or being a sinners and whose side you're going to choose. The audience must accept that this is not an exaggeration. As evidence, Crichton says that the Earth was never an "Eden," but people still side with "salvation" instead of facing the facts. Crichton gives examples of when the infant mortality was 80%, one woman in six died in childbirth, the average lifespan was 40 years old, and plagues swept across the planet. He says that humans never lived in a state of harmony with an "Eden-like environment." In North America, he said newly arrived people, who crossed the land bridge, started "wiping out hundreds of species of large animals" and "the early peoples of the New World lived in a state of constant warfare." Crichton says only the people who know nothing about the environment have a romantic view of the world as a blissful Eden, and "people who live in nature are not romantic about it at all." Crichton claims that no one wants to experience real nature, and the idea of returning to nature is nothing more than urban talk and fantasy. Crichton says that people killed by forces of nature are a way to "measure the prevalence of fantasy." In a television generation, people expect nature to act the way they want, and the "notion that the natural world obeys its own rules" is a shock to urban westerners that have never experienced true nature. To support this claim, Crichton spoke of a hiking trip he took in the Karakorum Mountains and how his guide spoke about the extreme caution needed when crossing at 3 foot river. If the audience accepts the guide to be a reliable source, the example that the smallest force of nature can have serious consequences shows how urbanized communities underestimate nature's true capabilities. Crichton returns to the idea of environmentalism as religion and explains that the expected "doomsday" is not really a threat. He says that the preachers of environmentalism have made prediction after prediction just to be proven wrong. Crichton gives...
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