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“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, the stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” ― Aldo Leopold
By Brent Fewell
I never weary of great stories like this one, capitalism at work to improve the human condition and sustain our oceans. The Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative is the largest philanthropic commitment to internationally reform fisheries management. This Partnership between Encourage Capital, RARE, and Oceana will help Brazil, Chile and the Philippines sustainably manage their fisheries, enhance food security and strengthen local communities.
Daniel Botkin, , Religion and Nature,anthropogenic climate change,Balance of Nature,biological diversity,Charles Krauthammer,climate change,Earth’s tipping point, ecosystem stability, Encyclical,George Woodwell,homeostasis,James Gustave Speth, Judeo-Christian ethic on nature, Laudato si,Pope Francis
Guest Contributor: Dan Botkin
Throughout my career as an ecological scientist, I have been fascinated
by the connections between the Judeo-Christian religious beliefs and modern environmental science, and have written about this in various scientific articles and several of my books. So I have been especially intrigued that on June 18 the pope published his Encyclical Letter about climate change. It is a fascinating combination of many things, some completely contradictory, some I agree with, some I don’t, but with an overall important impact.
One of the intriguing things Pope Francis writes is
When we speak of the ‘environment’, what we really mean is a relationship existing between nature and the society which lives in it. Nature cannot be regarded as something separate from ourselves or as a mere setting in which we live. We are part of nature, included in it and thus in constant interaction with it. (Encyclical, Paragraph 139).
That people are part of nature, not separate from it, is a point I have emphasized in my writing many times over the years, but has not been a common part of dominant ideas in Western Civilization, which has tended to view people as separate, in a negative way, from nature — a view promoted especially since the beginning of the scientific/industrial age.
The Pope’s Encyclical Letter may seem to many people to be new, novel and unique in the history of religion. But in fact, as long as people have written in Western civilization, they have written about people and nature from a religious and philosophical perspective.
Pope Francis also writes in his new Encyclical Letter about the character of nature, stating, for example,
Frequently, when certain species are exploited commercially, little attention is paid to studying their reproductive patterns in order to prevent their depletion and the consequent imbalance of the ecosystem. (Para. 35), and
Despite the international agreements which prohibit chemical, bacteriological and biological warfare, the fact is that laboratory research continues to develop new offensive weapons capable of altering the balance of nature. (Para. 57).
Before you write that next check to the Sierra Club, consider this sad tale from the State of Maryland. Governor Larry Hogan has been a breath of fresh air in a state that rarely elects a Republican Governor. The Governor is enjoying a "sky-high approval rating" in a very blue state - a 67% approval rating would be phenomenal even in a red state. He's governed as a practical, common-sense leader focused on things that matter most to the state's residents, tax reform, creating jobs, and protecting the environment. Smartly, the Governor tapped my good friend and former boss from U.S. EPA, Ben Grumbles, who serves as Maryland's Secretary of Environment. Even among Democrats, Grumbles is widely regarded as one of read more
I had the pleasure of recently sitting down with Bob Inglis to discuss his views of life, liberty and the state of the GOP. Some may be familiar with Bob and his work since he left Congress, but others probably aren't. Bob is a former six term Congressman from South Carolina's 4th Congressional District (1993-1999 and 2005-2011) who was defeated in the 2010 GOP Primary by the feisty Republican, Trey Gowdy. I had never met Bob, but was intrigued by his story and his mission within the GOP, warning others about the dangers of climate change. It was that mission, however, that ultimately led to his political undoing in 2010 when he told a radio host that he believed humans were contributing read more
I've long argued that the GOP's ceding of environmental issues to the political left was not only bad for the GOP but bad for the environment as well. I'm not suggesting that the party faithful go out and purchase a Prius or put solar panels on our homes, but what I am suggesting is that my party start a serious dialogue on environmental issues, including climate change. Like most millennials, my two teenage daughters care passionately about the environment and have come to understand that Republicans just don't care about the environment. Their dad aside, he's simply a freak of nature who talks way too much about politics. I make no bones about it however - I want my read more
The recent Fox News GOP debate had more lowlights than highlights, but one of the latter was a mention of the water crisis in Flint and the need to do a better job of providing clean water, and elevating the national debate regarding our nation's failing water infrastructure. Bret Baier, one of the moderators, noted that both Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have been to Flint, and asked Sen. Marco Rubio, “Why haven’t GOP candidates done more or talked more about this?" Here is the read more
The story of how Flint, Michigan’s children were poisoned with lead is long, complicated, and filled with human errors in every chapter. Not a single child in this country should ever be exposed to health risks in our drinking water. The fact is five percent of Flint’s children have tested with too high levels of lead in their bodies, and there will be life-long health and learning repercussions because of it. My perspective and opinion on what happened in Flint is informed by my fourteen years experience as a city commissioner and former mayor of a small Michigan city, and my day job as executive director of ConservAmerica, a national conservation organization. The progressive movement in the country rushed to judgment, declaring read more
As one who is unwavering in his support for strong regulations protecting the environment, there are times when I'm confounded by the agencies engaged in rule-making. Take for example EPA's proposed Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) regulation, estimated to cost $9.6B per year, which the Supreme Court struck down last June. New developments suggest the agency may nonetheless be moving forward with the regulation. I link to Susan Dudley's recent article in Forbes this past week titled EPA Ploughs Ahead With $9.6 Billion Mercury Rule, Despite Supreme Court's Concerns. Dudley writes The Environmental Protection Agency is going through the motions of responding to a Supreme Court order requiring it to consider whether a $9.6 billion annual increase in Americans’ electric bills read more
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and positions of their employers or their clients.