I happen to be a dirt-worshipping tree-hugger. A Druid, and a Pagan. That’s a personal choice — it’s not something I’d push on anyone else. I’d even go so far as to say it wouldn’t be a good idea for most people to become Druids or Pagans.
But my main concern for the environment is not as a Druid, nor as a Pagan, but simply as a matter of practical common-sense: if we poison the water, we die of thirst. If we destroy the land, we starve. If we fill the air with choking fumes, we suffocate.
Not some spotted owl or unlovely fish. I eat birds and fish: they’re prey. But I also understand that they are a measuring stick for how much stress I’m putting on the land and water and air with my eating habits. When my eating habits begin to alter the landscape, I need to find a way to scale back my eating. Because I’m killing myself.
Here’s the simple truth of the matter: the spotted owls and unlovely fish and wolves and pandas and bears will do just fine after humans have gone extinct. Life will continue even if we humans royally crap on the earth. It will just do so without us.
My principal concern with the environment is what used to be called conservative, in the sense that any old-school farmer or rancher would have recognized: don’t destroy the land, because in the end, the land is the only thing of value that you have. Don’t destroy the things that live on the land and keep it healthy. Tend it, treat it with care, treat it with respect as something you don’t fucking understand, so that it will still be fruitful for the next generation, and the one after that, and the one after that.
Somehow, in this decade, that conservative sentiment makes me a liberal.
Now personally, I go beyond this principal concern. As a Druid, I think that the environment has a lot to teach us about how to live as humans. I think that the idea of approaching the natural world with a sense of awe and reverence is useful and beautiful and spiritually appropriate.
I don’t demand that anyone agree with me on this.
However, when I find people who think they can hasten the return of Jesus by helping Satan to destroy the world through environmental devastation, I cannot help but conclude that they are insane. As in stark, raving, drooling mad. I was once a Christian, a long time ago, and I don’t recall Jesus ever saying that he would delay his return until his followers had made a big enough mess of things. I have heard something like that from certain modern Christians who appear to be outright enemies of appropriate environmental stewardship. Like James Watt, Secretary of the Interior under Ronald Reagan.
Even the secular profit-seekers who poison other people’s wells are clearly morons or sociopaths.
As a twenty-first century “liberal” I promise I will stop whining about the environment as soon as we stop shitting where we eat. More specifically, when the profit-minded stop shitting where I eat.
But not before.