There is a tendency among policymakers to acknowledge the role of faith in God while in practice ignoring the element of faith. In no area is this more obvious than the efforts to fix what has broken in the infinitely complex mechanism that is God's own creation: Nature and the Environment (in which the human being as the very culmination of God's creation takes pride of place). True environmental stewardship does more than take a bow to God's original creation of the world. Rather, true environmental stewardship acknowledges the all-important and ongoing role that God places in the healthy functioning of the planet. Our task? To understand His will for the world and implement it, and in so doing protect and heal the planet.
Lately I've been getting questions about the religious tradition upon which this newly released work is based. I want to be clear: The book GODless Environmentalism: The Failure of Environmental Protection and Our Hidden Power to Save the Planet is based on ancient biblical sources and related sources from the ancient oral tradition, most of which date from the time of ancient Jewish religious sources dating back to before, during, and immediately after the First and Second Temple periods in Jerusalem. This makes the book of interest to Jews (especially Torah Jews interested in exploring the roots of their ancient faith as it relates to planet earth), Christians (both Catholic and Protestant all shades in between, from Evangelical) and Mormons/LDS members whose interests in theology include discussions of what the latter sometimes refer to as the Old Testament. The intention was to write the book in such a way as to be of interest to both those with an environmental policy background and those with a theological background interested in the ways in which a rigorous stewardship approach fits into environmental protection, ecology and environmentalism.
Environmental stewardship isn't just a slogan. It is not based on an "anthropocentric" view of the world, but rather acknowledges that there is a genuine divine origin to the planet. That means that the One Power who created it did so for humanity and the world's creatures to connect to that Power itself, and the One who created the world is also the One who continues to maintain it. To use the world to connect to that Infinite Power and to do so by using the beautiful planet given to us for divine purposes is the concept of true environmental stewardship.
The main difference between a spiritual environmentalism based on the God Nexus and Godless environmentalism is the recognition of a connection - a divine connection between planet earth and a higher non-physical reality. That's the faith-based approach that is reconnecting the earth to its Creator, the divine source that both formed the earth and maintains it at every moment.
It's easy to deal with fuzzy kinds of "spirituality" and environmental protection. The divine can be used as a meaningless rubber stamp for anything, including protecting nature. But true spiritual environmentalism is something based on a genuine commitment to spirituality -- connecting the soul -- and a sensitivity to the world around us. It is also specific and real not vague and theoretical. This is the kind of spiritual environmental protection that Godless Environmentalism: The Failure of Environmental Protection and Our Hidden Power to Save the Planet represents, and that's what the God Nexus the book advocates represents. There's nothing fuzzy about it.
The world is an infinitely complex, intricate place. The deeper scientists probe, the more questions are raised. We have realized that there are no easy answers. The butterfly effect is short-hand for the following insight: There are no easy solutions. Dealing with one risk gives rise to new risks. Push a button here, and a ripple effect that is totally unpredictable moves across the planet. That's where faith-based environmental protection comes in: For an infinitely intricate world, there's no way around connecting ourselves and our planet to the One who creates and maintains that world. Technology is fine, but is no substitute for reestablishing the SPIRITUAL CONNECTION TO THE PLANET.
The question has been asked whether the approach of Godless Environmentalism is "anti-technology." The answer is emphatically: It is not anti-technology. Rather, it is pro-God-Nexus. That is, the goal is to realize the spiritual foundations on which the world was created and is maintained. Technology has important uses, but it can only be used successfully when used together with a recognition of the spiritual pillars on which the environment and nature, and with them the human being, stand.
Since the book Godless Environmentalism: The Failure of Environmental Protection and Our Hidden Power to Save the Planet was released recently, a lot of questions have been asked about the meaning of a "spiritual" approach to environmental protection. So we wanted to be clear about what is a spiritual approach and what is not.
There is a tendency to use spirituality to justify rather than explain. In other words, we start from a non-spiritual goal (or goals) and try to graft spirituality onto that. That's not spirituality, but a self-serving smokescreen.
Rather, a spiritual approach to environmental protection begins with the premise that there is a spiritual, or divine, foundation to the world and uses that lens to view environmental protection. In our view, that spiritual foundation is ancient and omnipresent. In using that spiritual lens, much like looking at a distant object via a telescope or a tiny object under a microscope, we are able to reveal the hidden details and the broader context of those details that we would be unable to discover without that "spiritual" lens.
This was the goal of the book, what we tried to add to the policy debate.