On April 22, we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day in Seattle. Efforts for the protection of the environment have come a long way since Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were singing: Teach your children well… Unfortunately their father’s hell has not by any means gone by. Environmentalism has become big business and a means for personal glorification of those who hunger for power.
Greens like to quote the famous ecological speech about Mother Earth, Sister Sky and Brother Buffalo, by Chief Seattle’s , which, sadly, was never given by him in this form, but was dramatized by Professor Ted Perry for the film Home. The Chief’s true speech which can only be reconstructed from notes, can hardly be claimed by neo-pagan romantics. It is a touching, rhetorical masterpiece expressing resignation, distrust, and bewilderment . However, it’s main concern are the Duwanish and Suquamish people, not their “Mother Earth” which is never mentioned, neither is the famous “web of life”. The land of the Suquamish was sacred to them because of their ancestors who lived and died there. Chief Seattle’s request of the White Man is to allow his people access to visit their ancestors burial sites, not to take care of the land for its own sake. His concern is for his people, living and dead, not for the land for its own sake. Chief Seattle has been called a “manufactured prophet” just as global warming has been called a manufactured environmental disaster (see links below). There is fraud and misrepresentation all around us!
The greatest evil caused by the lies and halftruths disseminated by scientists, politicians, the media, public education and Hollywood is the loss of trust in our leaders, in those who should guide us in our conservation efforts. Environmental problems are real and urgently need to be addressed. Had it not been for the environmental movement, there would not be a single old growth forest or salmon left in the Pacific Northwest. A walk along the awesome Quinault Rain Forest Trail and a single glance up into the crown of a 400-year-old Douglas fir, will make anybody thankful for the environmental movement.
You want to teach your children well how to treat the earth they are going to inherit. You are looking for someone they can look to for guidance and inspiration, and for some basic principles to apply. How can you as parents discern the truth among all the fraud?
Try Pope Benedict XVI! GASP! You may believe the head of the Catholic Church to be the “Father of all Lies” and the Church to be the “blank of Babylon”. However, before you dismiss the Pope altogether, take a moment to examine how you came to know about him and the Church. Was it perhaps through the same news channels that told you Chief Seattle had delivered an ecological speech and that carbon monoxide emissions are causing global warming? Before you join the crowd and scream sex scandals, please read and consider what Pope Benedict has to say on environmental issues.
You will find that the Pope’s ideas are based on faith in a creator, a faith that makes him answerable to an authority higher than himself and therefore requires ethical behavior. You will find that Pope Benedict, as well as Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople and other Christian leaders hold an important idea in common with Chief Seattle, the idea that mankind and the earth we live on have a creator to whom we humans are accountable and who requires integrity, honesty, concern for others and, very unpopular, personal sacrifice. In contrast to some other religions, Christianity does not limit the practice of these virtues to its own kind but requires their application to all of mankind! Yes, there are fake Christians and Chief Seattle must have met quite a few of those. There may be a mouse in the cookie jar, but that does not make him a cookie.(Papa Ten Boom in the Hiding Place) Throw out the mouse and eat the real cookies!
Here’s a cookie to wet your appetite: Message of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, January 1, 2010. Here are some highlights:
Quoting his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict identifies the current “ecological crisis” as primarily “ethical in nature”…Our present crises – be they economic, food-related, environmental or social are ultimately moral crises, and all of them are interrelated…” Considering the frauds mentioned above, the Pope may have a point. To amend this moral/ecological crisis, which certainly exists, even if the theory of man-made climate change has been disproven, asks all of us, individuals and nations to adopt a “… lifestyle marked by sobriety and solidarity… .” We may not “…disregard the growing phenomenon of ‘environmental refugees’, people who are forced by degradation of their natural habitat to forsake it – and often their possessions as well – in order to face dangers and uncertainties of forced displacement.”
The Pope bases his environmental philosophy on the Christian faith derived from Scripture in which man is created, not as an equal to, but as steward over the earth with the duty to “care for it and cultivate it.” Christian principles always begin with the individual person because, as Pope Benedict pointed out in his inaugural mass,”…each of us is a thought of God…willed, loved and necessary.” Therefore ” …our duties towards the environment flow from our duties towards the person, considered both individually and in relation to others…the degradation of nature is closely linked to the cultural models shaping human coexistence…when human ecology is respected within society, environmental ecology also benefits. Young people cannot be asked to respect the environment if they are not helped, within families and society as a whole, to respect themselves… ” The pontiff deems it necessary, therefore,” …to reaffirm the inviolability of human life at every stage and in every condition.” How can we expect our children to respect frog eggs when human embryos are thrown in the garbage? The Pope deplores ecocentrism and biocentrism which “…eliminate the difference of identity and worth between the human person and other living beings. The Church sees man in “… the role of steward and administrator with responsibility over creation, a role which man must certainly not abuse but also one which he may not abdicate.” It is because of this responsibility as stewards that we are asked to “…examine our life-style and the prevailing models of consumption and production.” In other words, we are to abandon our greed for comfort and luxury in order to adopt sober and simple lives. This has been the Church’s teaching since the beginning, before climate change was ever thought of. The principle idea here is to live according to the teachings of Christ and the rest will follow. You will find very similar if not identical teachings in the work of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople whom the media have honored with the title the “Green Patriarch”.
“Each of us is a thought of God…willed, loved and necessary.” These words certainly boost a person’s self-esteem, do they not? Parents, if you want to teach your children well, if you want to teach them how to treat the earth, find someone whose primary concern is mankind’s and thus your children’s welfare. People who love and respect their neighbor will also respect the earth. Pope Benedict and Patriarch Bartholomew are highly recommended.
Info on climate change: Alan Cheetham on the Scientific Method and global warming. Antonio Zichichi on global warming.
Chief Seattle’s speech according to the notes of Dr. Henry A. Smith who was present when it was delivered.
Picture by Frits Ahlefeldt
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