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Environmental Madness (III)

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Introduction

The Book of Genesis could not have stated more clearly God’s command for man to fill the earth and subdue it. This is roughly what humanity has done over the millennia. But now, in the 21st century, we find ourselves at the apex of a whole arsenal of doctrines and attitudes contrary to God’s Commandments.

It was in this context that an all-out campaign to “save”  nature has spread throughout the world. That this is a good goal in itself makes it easier to convince people to join the  environmentalist campaign, just as long as it is carefully presented and  avoid arousing suspicions. But annoying insistence and obvious exaggeration end up by raising suspicions, and many sensible people smelled a rat. Questions, resistance and opposition quickly expanded. And, albeit stonewalled by the mainstream media around the world, dissenting voices have grown louder and louder.

Part One of this book contains statements by renowned scientists from Brazil and many other countries. Together, these dissenting voices clearly debunk the false allegations by radical and sectarian environmentalists and go even further by showing the evil intentions behind their campaign.

Part Two deals with a problem specific to Brazil, where the offensive by sectarian environmentalists is leading to a legal “freeze” of its territory, to the detriment of agricultural enterprises and with dire consequences for the economy and for the nation’s well-being in the near future. It will also analyze some errors and absurdities about to be imposed through the Brazilian Forest Code reform legislation.

Chapter I
A Truly Sectarian Environmentalism

Understood in its correct meaning, environmentalism is the preservation of nature and its elements – earth, water and air – in order to favor a healthy life for plants, animals, and particularly men.

As we read in Genesis, ever since Creation God ordained nature to serve man. As they reproduce, plants and animals serve as food for man. However, God established arduous work as a punishment for Adam’s sin: “My elect will eat the fruit of the work of their hands” (Is. 65: 17-25). As a consequence of sin, nature became hostile and must be dominated by man with the skills and talents that God gave him. This domination requires knowing nature’s rules, laws and secrets in order to use all its resources wisely. This is the utilitarian aspect of nature, which is transcended from the metaphysical point of view but does dispense or reduce human effort.

Montalembert
Montalembert

The well-known motto ora et labora, practiced and disseminated by Benedictine monks since the sixth century, set in motion the civilizing process that changed Europe. Indeed, when properly understood the metaphysical vision of the universe helps men to mobilize all their energies in order to attain perfection. In the nineteenth century, the great historian Montalembert paid tribute to those monks for the great agricultural work they had carried out: “It is impossible to forget how skillfully they took advantage of vast, uninhabited and uncultivated lands (one fifth of the whole territory of England) covered with forests and surrounded by swamps.” [1] Indeed, such were most of the lands the monks occupied, partly because they sought more withdrawn and inaccessible places that favored life in solitude, and partly because that is what lay donors offered them. By clearing forests for cultivation and housing, they were careful to plant trees and conserve forests as much as possible.

How the Catholic Church Built Western CivilizationIn his book How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, American historian Thomas Woods, analyzing the marshes of Southampton, England, gives a particularly striking example of the monks’ salutary influence upon their physical environment. An expert describes what this region was like in the seventh century, before the foundation of the Abbey of Thorney:

Thomas Woods
Thomas Woods

“It was nothing but a vast morass. The fens in the seventh century were probably like the forests at the mouth of the Mississippi or the swamp shores of the Carolinas. It was a labyrinth of black, wandering streams; broad lagoons, morasses submerged every spring-tide; vast beds of reed and sedge and fern; vast copses of willow, alder and gray poplar, rooted in the floating peat, which was swallowing up slowly, all-devouring, yet all-preserving, the forests of fir and oak, ash and poplar, hazel and yew, which had once grown in that low, rank soil. Trees torn down by flood and storm floated and lodged in rafts, damming the waters back upon the land. Streams bewildered in the forests changed their channels, mingling silt and sand with the black soil of the peat. Nature left to herself ran into wild riot and chaos more and more, till the whole fen became one dismal swamp.”

William of Malmesbury
William of Malmesbury

Five centuries later, this is how William of Malmesbury (c. 1096-1143) described the area:

​“It is a counterfeit of Paradise, where the gentleness and purity of heaven appear already to be reflected. In the midst of the fens rise groves of trees which seem to touch the stars with their tall and slender tops; the charmed eye wanders over a sea of verdant herbage, the foot which treads the wide meadows meets with no obstacle in its path. Not an inch of land as far as the eye can reach lies uncultivated. Here the soil is hidden by fruit trees; there by vines stretched upon the ground or trailed on trellises. Nature and art rival each other, the one supplying all that the other forgets to produce. O deep and pleasant solitude! Thou hast been given by God to the monks, so that their mortal life may daily bring them nearer to heaven.”[2]

Thus, the Catholic Church converted and civilized barbarian peoples, teaching them to cultivate the soil and preserve nature with wisdom and a desire for perfection.

The Catholic metaphysical vision must not be confused with that of certain pantheistic sects that deify nature. For a Catholic, Creation must first of all be contemplated. From a small rose petal to a grandiose sunset, nature is beautiful in its details and especially as a whole.

St. Thomas Aquinas names contemplation of nature’s greatness, beauty, and order as the fourth way of knowing God. The Psalmist chants: “The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Ps. 19:1). Even nature’s horrors are useful to serve as a contrast between the beautiful and the ugly, vice with virtue.

Both man and nature have been assaulted by pollution resulting from industrialization and rapid urbanization dictated by a modernity which has broken with the values of the past while panting to enjoy the promises of technology. Consequently, new environmental proposals for the defense of nature are presented and advertised by mainstream media, world leaders and international organizations like the UN. Unfortunately, a new ideology and religion lurk behind much of this movement in defense of nature. Backed with a mixture of archaic pseudoscience and pagan philosophies, this new religion seeks to justify and establish an egalitarian and neo-tribal society.

To clarify this matter, let us take the example of a polluted river (murky waters like those where the devil likes to fish). The Tietê River, roughly 630 miles long, crosses almost the whole state of São Paulo, Brazil. It starts on the slopes of the Serra do Mar mountain range and flows into the interior, emptying into the Paraná River. This makes it one of the many rivers in southern and southeastern Brazil that do not run directly to the Atlantic despite being born only 13 miles from the coast.

In the Tupi Indian language, tietê means “real water.” In the 1920’s and 30’s the river was used for fishing and sports activities; but with increasing urbanization, in the São Paulo metropolitan area it went through a process of degradation due to industrial pollution and domestic sewage.

In the 1990’s, a major advertising campaign compared the polluted Tietê with the limpid and unpolluted waters of the River Thames in London, which had gone through a process of recovery since the 1950s. Faced with popular pressure, in 1991 a program to clean up the river was begun with the intense participation of civil organizations. Today, the Tietê Project is the largest environmental restoration program in the country.

Although twenty years later the cleaning up of the Tietê is still far short of the desired levels, , progress can already be seen. At the beginning of the program the percentage of treated sewage in relation to collected wastewater in the metropolitan region of São Paulo did not exceed 20%. In 2004, this percentage was up to 63% (including primary and secondary treatment). This rate is expected to reach 90% by the end of the program.[3]

In the 1990s, the pollution streak on the Tietê River covered over 62 miles. It is interesting to note that nature itself has been gradually cleaning up the waters along this path, making them once again potable and even suitable for fishing.. Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira mentioned this compelling example at a lecture for TFP members and volunteers. He underscored the need for action to clean up the river, but also made it clear that nature is endowed with an extraordinary capacity for regeneration and purification. As we will see below, this is altogether different from the catastrophe-obsessed hysteria of certain environmentalists.

[1] Thomas E. Woods Jr., How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Regnery Publishing, Washington D.C. 2005, p. 30.

[2] Idem, p. 31

[3] http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Tiet%C3%AA

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