I had no idea that some part of the very religious right had become so organized and stark in the attacks of people concerned about environmental health.
Much of this debate seems to centre on the interpretation of one of the most contentious verses in the Bible – the so-called Dominion Mandate, or Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them [Adam and Eve], and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the Earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the Earth. An organisation in the US called the Cornwall Alliance has intentionally and prominently positioned itself at the very heart of this debate. It describes itself as "a coalition of clergy, theologians, religious leaders, scientists, academics, and policy experts committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development". Its board of advisors features many religious leaders and thinkers, but includes scientists such as the climate sceptic Dr Roy Spencer. Dr. E. Calvin Beisner, its spokesman, is a prominent media figure in the US, appearing on shows such as Fox News' Glenn Beck, where he dispenses his harsh criticism of environmentalism. To better understand this mindset, I recently approached Beisner with an interview request. He agreed, but said that he wanted me to first read the Cornwall Alliance's latest book called Resisting the Green Dragon: Dominion not Death. Written by James Wanliss, who describes himself as a "Christian physicist", the book is built on the premise that "without doubt one of the greatest threats to society and the church today is the multifaceted environmentalist movement". It's hard to summarise any book in a few sentences, but here are a few snippets to give a flavour of the book's tone: The Litany of the Green Dragon provides some certainty for people without God, who drift steadily from their rational moorings, and for whom there is an increasing sense of separation anxiety... We humans are special creatures, in a class of our own, quite separate from, and superior to, trees and animals... The Green Dragon must die…[There] is no excuse to become befuddled by the noxious Green odors and doctrines emanating from the foul beast...If we or they must die I know who I'd pick.