All creatures great and small


Emma Duncan

Why has humanity done so much harm to biodiversity in recent centuries and to what extent is it within our power to curtail this process?  In her introduction to a special report on biodiversity in a recent issue of the Economist, Emma Duncan claims that in the story of human development, people acted out of “natural” interest in destroying other creatures that were competitors for scarce resources.  “Religion” provided moral sanction for the destruction: the Bible gave humans dominion over all other creatures.  However, Duncan believes that through both economic growth and the spread of the new green-consciousness humans have the power to stop the destruction of species. 

Duncan’s article not only helps Christians to be informed on the status of global biodiversity, it also gives them a sense of how Christianity is often viewed to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution when it comes to environmental issues. 

Does the Bible grant humankind the right to use and abuse the rest of creation as humans see fit?  How might the Marketplace Institute's approach to the environment offer a corrective to this perspective? 

Could the biblical command to care for creation provide a better motivation for the protection of biodiversity than pure human interest, to which Duncan and others appeal? 

Source: The Economist

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