Acton Institute Powerblog

God and Man in the Environmental Debate

Share this article:
Join the Discussion:

In this week’s Acton Commentary, Jay Richards looks at the ingrained tendency of many environmentalists to view man’s place in nature as fundamentally destructive. For people of faith, this is simply bad theology. Jay examines this anthropological error, and highlights the work of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance, a new coalition that is working to deepen religious reflection on environmental questions.

Environmental policies founded on faulty fundamentals can lead to disastrous consequences, as Jay points out.

Every environmental policy implemented by government authority, for instance, stems from someone’s views about the nature of man and man’s place in nature. If those views are anti-human, the policy probably will be anti-human as well. Consider the ban on DDT in the 1970s. The ban, which in hindsight we know was misguided, has resulted in the deaths of more than a million people a year. The vast majority of these deaths have been among the poor in developing countries.

Read the full text of “God and Man in the Environmental Debate” here.

The ISA has also published a new paper on environmental stewardship that includes the perspectives of science, ethics and theology. This paper should be required reading for people of faith who are concerned about the environment.

John Couretas John Couretas is Director of Communications, responsible for print and online communications at the Acton Institute. He has more than 20 years of experience in news and publishing fields. He has worked as a staff writer on newspapers and magazines, covering business and government. John holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in the Humanities from Michigan State University and a Master of Science Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University.


  • bette billet

    How does one join the ISA?

  • John P. Kelly

    I believe that the chief enemy of proper develpment is the local city council. Too often, they are made up of local buusiness men whose chief decisions discorage competition and increase the number of customers.

  • A section compiled by Matt Donnelly at Science & Theology News calls the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance’s recent formation a continuation of “the recent and laudable trend of faith-based organizations making a serious attempt to grapple with

  • Steve Goulet

    The elephant in the room: Right wing politics and religion are seemingly joined at the hip. Right wing politics shuns environmental responsibility, and that overshadows the environmental stewardship reflected in theology. Sad but true.

    Keep up the good work…

  • R. Balmes

    Keep going this direction !

    Actually one could make the case that only christians are the real environmentalists.

    Maybe you could ask your correspondant whether he is willing to die since he is one of the too many on earth…. maybe he changes his mind.