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Science, Religion, & Law

I’ve been reading a very interesting (but terrifying) book off-and-on since I received it as a gift for Christmas. It’s called Nature’s Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age by Mary Christina Wood.  The point is that modern environmental law is broken and is hurting us, so we need a new way of regulating natural resources that protects life on Earth (her idea is to switch back to to the Public Trust Doctrine).

I flipped to a page and landed on this quote regarding the latest partnership between science, religion, and law:

A striking environmental partnership has formed between scientists and the religious community . . . . [Furthermore] religion and law can find powerful synergy on behalf of ecological protection when secular leaders voice a legal mandate recognized also as a spiritual command by all major religions.  Remarkably, the world’s major religions appear to observe a sacred trusteeship that, in faith terms, mirrors the legal iteration of the public trust.  Perhaps this commonality should not be surprising, given that the public trust traces back to natural law that remains deeply infused with religious, spiritual, and moral tradition springing from the basic intuition of humankind.

I am excited to see a faith-based coalition for climate action form in my hometown of Buffalo, New York.  The Climate Justice Coalition has an Interfaith Climate Group where many different religions meet to talk about what actions they can take in the age of climate change.  When they were first starting the coalition, various faith representatives presented their views on humankind’s responsibility to take care of the Earth, and now the group is working on specific action steps to walk on that path: (1) using less resources at their places of worship, (2) living more simple lives, (3) lobbying for their values, and (4) investing/divesting.  It’s a great initiative and I believe that their efforts can and should be replicated elsewhere.

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