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Faith and the Environment

Lynn CameronMagdy TawfikSharon Barnes
Lynn Cameron
Magdy Tawfik
Idaho Falls
Sharon Barnes
Idaho Falls

"If I go back in our religious tradition, biblically based, one of the key things that I find is "multiply and replenish the earth." There back in the Old Testament, early on. And I puzzle over "multiply." That’s not really hard to figure out. Religion has done that pretty well. "Replenish the earth" — I’m not really sure what that meant. To me it means, "think long term." And I think specifically in our culture we think way short term." (Lynn Cameron)

"I think the Bible teaches us also that after Jesus conducted the miracle of feeding the 5,000 he asks the disciples to collect what was left over. And that tells us that waste, as society handles it now, is not a godly concept. So really being conservative and being not wasteful and respect all our resources." (Magdy Tawfik)

"[I]n Buddhism, there [is the term] "Esho Funi," which literally means the inseparability of man and his environment. As such, as stewards of this ship that we are on in the planetary system, we are each ecosystems in and of ourselves. And Buddhism teaches that, that it is all interconnected." (Sharon Barnes)

Are human beings a part of nature, as western science and some major religions believe, or are human beings apart from nature, directed by God to have dominion over it? How people of faith answer this question helps shape their thinking on the environment.

Environmental issues are difficult enough to deal with at home. They become even harder to grasp when applied to lands half a globe away. Whether a rain forest in Brazil is cleared for cattle grazing and what effect the loss of forest might have on global warming may seem to be purely economic or scientific questions. But many people of faith are coming to see them as issues involving core religious values.

Read what what else our salon participants said about faith and the environment.

Human relation to nature

Corporate responsibility