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Environmentalism and Pagan Religion

By Gus diZerega

[Snip] The greatest conflict between most thoughtful Pagans and modern society is our relationship with the other-than-human world. The reason is simple.

Modern society limits the moral universe to other human beings. A tiny fringe suggests expanding moral standing to include the “right kinds” of animals. Everything else is a tool for human exploitation, a problem, or irrelevant. This attitude is exemplified by ‘free market environmentalists’ claiming buffalo wandering beyond Yellowstone National Park constitute “pollution” (p. 27). But it is also present when people argue we need to preserve “our resources” for future generations.

In my view a coherent Pagan outlook asserts the other-than-human is also the more-than-human. The natural world is not composed simply of resources or what is irrelevant or a problem. We live within a meaningful world of subjects not a meaningless world of objects. We exist within networks of relationships possessing ethical dimensions. So far as we know this view has characterized Pagan belief and much practice since the rise of hunting and gathering societies.

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