Thursday, 7 February 2008

Fundamentalist religion and conservation

Conservative religion and conservation are rarely sympathetic. As the rest of the world becomes more and more enlightened, it often appears that the USA becomes more deeply entrenched in pandering to the fundamentalist wing of Christianity -- none of the presidential candidates seem prepared to speak out against what is a significant minority of voters. Not all conservative Christians are right-wing bigots of course, and some are even perceived as rather benign isolated, peace-loving outsiders. The Amish (Mennonites) for instance.

But the Mennonites in general, while avowedly peace-loving, are also a major threat to wildlife and the natural environment. They are a priori farmers, often living on the edges of the modern world. Often ultra conservative in both their dress, and their way of life, as well as their farming methods, but they can destroy nature on a grand scale. The last desert-dwelling population of the Aplomado Falcon, in the grasslands of Chihuahua is threatened by Mennonites plowing up their habitat. In N Belize, it is the Mennonite famers that have cut down the rainforest surrounding those protected by the Programme for Belize, while in Paraguay, they are spreading into the Dry Chaco, one of the world's most fragile habitats. Mennonites have large families - often very large - and nearly all their children want to have land. And they are very efficient at clearing wilderness. And they are great pioneers of the untamed frontiers -- do we really want to see those last untamed frontiers disappear under the plow......?

Any suggestions.....?

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