As the number of bodies keep piling up, many of the leaders in the environmental community are, if not openly cheering the current COVID-19 pandemic, at least pointing out some of the pandemic’s positive environmental benefits.
News reports claim that pollution in New York has been reduced by nearly 50% because of the measures instituted to contain the virus. In fact air quality in most major cities around the world has significantly improved since the outbreak. [Some] mining and logging activities have been shut down across the country. Fewer consumer goods are being shipped around the world by large diesel powered freighters. Malls and retail stores are empty. Factories are closed and laying off workers. Lack of demand is pushing America’s oil shale industry towards the brink of collapse. This is all good news, at least according to some of the leaders in the environmental community.
In an article entitled, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” , Vance G. Martin, President of the WILD Foundation, claims the COVID-19 pandemic is payback for mankind’s environmental insensitivity. While there may be some small grain of truth in this statement, Martin’s reasoning is distorted and downright deceptive.
Martin writes, “We are in nothing less than a Nature Emergency…The emergency is compounded by the 6th Mass Extinction crisis unraveling the biological foundation of our world. A primary cause of extinction, of course, is human-caused habitat (ecosystem) destruction, which is a major thread in the tapestry of issues that brought us the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Martin goes on to say, “Let’s flip the tragic elements of the pandemic on its side and for a moment consider some of its other effects. You’ve all seen the media reports: the world is a far quieter and less polluted place; traffic jams are gone; people are singing from their balconies. These “other effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot more like the world we want and need. And this is the goal [emphasis added] of the World Wilderness Congress – a world of respectful relationships, people to people and people to nature.”
Martin is not alone in playing the blame game. In his bestselling book, “Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic”, c. 2012, author David Quammen prophetically tells us that the next zoonotic disease that will sweep the planet will likely come out of a wet market in southern China. Ouammen doesn’t stop there though, but goes on to claim that, “Mankind’s activities are causing the disintegration (a word chosen carefully) of natural ecosystems at a cataclysmic rate.”
Are David Quammen and Vance Martin correct that human caused habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity are “tearing the ecoystems apart”? Did climate change bring us the COVID-19 pandemic? Does the reader agree with the premise that our world would be perfect if it were not for man’s interference with it’s natural operating systems? Is it really true that COVID-19, or some future virus potentially even more deadly, is nature’s way of evening the score?
Well, if anyone is actually keeping score, the vast bulk of the animal world, at least by sheer numbers of species, is made up of viruses and bacteria. A plethora of harmful parasites and deadly diseases are at the very top of the food chain. Next we have some 30 million insect species, and although some are beneficial and provide essential functions such as pollination and decomposition, the vast majority live by causing harm to other species.
And then we have the “kill or be killed” and “survival of the fittest” reality of the world’s predator/prey relationships. Everything alive eventually dies or gets eaten by some other creature in this “perfect” world. Is death really the ultimate sign of perfection as the environmentalist’s believe? Does death, or what physicists call “the law of entropy”, truly reign supreme in the universe? What is death anyway, and has it always existed or was it inflicted upon all of creation at some point in history as a judgment emanating from a living and omnipotent God? How you answer these questions will determine which side of the line you stand on.
It goes without saying that the value system of environmentalism worships entropy and elevates death dealing large predators over virtually any other species. If Dave Foreman, (founder EarthFirst and the REWILDING Institute), David Quammen, or Vance Martin have a “god”, then the savage wolf and the great bear are the epitome of deity. Not only that, but true eco-worshipers rank every creature on earth as having equal, or greater worth than humans. When environmentalists say that “man needs to learn his place in this world”, they are actually declaring that human beings must accept being at the bottom, or very near the bottom, of the food chain.
Of course the Judeo-Christian viewpoint is completely contrary to the environmentalist worldview. The Judeo-Christian worldview declares two things that environmentalists can’t stand. The first is that mankind has been given dominion over nature. This means that we are able to exert a significant level of God-given control and influence over our environment. This is not to say that we always make wise choices. Clearly we don’t.
The second declaration found in the Judeo-Christian ethic is that mankind is fallen, along with the whole world. Indeed, the entire created order does not function the way it was originally designed. And this is by the will of God, as a result of man’s disobedience, in order to demonstrate God’s power and glory through His righteousness, mercy, and grace.
In an interesting juxtaposition of the Genesis creation story, radical environmentalists are convinced that we still live in a proverbial “Garden of Eden”, even though they reject the biblical narrative as well as the notion of a creator God. They believe that by the very act of domesticating cattle, building homes from wood and steel, killing a wolf, or merely starting a fire to stay warm, mankind is causing profound injury to the “garden”. Our mere presence threatens this perfectly functioning natural world. A plague that kills millions, or billions of humans, would restore a proper ecological balance.
“These “other effects” of the COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot more like the world we want and need. And this is the goal.”
Vance Martin – The Wild Foundation
C’mon people, either mankind is a part of nature, or he’s not! Either we have the right to utilize our skills and intelligence to help our species survive or we don’t. Granted, mankind has often failed to be a wise steward. We have undoubtedly caused unnecessary harm and added to the woes of the world we live in. Everything we do has an affect on some other species. Hopefully we are learning from experience. None of us want to live in a world that we have made unlivable by our careless acts.
Greed and avarice, if allowed to rule in the hearts of men, will always lead to destruction. That is why we have laws and regulations. That is why God has written His law in our hearts. We have a moral compass, we are not wandering aimlessly. We need to learn from our mistakes and repent of our misdeeds. But anyone who cheers on a pandemic simply because they think it will kill off surplus humans and protect the environment is neither rational nor righteous.
“We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.“
“My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”
– Dave Foreman – Founder REWILDING INSTITUTE
If there is one lesson to be learned from a global pandemic it is this: Be humble, do good, and try to walk uprightly. Don’t celebrate the suffering of others. Don’t put animals, the environment, or yourself, ahead of your neighbors, your brothers and your sisters. When in doubt, tread lightly, change course if needed, but keep walking. Understand that all we know could fit on the head of a pin compared to the immense complexity of the universe.
Unlike God, human beings can’t see the end from the beginning. We don’t know what tomorrow may bring. We need to stop acting like we do. We need to stop acting like we have it all figured out. Pride is a terrible thing, and it always comes before a fall.
Sources for this article include:
“Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic” c. 2012 David Quammen – https://www.amazon.com/Spillover-Animal-Infections-Human-Pandemic/dp/0393346617
“What’s Love Got to do With it?” c. March 30, 2020 by Vance Martin, President of the Wild Foundation. https://www.wild.org/blog/whats-love-got-to-do-with-it/
“Air Pollution Plummets as China, Europe, New York go on COVID-19 Lock Down”; March 27, 2020 by Jo Borras; https://cleantechnica.com/2020/03/27/air-pollution-plummets-as-china-europe-ny-go-on-covid-19-lockdown/