Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Heaven is a place on earth: The Bible goes green

Harper Collins has published a green edition of the New Revised Standard Version of the bible, which is clearly aimed to appeal to a hipper and more liberal audience--the site for the book has pitches from young, pierced, funky-haired people, in addition to some mom and dad types.

The Green Bible comes with "passages that speak to God's care for creation highlighted in green." It's printed on recycled paper, with soy-based ink and a cotton/linen cover (wha?), more a concession to aesthetics than a service to the environment.  I mean, aren't there already enough bibles out there?  The Gideons alone could be financing their own small timber mill and distribution plant.

Still, it's neat, right?  This indicates a general public engagement with these issues, and shows that there is some real conflict in people's minds about what kind of relationship they want to have with the land and with all of the plants and animals in it.  The relationship of humans to their environment has a complicated ethical and spiritual dimension.  Aldo Leopold wrote about this in his beautifully eloquent essay "The Land Ethic" (quoted in green, in the spirit of things):
All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts. His instincts prompt him to compete for his place in that community, but his ethics prompt him also to co-operate (perhaps in order that there may be a place to compete for).
The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land.
In any case, everyone in Washington knows that Paradise is here on earth.

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