The biggest environmental obstacle in the world is that we as humans are forced to chose between the economy and the environment. We have grown accustomed to our industrialized societies, which have come this far without really considering the environment. It is now so difficult to change our mindset to incorporate the environment into the economy because it carries the negative connotations of “going back” and being anti-growth. I think that this global problem is in large part due to the great influence of the world’s superpower, the United States. I think the anthropocentric nature of Christianity correlates with the capitalist nature of the U.S. and its journey in attaining top-dog economic status. I think that since we live in competitive world, other countries especially China and Japan (who are in second and third place after the U.S. based on GDP) strive to compete, and even emulate the United States. Thus, China and Japan have grown their economies and with that their amount of pollution and environmental degradation have also grown, despite Buddhism being a predominate religion in both countries. So to answer the first question, I think it is less a matter of which religion is predominate in a country and its relation to environmental policies, but more about the influence of the U.S. as a superpower and the anthropocentric nature of Christianity. So it seems that I have kind of hijacked the blog prompt to focus on the U.S. and Christianity, but as we discussed in class, Christianity is currently the world’s largest religion and I think that its growth in popularity has a lot to do with U.S. influence. If China or Japan would have emerged from World War II, as the superpower maybe Christianity wouldn’t be as dominate today and Buddhism would be more dominate. Maybe there would be less environmental degradation as a result, but I can only speculate.
I do think that if we were to idealize a perfect world, we would obviously place less focus on the economy. Concern over the economy is the biggest threat to the environment and I am sure that without the economy we would be more in tune with nature. However, at this point in time, we can’t just “go back” to the days before the economy and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. I think that we have to keep working towards integrating the environment into the economy through ecological modernization, which the U.S., China, and Japan are all trying to do.