Book review: Green Philosophy by Roger Scruton
There have always been different perspectives on how we interact with animals and the environment. Saint Francis loved birds landing on his arm, with animals beside him as he contemplated brother sun and sister moon. On the other hand, according to Blessed Cecilia, Saint Dominic when preaching to nuns from behind a grille in their convent, plucked the feathers from a sparrow that had flown into the church, shouting that it was the devil that had came to interrupt his sermon!
As for green conservatism, placing an emphasis on tradition in architecture, and starting up permaculture projects are good things. However, I cannot see how small government and a volunteer based approach would work in some cases. It is hard to see the Womens Institute coming together to remedy the problem of contaminated land from the old gasworks in the nearby industrial estate. Or the National Trust appearing with volunteers to clean up Sellafield, with their membership passes in the pockets of their radiation suits. Although Scruton points out failures in certain top-down legislation on habitats and protected species, the general trend is that things have improved greatly over the last 40 years in terms of protection of the environment. European legislation and international treaties have delivered positive results on protection of endangered species. Accession countries such as Poland who are new members of the EU, are being forced to clean up their industries, deal with major pollution problems and protect sites of ecological importance. The collaborative international approach with some degree of top-down government directive has been successful in meeting environmental objectives.
In the meantime, our sacristy in Blackfriars has an infestation of flies which will be duly sprayed with chemicals so we can get on with our preaching.