Robert H. Nelson’s assertion that modern environmental activism is evolving into a quasi-religious movement (TNT, 4-19) is an enlightening yet potentially alarming hypothesis.
Few would argue with the contention that the beauty and glory of our natural surroundings, especially in the Pacific Northwest, can only conjure the feeling of a benevolent power at work. But not unlike the pitfalls of devout religious fundamentalism, activism can quickly degrade into extremism.
The belief that human existence is the scourge of the planet and regulation and demonization should replace common-sense-based initiatives as the prevailing force driving environmental policy smacks of dangerous historical precedent. The Inquisition, the Crusades and modern religious-inspired terrorism all spawned from a platform that was founded on the belief mankind derived from a divine entity and human life was sacred.
Like religion, a modicum of moderation may serve the environmental movement well.