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A Balanced View of Environmentalism

Written By: Dan Stanley  |  Posted: Thursday, May 10th, 2012

                 Admittedly, I am hesitant to use the word environment by adding an "ism."  But for the sake of clarity, I will use it.  It conveys the issue of the day regarding our environment. As you know, there is much talk and concern over the proper use of the material world in which we live.  This includes everything from the air, the water, the land and everything moving on or in it.  It has resulted in everything from protest movements, boycotts, accusations and regulations that leave a lot of frustration along with polarization and name calling between the contending parties.

                But this entire problem is more new than old.  It was not always the way it is today.   I am referring to the constant talk and concern regarding our environment.  In fact, I will go further and say that it was my lot in life to be raised in an environmentally conscious day and age.  Did they use the word environment?  No.  Maybe the word conservation was used now and then, but only by those working for the government.  Yet the act of protecting or using wisely the God given world in which we live was constantly in practice.

                One example that is very real to me was the use of the land, in particular the trees on that land.  Having been raised in Eastern Canada, I was where conservatism was already being practiced in an institutional way.  J. D. Irving, a large corporation out of St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, was already reforesting tracts of land after they were pulped.  Of course to do this, they would clear cut everything and replant saplings of trees, especially pine.

                But Uncle Curtis and Grampy Stanley were already way ahead of the curve.  They practiced what was (and is) called select cutting.  They would only pulp the older trees, always leaving the underdeveloped ones to finished growing up.  That is how they did it for many years.  All conservationists recognize this as the best use of the trees on a piece of land.

                This, though, wasn't the only "environmentalism" being practiced.  Recycling was already in vogue way before Violia trucks were running up and down the road looking for recycling bins.  Everything was saved and everything was used.  Nothing was wasted or thrown way it seemed.  When pants were torn, they were patched.  Then, when they finally turned into rags, they became rages or  they were cut up into squares, and the squares were sown into quilts.  There was no end to the bean cans stacked and stored along with brown paper bags.  Repair and fix was the word of the day.  Have you ever heard of "jerry rigging" or "hay wiring" something together?  Why, we even bent over to pick up a penny!  Bottles were saved and brought back to the stores for the deposit money.  Shovels became spades and files became punches.  "Waste not, want not" was brazened onto our little minds.

                No, today the problem or answer, if you like, is not environmentalism.  The movement as such has lost its balance.  Some of them can't stop talking about how many trees were cut down in Wisconsin.  They bemoan the loss of forests in this state.  But what about the homes built with the trees and heat for those homes as a result of the wood?  I mean, which matters the more, a tree or a home for our family?  Come on, can't you see how ridiculous this all becomes? This doesn't support the "rape" of land or murder of its inhabitants which is presently going on in the Amazon basin of South America.   Evil and murder are being committed due to covetousness and murderous hearts.

                The answer or root problem, though, in all this discussion in America may not be that complicated.  It seems to come down to the issue of waste.  It is all right to throw away something, but not to waste it.  There is a difference and therein lies the answer.  How so? Because waste is associated with laziness in the Bible.   "He also that is slothful (lazy) in his work is brother to him that is a great waster" - Proverbs 18:9.

                What we have in our country over the past generation or two is an increased amount of waste. We are more than a throwaway society.  We are a wasteful society.  Why?  Because, to tell you the truth, we have developed a lazy streak in us as a nation.  Abundance has made us "fat and lazy" to put it plainly.  There is a reason we are the number one nation in the world for obesity.   We have become lazy in a manifest way.  Stop the laziness and return to being diligent and industrious and waste will disappear and the environment will do quite well.

                And if you are not sure how to do this personally, just ask someone over seventy years old. Most of them remember those days and show you the way.  Further, they even like it, whether they will admit it or not.

                Dan Stanley is an owner and contributing editor of the Eau Claire Journal.  Email:

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