Physical and Moral Ecology

“For some years we have known that unrestricted pursuit of economic growth has devastated our physical environment. Pollution, waste and the depletion of natural resources have disturbed that ‘natural strip of soil, air and water… in which we live and move and have our being.’ No one intended it. It happened. But having happened, we can no longer ignore it… But as well as a physical ecology, we also inhabit a moral ecology, that network of beliefs, relationships and virtues within which we think, act and discover meaning. For the greater part of human history it has had a religious foundation. But for the past two centuries, in societies like Britain, that basis of belief has been profoundly eroded. And we know too much about ecological systems to suppose that you can remove one element and have the rest unchanged. There is, if you like, a God-shaped hole in our ozone layer. And it is time that we thought about moral ecology too.”

The Persistence of Faith, pp. 26-27