The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis

288 Words2 Pages
“The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” In “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,” White argues that certain attitudes formed as a consequence of acceptance of Judeo-Christian religions have had an important impact on each individual’s behavior towards the environment they live in. Humans have dramatically changed the Earth, and White thinks that our attitudes towards Nature are largely responsible for it. White begins by stating that humans are not the only species that alter the environment in which they live. However, human alterations typically are on a far greater scale, and proceed at a far greater rate, than the alterations of any other species. He also claims that the rise of ecological problems on the scale now occurring is a cultural phenomenon. If this is true, then a search for the roots of the cultural attitudes could show us how we might change our culture in order to effectively address these ecological problems. White basis his ideas on several key historical claims. These claims include, science and technology in its current form is typically Western and early employment of technology to drive the machines of production is also Western. White speculates that the beginnings of the change in attitude came with changes in ways of viewing humans' relationship with the local environment that came with the invention of, for instance, the furrowing plow. This plow, for example, represented much greater power of the land, and allowed the development of an exploitative attitude. This, along with other influences, led to humans distinguishing themselves from nature. The key influence here is religion, in particular, Christianity. Christianity, according to White, has at its foundations certain beliefs that have had a direct impact on our environmental
Open Document