With little attention, Television Week and Variety, the Hollywood trade magazine, recently announced something that simply fascinates me here: Sundance Channel, which is a joint venture of actor Robert Redford, NBC Universal, and Viacom’s Showtime Networks will soon launch Sundance Channel Green, a weekly show on environmental topics. I wasn’t shocked to read that Sundance Channel claims to be the first network with regular programming dedicated entirely to the environment. And, in my view, “dedicated” is exactly the right word because it sounds religious. And religious is exactly what we’re talking about here.
You see, it is my firm conviction that much of the environmental project is almost an inevitable pantheistic response to a post-Christian culture. Created as we are with a deep instinctive psychological drive to give of ourselves, I see western elites happily preaching self-deprivation as modern secularism’s expression of the animal sacrifices of Biblical times. Turn down the thermostat; ditch your SUV in favor of a silly little electric car that resembles a flashlight on wheels; hobble American industry by means of vague ‘international’ protocols and all the other many examples are really little more than chest-beating displays of moral virtue. Of course every ostentatious exhibition of virtue requires sacrifice in order to resonate with authenticity.
All of this environmental hysteria has another enormous advantage from the point of view of its high priests—it requires action from other than the individual. By contrast, Judeo-Christian traditions require devotion and dedication from the individual but Environmental Fundamentalism demands action from government, or better yet, a federation of governments, say, the United Nations. With the possible exception of the sacred sacrament of secularism—recycling—environmentalism demands little of the individual, which makes it a rather comfortable and seductive faith. Whereas devotees of the Biblical faiths see redemption from the big ‘G’ of God, Environmental Fundamentalism sees redemption coming from the little ‘g’ of government. It interests me that, knowing this full well, Environmental Fundamentalism has recently recognized the compelling need to locate some figureheads with conventional religious credentials to come aboard.
Each morning I give thanks to God for His gift of Scripture and his requirement that I serve Him and sacrifice in accordance with His wishes only. This saves me from feeling a lot of unnecessary guilt and making a whole lot of sacrifices of dubious utility.