Father James Schall, SJ, at The Catholic Thing, takes a look at one of the more popular modern buzzwords: sustainability:
The root of the “sustainability mission,” I suspect, is the practical denial of eternal life. “Sustainability” is an alternative to lost transcendence. It is what happens when suddenly no future but the present one exists. The only “future” of mankind is an on-going planet orbiting down the ages. It always does the exact same, boring thing. This view is actually a form of despair. Our end is the preservation of the race down the ages, not personal eternal life.
“Sustainability” implies strict population control, usually set at about two or three billion (current global population is around 7.3 billion, so many of us will simply have to disappear for sustainability’s sake). Sin and evil imply misusing the earth, not our wills. What we personally do makes little difference. Since children are rationed or even produced artificially as needed, whatever we do sexually is irrelevant. It has no real consequences in this life, the only one that exists.
Some talk of saving the race by fleeing to other planets. This leaves existing billions stuck here. The planet will disappear as the Sun cools. So the final “meaning” of the human race was that it “sustained” itself as long as possible. What is missing from this whole scenario is the notion of man’s “dominion.”
The earth and its resources, including its chief resource, the human mind, are given for the purposes for which each individual was created. Enough resources, including human mind and enterprise, are given for man to accomplish his purpose. When this purpose is accomplished, no more “resources” are needed. In this sense, the revealed doctrine that this world will end is the one that frees us from the dismal “sustaining” cycle that, presumably, goes on and on.
No doubt, while here, we should ”sustain” the world as a “garden” the best we can. But, as in the “beginning,” our key problems will not arise from the abundant Garden itself. They originate in our wills. The Garden does not exist for its own sake but for what goes on in it. This confusion is what is wrong with “sustainability.”
Go here to read the rest. This grows out of the ecology movement that wishes to transform Earth into some never-never pristine green utopia and preserve it forever in amber. It is no wonder that the more extreme environmentalists look upon man as some sort of foreign infestation to be eradicated to preserve Nature. This of course is what happens when worship of the Creator is forgotten and worship, for we all are hard-wired to worship something, is given to Nature instead. The goals of the greens can never be met, but this does not deter them from attempting to enlist government coercion to produce their utopia of stasis. All of this overlooks of course that Man is part of Creation, and is the most important part, having an immortal soul. The idea of protecting Nature of course is a solely human concept, something completely foreign to a colony of ants, a pack of hyenas or a solitary spider. Using natural resources wisely is only simple prudence, as is leaving some areas relatively untouched by Man. The problem, as always, is human hubris. Man turns Nature into a false God and believes that he can determine what Nature should be and then transform the Earth into this archetype that exists only in fevered human imaginations. If anyone ever doubts that Man is a fallen creature, one only has to survey the endless Tower of Babel projects that litter human history and the disasters they have wrought. Sustainability is merely the latest of endless vain attempts by Man to transform either himself or an idol into God. These attempts always end in tears and blood.