Religious & spiritual beliefs about the environment

Explain religious and spiritual beliefs about human responsibility to the environment and how these beliefs may conflict with different views. 

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Explain religious and spiritual beliefs about human responsibility to the
environment and how these beliefs may conflict with different views. (12
marks)
Most religions have beliefs about how we should treat the environment. However these cause
conflict, due to different views on how the environment should be treated.
For example, Christians believe that the natural world was a gift to humans from god and should be
treated with respect. God said, "I am putting you in charge of the fish, the birds and all the wild
animals." Genesis 1:28. St Francis is one of the best known examples for how Christians should treat
the environment, he believed that the natural world was a gift from god and should be treated with
respect. He believed that humans are responsible for the environment, including the mountains,
rivers and animals.
Another example of religious beliefs towards the responsibility of the environment is the Islamic
views. The Qur'an says that Allah is the creator of the world and that Muslims should look after the
world for Allah for the future. Muslims are instructed to look after the environment and not damage
it: "Devote thyself single-mindedly to the Faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the
nature according to which He has fashioned mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah." Surah
30:30
People see themselves as being responsible for the environment and make their own decisions on
how they are going to take care of it. However many other groups and industries treat the
environment differently; this causes conflict between different groups and cultures. The best way of
looking at how the environment is causing conflict is deforestation.
Deforestation is a major problem and logging, mining and farming all contribute to this. Trees such as
mahogany and ebony are felled and sold as timber to be made into furniture. Large sections of forest
are used for cattle ranching and growing crops like Soya beans. Gold mining also destroys the forest
as trees are cut down for the mine and the roads that lead to it.
An example of spiritual beliefs towards the environment is the Kayapo tribe in the Amazon rainforest.
They use the rainforest in a sustainable way; this means that they take what they need without
causing damage. They use the forest for shelter, medicines, hunting animals and collecting Brazil nuts.
The Kayapo believe in animism which teaches that all plants and animals contain spirits which must be
treated with respect. They have a use for 90% of the plants, including medicines and body paints.
They also use shifting cultivation to allow the forest to recover when crops like manioc is grown.
However, in 2008, 1000 Kayapos protested against new plans to build the Belo Monte dam on the
river Xingu. The Kayapo use the river for transport, catching fish and water, the dam flooded 18,000
sq km of the land. This caused conflict between the Brazilian government and their own spiritual
views.
Dan Grist

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ruirevises

good resource.

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