Common Ground?

Even though Lynn White Jr. and Pope Francis come from completely different sides when discussing the impacts humans play on the environment, they both share at least a few common points. One piece of contention that both Lynn White Jr. and Pope Francis share is the section of Genesis where it states humans have “dominion” over the earth. Pope Francis actively calls out people for incorrectly interpreting the bible and states that “we must forcefully reject the notion that our being created in God’s image and given dominion over the earth justifies absolute domination over other creatures” (Francis 49). While Pope Francis attempts to change the way, people look at the earth through the eyes of the bible, Lynn White Jr. takes a different route. He argues that the way the bible was written gives people the notion that they are more important than any of the other creatures on this planet. He suggests that because of that line in Genesis people believe that “no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man’s purpose” (White 4). Ultimately, while they go about it in different ways, both Pope Francis and Lynn White Jr. seem to conclude that when people view themselves as “above” the environment they will treat it with very little care. They will place their own personal comfort over everything else, creating and fueling this ecological crisis.  

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