By Mark Stoll
Environmentalists have usually blamed Protestantism for justifying the human exploitation of nature, however the writer of this cultural background argues that, in the USA, hard-boiled industrialists and passionate environmentalists sprang from an analogous Protestant root. Protestant Christianity—Calvinism especially—both helped industrialists like James J. Hill rationalize their usage of nature for fiscal revenue and led environmental advocates like John Muir to name for the renovation of unspoiled desolate tract. Biographical vignettes research American thinkers, industrialists, and environmentalists—Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Smith, William Gilpin, Leland Stanford, Gifford Pinchot, Aldo Leopold, and others—whose lives convey the improvement of principles and attitudes that experience profoundly formed americans' use of and appreciate for nature. the ultimate bankruptcy appears to be like at a number of modern figures—James Watt, Annie Dillard, and Dave Foreman—whose careers exemplify the new Protestant concept and behaviour and their influence at the setting.
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Additional resources for Protestantism, capitalism, and nature in America
Very popular among Protestants, Psalm 148 depicts God's works glorifying and praising him. It recapitulates the first chapter of Genesis and enjoins all of creation to praise God. The heavens, angels, sun, moon and stars, the dragons of the deep, weather and the elements, mountains, trees, animals, birds, kings and princes, and all people all join in his praise. Psalm 148 inspired Milton, who paraphrased it for Adam and Eve's morning hymn in Paradise Lost. It begins: "These are Thy glorious works, Parent of good, / Almighty!
The subjects of the biographies have been chosen because they show the development of a group of ideas and attitudes of special significance with regard to Americans' use of and respect for nature. Yet and this is particularly true of the last half century a work of this size and scope can only begin to map the variety of paths the Protestant tradition has led to. The final chapter, consequently, looks at several recent individuals whose lives suggest some of the more important of the many roads Protestants have trod.
The New England Puritans were certain that Christ's return was near and took pride in creating the prophesied new Eden in the American wilderness. Mormons sought to make the Utah desert bloom in anticipation of Christ's imminent return and renewal of the earth. Today, American millennialism remains vigorous, but since the mid-nineteenth century the realities of urban industrial life have tarnished the vision of creating a paradise in America for Christ's return. Human Dominion The Bible also enjoined human will over nature.
Protestantism, capitalism, and nature in America by Mark Stoll