Religion plays out its role in environmental conservation and protection by its beliefs and teachings; it guides the relationship between man and nature, it offers moral framework. The major religions; Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism have adopted similar approaches or traditions that are geared towards environmental conservation. These are: dominion: humans at the top of Creation and using natural resources as needed. stewardship: humans having a delegate dominion over Creation and being responsible and accountable for their use of natural resources, empathy: nature is affected by human misbehavior and God and worship: nature gives glory to God and nature is sacred. These approaches correlate and they all complement each other.
This is the most misused approach, and environmental groups and individuals express concern over it. It describes humans as superior creatures, who rule over creation. It states that humans were given the mandate to rule over creation and use the natural resources provided. This however, comes with the responsibility to protect and properly manage nature, a part that is often ignored.
This is the most supported and accepted approach, it clearly states role of humans not as superior but as part of nature and having a responsibility to protect it and be accountable for their actions.
States that is part of us and is affected by our actions and poor behavior, it appeals to our humanity and compassion.
God and worship
Simply states that nature gives glory to God and therefore is sacred and should not only be worshiped but also taken care of.
Each religion through its beliefs expresses concern for the environment and guides its believers towards conservation. The Buddhists believe in oneness and between humanity and nature. If you harm the environment, you harm yourself too; hence taking care of nature is taking care of yourself. Another practice is that of peace and compassion to everyone and everything and ultimately ensuring a balance between human practices and conservation.
Christianity, through bible teachings, promotes environmental care through the belief of nature’s divinity and humanity’s responsibility to look after creation/nature. This is also supported by Islam through the teachings of Quran that refer to nature as beautiful and sacred.
Hinduism also practices ecosystem protection beliefs and a good example is Mahatma Gandhi who promoted peace and coexistence with fellow humans and nature too, his teachings are extensive and all work towards environmental care.
Judaism also, through its teachings, plays a role in ensuring a proper environment. Nature is a central and since God is the owner, we should leave it as we found it. Judaism also discourages unnecessary destruction and destructive human activities.
Many religious groups are engaged it restoration and environmental protection activities. This has also led to the development of a new field of study/specialization; Eco-theology, which incorporates the concept of ecosystem management in religious teachings.
However, the role of religion and all these efforts and teachings seem to be currently fruitless due to our individual behaviors, it all boils down to your practices and activities, as it is always said, change begins with you.