A view shows an ice flow floating on a lake in front of the Solheimajokull Glacier, where the ice has receded by more than 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) since annual measurements began in 1931, Iceland October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Thibault Camus/Pool
A rationally compelling environmental ethics is dependent on religion. Ironically, the only way to resolve conundrums regarding science, religion, and morality is to stand environmental ethics on sacred ground. Only when we perceive that the value of the living natural world is grounded in something greater than ourselves, in something other than our human ability to value it, will our rational capacities be satisfied fully that life on earth matters...Even though I consider a religious worldview essential for a compelling environmental ethics -however- most days I am agnostic. Yet I also have deep, effective experiences of the value of people, of our earthly home, of our miraculous kindred relations. These experiences are meaningless in the absence of the sacred, and yet they are as convincing as what I know scientifically. In the final analysis we must choose -either to believe in a fascinating but meaningless universe - or in one congruent with our own experiences of the value of people and place. Choosing is difficult. Yet, I am compelled by my own affective life, my aesthetic preferences, by a few moments in nature that are beyond words, to affirm that it all matters. I am not sure of much, but I am sure of this.