Vicious Circles in a Forest, or: Too Much of a Good Elephant

Today, I’ve read in the Beeld that there are some German folk who refuse to visit South Africa if we do not change our policy towards controlling the elephant population. “Control” in this sense means, basically, shooting. Please note that, as I am writing this post, the dust of the Struwig Eco-Reserve where I’ve spent the whole of last week is still clinging to my shoes. I’ve been told that there are about 7000 too many elephants in the Kruger National Park, the wildlife of which is shared by Struwig. One can literally see the damage caused by these elephants – hundreds of overturned and dying trees. Whilst the elephants happily change their environments to suit them, the numbers of many other smaller creatures are dwindling. One can hardly blame these German folk for seeing the plight of the elephants – elephants are big creatures, which can be seen from far off, even perhaps Germany. But one should also look to the smaller creatures – they’ve got animal rights too!

I realize that I am probably not the first person to say this; but it is time that we rethink and rethink again our atitude towards ecological matters. It is one thing to be ecologically minded; one should just be careful not to be so ecologically minded that one is no earthly good. It is time for the church to develop a theology of ecology – a responsible, balanced theology of ecology.

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