From Greece’s Gaia to Inca’s Pachamama, from the Norse Jörð to the Hindu Prithvi, humans have long seen the Earth as a divine being. But Christianity and modern Western culture took god out of nature. The planet has been recast as a resource, to be conquered, settled and tamed. Now, however, the tides are changing again. Nature for many is once again the new god.  Rivers and rainforests are being given legal rights and some philosophers go further arguing that the planets of the solar system should also be seen to have rights independent of any human engagement with them.  

Might re-embracing Mother Earth be just what we need to prevent environmental catastrophe and self-annihilation?  Or is the return to the gods of nature a dangerous step that undermines human goals and values and threatens a return to superstition and fate?

 

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