(this post is in honor of the newly released U.N. report on global warming)
Ecology structurally resembles old-time religions. Specifically, it in some sense goes further than any religion has up until now:
If in christianity you had to do/believe X in order to save your soul and could tell others about it, should you feel so inclined;
and if in Islam you had to do/believe X in order to save your soul and were supposed to force others to do likewise (but would still save your own soul should you not succeed in converting others);
with ecology you have to do X in order to save yourself (though you have no longer a soul) but you also have to convince/force everyone else to do the same if you are going to succeed in saving yourself! This is going further than any of the monotheisms ever went.
Of course: ecology’s “holy book” is a whole bunch of carefully verified scientific findings, whereas christianity and islam’s holy books are, well, revealed. But that doesn’t change the basic similarity in the structure of the “religions”, though it does make ecology much more believable.
This analysis implies one important thing:
(1) with ecology, the distinction between ethics and politics disappears. You can certainly be a good ecologist on your own, reducing, reusing and recycling in your own home and biking to work, but this will only avoid a disaster (i.e. the End of The World) if governments force everyone else to do likewise. This is what christian and islamic fundamentalists in the U.S. and Middle East are also trying to do.
Ecology has a view of well-being that is all-inclusive; it allows for no individualism as far as salvation is concerned (in this sense it is closer to the mono/heno-theism of judaism). Either we all make it, or none of us do. We therefore must force one another to be good. Ethics therefore trumps politics (as it should when we can all agree on the ethics). There can no longer be a separation between ecology and state, however much we might still want to separate churches from the latter.
Now i am not dissing ecology. As i stated above, it is by far the more believable of the options out there, and i do realize that it does not see itself as a religion (no new religion ever does). And i’m all for it, anyway. But nonetheless and my personal feelings notwithstanding, it looks awfully much like a religion, and a rather stringent one at that! And to top it off, we cannot either imagine it being wrong or come up with an alternative. Now does that not ever sound like good old-time, medieval religion (only its green now)!