“The ecological crisis is first of all a spiritual crisis”
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Vkontakte
  • Messanger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest


On the occasion of the publication of his latest book, Les fondements spirituels de la crise écologique, [The spiritual foundations of the ecological crisis], Jean-Claude Larchet gave an interview to the editor of Aleteia entitled “The ecological crisis is primarily a spiritual crisis”. Please find here our translation of this interview:

At the conclusion of the 24th UN climate conference (COP24), with the various nations having difficulty signing an agreement, Orthodox theologian Jean-Claude Larchet sees the current ecological crisis as a spiritual crisis.

First scheduled to end on Friday, December 14, the 24th UN Climate Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, was expected to follow some kind of tradition and extend somewhat, in order for the 200 or so participating countries to reach an agreement concerning the implementation of the Paris Agreement. “The roots of the ecological crisis we are currently going through are very old,” said Orthodox theologian Jean-Claude Larchet, the author of the book entitled The Spiritual Foundations of the Ecological Crisis, to Aleteia. According to him, it is first of all a spiritual crisis.

What is the origin of the ecological crisis we are going through?

Jean-Claude Larchet: The roots of the ecological crisis we are currently going through are very old. And it is first of all a spiritual crisis. Until the end of the Middle Ages in Western traditional society, there was a keen sense of the sacredness of nature. People were able to perceive the presence and the action of God in it, and so they respected it. During the Renaissance, humanism developed, and people lost their perception of a connection between God and nature. Nature was then only considered as an object, usable by people for their own ends, as a set of resources to be exploited. During the same period, Descartes developed the idea that the human task was to become master and possessor of nature. Humans then claimed for themselves a power over nature that was previously recognized only being God’s. It was then no longer a question of respect, but of domination and unlimited exploitation. This attitude developed in the late 19th and 20th century, with the growth of industry and intensive agriculture sparked by capitalism. Based on the rationalism of the Enlightenment, sciences replaced the intuitive and contemplative approach of nature with a cold and rational approach. Technology turned the respectful use of nature into a frenzied and destructive exploitation of its resources, with a growing development called “progress”.

What is progress?

There has been a considerable change in the way progress is understood. In our Western society, as in all so-called “traditional” societies, progress used to be considered spiritually, it was about an inner progress. From the Renaissance onwards, progress has become an external progress, realized only in the material accumulation of goods. There was a transmutation, a devaluation: we went from seeking progress in being to seeking progress in having. But this externalization of the notion of progress completely alienates humanity. Capitalism has imposed the very ‘bourgeois’ idea that well-being consists in an accumulation of material goods and in the enjoyment of constantly renewed consumerism objects. The logic of indefinite growth in which we currently find ourselves is not the right way out of the ecological crisis: we must rather enter a logic of de-growth and reconnect with a kind of spiritually based well-being, by a return to true values.

What is your opinion on COP 24, on steps considered in regards to climate, etc.?

All this is positive: it is good that people and nations are aware of their responsibilities. But we can see that their actions are extremely limited and that the situation continues to deteriorate. Each nation pursues a goal of economic development incompatible with de-growth, although it is necessary. Powerful national and international lobbies are stronger than nations, and impose their own goals on them – we see it for example when it comes to establishing laws limiting the use of pesticides).
Once again, our problems lie beyond politics and economics. They are real problems of civilizations, of life-style. These problems are related to a certain number of passions that have become structural in our modern civilization: attachment to material goods, greed, that is to say, the desire to have always more, envy, selfish enjoyment of the world… Only by reducing the passions that drive us in our exploitation of nature shall we find a real solution.

In concrete terms, what can be done to put an end to this ecological crisis that you describe?

This requires a spiritual transformation first at the individual level, and ultimately at the society level. Christians have a major role to play here: they have a sense of transcendence, a sense of God’s presence in nature, and therefore of the respect due to it. They must find again a contemplative relationship with nature, a Eucharistic use of the goods offered to us by it. Through the practice of fasting and sharing, they also have an experience of sobriety and sacrifice. This experience of sobriety and de-growth – which is a happy experience, as it is accompanied by the rediscovery of the values ​​and joys of the inner life – can be contagious and reflect on the whole society, as indeed society formats its individuals, but it can also be reformatted by them.

Source in French

Dear readers,

This is one of the five free articles that you can read in their entirety.

To access the unlimited number of full articles, please:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • Vkontakte
  • Messanger
  • Telegram
  • WhatsApp
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest

About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

Orthodoxie.com Newsletter

Don't miss out on important news and updates. Subscribe to our free bi-weekly newsletter.



Divider

Popular Posts

Le chant byzantin a été inscrit au patrimoine immatériel de l’humanité par l’Unesco 145357

Le 11 décembre, l’Unesco a inscrit le chant byzantin au patrimoine immatériel de l’humanité. “Né au début du christianisme, le ch...

La 18e réunion de la Conférence épiscopale orthodoxe du Benelux (CEOB) 145345

La Conférence épiscopale orthodoxe du Benelux s’est réunie le 10 décembre à Bruxelles. Un compte rendu (dont la photographie ci-dessus) est e...

Discours du patriarche Cyrille de Moscou à la réunion du Haut conseil ecclésiastique sur le bilan... 145316

Le 11 décembre, le patriarche Cyrille de Moscou a prononcé le discours suivant à l’ouverture de la réunion du Haut conseil ecclésiastique. Il...

En visite officielle à Athènes, le président serbe Vučić a rencontré l’archevêque Jérôme 145311

Au cours de sa visite officielle en Grèce, le président serbe Alexandre Vučić a rencontré l’archevêque d’Athènes Jérôme le 10 décembre. Après la re...

Un entretien avec le métropolite Hilarion de Volokolamsk sur la question de la GPA 145301

Le métropolite Hilarion de Volokolamsk a donné un entretien à Ria-Novosti sur la question de la GPA également très discutée en Russie. La version f...

“L’Icône retrouvée” 145196

L’association fondée par le père Nicolas Lacaille (1952-2013, photographie ci-dessus), “L’Icône retrouvée“, a été relancée....

Le gouvernement monténégrin soumet au parlement son projet de loi sur la nationalisation des bien... 145061

Le gouvernement monténégrin a soumis au parlement son projet de loi controversé sur « la liberté religieuse » le 5 décembre, malgré l’opposition de...

Déclaration du Saint-Synode de l’Église de Grèce : « L’Église de Grèce a décidé librement et sans... 145009

Lors de sa session du 11 décembre, le Saint-Synode permanent de l’Église de Grèce a publié le communiqué suivant : « L’Église de Grèce a décidé lib...

Funérailles de l’archimandrite Éphrem d’Arizona (vidéo) Amérique du Nord 145005

On peut visionner ici l’office des funérailles de l’archimandrite Éphrem (Ephraïm) d’Arizona, présidées par l’archevêque d’Amérique Elpidophore (Pa...

246 nouvelles paroisses de l’Église orthodoxe d’Ukraine ont été ouvertes en 2019 144316

Le nombre des lieux de cultes dépendant de l’Église orthodoxe d’Ukraine, dont le primat est le métropolite de Kiev Onuphre, a augmenté de 246 par r...

L’archevêque de Berlin Marc (Église orthodoxe russe hors-frontières) a été élevé au rang de métro... 144304

Le 10 décembre, à l’issue de la liturgie célébrée à New York en la fête de l’icône miraculeuse de la Mère de Dieu de Koursk et après la lecture de ...

Le patriarche de Bulgarie Néophyte a rencontré le directeur général de la Télévision nationale bu... 144289

Le patriarche bulgare Néophyte a rencontré, le 10 décembre, le directeur général de la Télévision nationale bulgare Emil Kochloukov. La rencontre a...