Stewards of the world?

 

In response to Jeffrey A. Lockwood's article "Why the West Needs Mythic Cowboys" (HCN, 6/09/08), I disagree that "stewardship, in the deepest Biblical sense" should be an ideal. Stewardship is a perverted notion borne out of a fundamental misconception of humanity's place in the world. It is we who belong to the world, not the other way around. The world got along just fine for 3 billion years without our stewardship. We have about as much business being stewards of the world as infants have being stewards of the nursery.

Sustainable cultures understand, perhaps subconsciously, that the planet is simply not a piece of human property, and as a result, their lifestyle flourished for thousands of years. Ours, rooted in a fundamentally different concept of humanity's relationship to the environment, which places us "above" and at odds with the living community, has put us face to face with catastrophes of poverty, injustice and degradation in a much shorter timeframe.

I would argue it is precisely our culture's myth of humans-as-governors-of-the-world that has guided our actions thus far and caused such widespread ecological and social conflicts.

Lauren A. Alnwick-Pfund
Corvallis, Oregon