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Christianity, environmental planning, and Canada’s green plan

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    • Abstract:
      This thesis argues that Christian doctrine does not condone environmental destruction (as many believe); rather, Christian doctrine promotes care for the Earth and supports a number of norms which are consistent with the requirements of sustainable development and useful for planning for sustainable development.Discussion begins with an explanation of the importance of norms and beliefs in planning, and proceeds to outline common criticisms of Christian norms and beliefs respecting the environment. These criticisms are considered valid to the extent that blame is placed on destructive practices which often characterize ill-formed social expressions of Christian norms and beliefs; however, these criticisms may be groundless in terms of a good understanding of Christian doctrine. This point provides a basis for examining Christian doctrine more closely, to see whether or not it condones destruction of the ecosphere.Christian doctrine, logical argument, and a review of relevant literature are used to respond to the above mentioned criticisms. Analysis shows that Christian doctrine provides a basis for caring for the Earth and that one should not dismiss Christianity because of misguided attitudes and actions of professed Christians.Nine ecological norms are derived from Christian doctrine. These norms are shown to be consistent with the requirements of sustainable development, and the findings of non-Christian scholars. Usefulness of these norms is demonstrated through a case-study evaluation of the ecological sustainability of Canada's Green Plan (GP). Applying Christian norms to the GP shows that the GP endorses some important environmental initiatives but is rooted in norms and beliefs which contradict each other and are inconsistent with therequirements of sustainable development. Christian norms therefore prove to be helpful inpointing out weaknesses in the GP. Coupled with the facts that Christian theology does not promote environmental destruction, and that Christian norms enjoy the support of non-Christian scholars, the conclusion is that Christianity has been overly criticized respecting the environment and that Christian norms can and should be used to plan for sustainable development.