Ecological patron
In 1967, Lynn White, professor of history at the University of California, examined the roqts of the world's ecological crisis for Science magazine. He traced the origins of our suicidal lack of respect for our environment to the dogma of man's dominion over nature. In conclusion he wrote,
The greatest spiritual revolutionary in western history, Saint Francis, proposed an alternative Christian view of nature and man's relation to it: he tried to substitute the idea of the equality of all creatures, including man, for the idea of man's limitless rule of creation... I propose Francis as a patron saint for ecologists.'
In a sense the then World Wildlife Fund did just that in 1986. Aware that economic arguments were not sufficiently powerful to mobilise man's defence of the planet, they looked to the spiritual and jointly with the Vatican convened a conference of the world's religious leaders in Assisi.