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Modern Conservation and Christianity

It is hard to imagine that the modern conservation movement is responsible for causing the death of hundreds of thousands of people if not millions, but it has. This news may shock many people because it is not something that governments or large conservation organizations want the public to know about.

At the surface, modern conservation is about protecting endangered animals and caring for our planet. Christians should be good stewards of nature, so we should all be conservationists, right?

A deeper look into modern conservation efforts reveals a simple truth. The mission of contemporary conservation and the mission of followers of Christ are diametrically opposed.

An Elephant in Uganda National Park

As a result of conservation efforts, people have been forced from their homes when their land is turned into a protected area such as a National Park. People who have lost their lands due to conservation are called conservation refugees. In many cases, these groups lived a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle as hunter-gatherers. When they are displaced, they enter into modern society as the poorest of the poor. The United Nations (UN) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) estimate the range of conservation refugees worldwide is five million to tens of millions.

Accurate reporting on the deaths caused by a people group becoming conservation refugees is difficult to gather. Governments do not often document these numbers. Governments and conservation organizations want to gain your admiration for the protected areas they have created and have your focus be on the gorillas, birds, whales, and trees so that you miss the actual cost of modern conservation.

Conservation Refugee Stats

Just as God desires to give life, the devil seeks to destroy it, and he has used the modern conservation movement for this very purpose.

The Bible reveals to us who God is and who we are in Him so that we may live out our lives to the fullness of His purpose for us. The devil's intent remains to draw people away from worshipping God and destroy as much human life as he can. The issue with the conservation movement is that it has become a movement for the worship of nature and the destruction of human life.

As a Christian, I find it impossible to align myself with modern conservation. Its principles are fundamentally at odds with what God teaches. God instructs us to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12), but modern conservation promotes a different message: "Love the animals, nature, and planet." This stark contrast is a clear indication of the divergence between the two.

Grand Teton National Park

Modern conservation promotes the worship of nature; this is a statement I have made that many people have taken issue with, Christians included. But when these organizations and governments continue to place the protection of nature above all else, what else can we call it but worship? When millions of human lives have been sacrificed to create national parks and animal sanctuaries, the evidence is clear. Modern conservation is not about stewarding nature; it is about turning hearts away from God and destroying human life.

The cost of sitting by as spectators in a world obsessed with creation over creator is too great. The cost of our inaction is too great. It is impossible to love something or someone without taking action. True love must be expressed in action. God instructs us to "love one another as I have loved you" (John 15:12). How did God love us? He sent His only son, who died so that we might live.

Children from the Batwa tribe in Uganda

The Batwa people are one of the oldest documented tribes in Africa. They live high in the mountain forests, straddling several East African countries. In 1991, the government of Uganda reclassified the lands the Batwa had lived on for millennia as national parks and forcibly removed the Batwa from them. This decision elevated the interests of conservation groups to protect mountain gorillas over the lives of the Batwa. 

There are organizations out there that work directly with conservation refugees. Hope Ministries Uganda is a nonprofit that ministers to the Batwa in Uganda. I have fallen in love with the Batwa and have partnered with Hope Ministries Uganda since 2020 both financially and in prayer.

Children from the Batwa tribe in Uganda

Many beautiful and life changing projects have been completed at the Land of Living Hope. Hope Ministries Uganda is proclaiming and demonstrating the life-changing Gospel of Jesus Christ by helping meet the spiritual, physical, and emotional needs of Batwa men, women, and children displaced due to conservation.

The Land of Living Hope and The Batwa

My vision is to continue to uplift the Batwa and raise awareness for conservation refugees. My hope is that those who hear the story of the Batwa and the stories of the millions of conservation refugees in the world today will be moved by love to take action. Because the world will take action for nature, the cost of our inaction is too great. The cost is a world that turns away from God and sacrifices human life to the Idol of nature.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 15:13

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