Book Review: This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology, part 1
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Book Review: This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology, part 1

This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology by Will Anderson, 2012, Earth Books, 368 pp, $22.95

In this remarkable book, Will Anderson carefully, thoroughly makes an overwhelming case that the future of humanity hangs in the balance. And what will tip that balance one way or another will be whether or not humanity embraces a broad ethic of environmental responsibility and animal rights. Humans must radically alter their ecological footprint by reversing population growth, living sustainably with renewable resources, and minimizing pollution. Otherwise, we will degrade the environment to the point that the world will become essentially uninhabitable for us (as well as countless other species).
At the same time, we must embrace animal rights. It won’t suffice for humans to ruthlessly exploit nonhumans while “conserving” enough animal, plant, mineral, and fossil fuel “resources” to satisfy human needs. In addition to being morally bankrupt, such an attitude inevitably devastates ecosystems and species populations. Only respectful attitudes towards the entire nonhuman world will preserve or regenerate natural ecosystems, which are essential for sustaining life as we know it. For example, if we allowed forests and grasslands that have been converted to croplands to grow back, they would sequester much of the excess carbon dioxide that currently warms our planet.
Anderson thoughtfully considers many ethical dilemmas. Is it acceptable to kill members of prey species because their populations have been altered by “predator control” programs? Anderson carefully considers all viewpoints and concludes that killing animals is an unacceptable solution to the problem. Should we respect the hunting traditions of indigenous people? Anderson rejects these policies as well, noting that we do not regard “tradition” as an acceptable excuse for slavery or female genital mutilation, and we should not accept it as an excuse for killing nonhumans either.

Next essay, I will discuss Anderson’s call for “green vegan” living. 

Go on to: Book Review: This Is Hope: Green Vegans and the New Human Ecology, part 2
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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