Stephen T. Asma writes in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how environmentalism has many religious elements:
Instead of religious sins plaguing our conscience, we now have the transgressions of leaving the water running, leaving the lights on, failing to recycle, and using plastic grocery bags instead of paper. In addition, the righteous pleasures of being more orthodox than your neighbor (in this case being more green) can still be had—the new heresies include failure to compost, or refusal to go organic. Vitriol that used to be reserved for Satan can now be discharged against evil corporate chief executives and drivers of gas-guzzling vehicles. Apocalyptic fear-mongering previously took the shape of repent or burn in hell, but now it is recycle or burn in the ozone hole.
The similarities between old-time fundamentalist religion and new-age (even pantheistic) environmentalism is stunning even if not commonly recognized or acknowledged. As Wesley Smith notes, while people rightly mock Pat Robertson’s statement about the earthquake in Haiti being punishment for making a pact with the devil, few people take note of actor Danny Glover’s equally ridiculous comments: “When we see what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen, this is the response, this is what happens, you know what I’m sayin’?” I refer you back to our editorial in the January issue that environmentalism is fundamentally anti-human life.