The Notre Dame de Paris is an awe-inspiring edifice, one of the most renowned examples of French Gothic architecture, home to countless histories of immense importance, and a representation of Catholics’ devotion to their God.
Just days after the historic landmark suffered tremendous damage in an accidental fire, a fundraising effort amassed more than one billion dollars to restore the structure to its former glory. Donors included Apple’s Tim Cook, the Walt Disney Company, Ubisoft, the CEOs of LVMH Group, Kering, L’Oreal, President Donald Trump, and many, many others.
The immediate rallying cry surrounding the desecration of this symbol of God’s glory calls into question our priorities as a civilization and our hubris as a species.
Where is the same expedient devotion to saving and preserving God’s greatest creation — our planet? Why do we, time and again, and without fail, hold our own creations paramount to the natural world around us?
Is there no beauty in the biodiversity of our rainforests, oceans and freshwater bodies? Can we truly devote ourselves to God’s glory and beauty if our continued actions cause more than 16,000 different species to be endangered and nearing extinction?
We recoil with shock at the burning of a single building, but are immune to the slashing and burning of millions of hectares of forests each year and the resulting displacement of countless species. Recent data suggests ice sheet loss in Antarctica increased by nearly 60% over a 10-year timespan and grows worse by the year.
What is our billionaire class doing to address these tragic losses and emergencies? Where are the multi-hundred-million dollar donations? Did they have a secret meeting and assign Hansjorg Wyss the sole responsibility of trying to save our planet so they could focus on the important things, such as having a pew to pray in while the world around us is burning?
So long as these companies rely on palm oil, the Borneo Forests will be depleted. So long as these companies rely on leather, more ecosystems will be destroyed in favor of unsustainable, methane-emitting and climate-changing ranches.
But take solace in your pews. These companies will try their hardest to follow the sustainability procedures they set for themselves. So long as it appears profitable.
Trey Elvis Hansen, Salt Lake City