As in the third Image to Image, this current edition also looks at humanity’s responsibility to our environment. Genesis 1:28 counsels us to subdue the Earth. Which we have done, oh so thoroughly – at the latest by the time agriculture was invented, and in earnest since the Industrial Revolution. But does subdue really mean "exploit”? Or perhaps He meant a sensitive reclamation, as contemporary Hebrew exegesis would translate it, much like one cultivates and tends the land? There’s no arguing with the fact that we’ve overreached and now face catastrophe. We all know it and we’re looking in every direction for a way out, but we also have to admit that we’ve become accustomed to this sense of destruction, and the dying out of many species. The vast majority of us have never seen, much less experienced, pristine nature untouched by humanity. On the contrary, we’ve learned to find aesthetic charm in over-cultivated, industrialized landscapes, and can even discern an aesthetic attraction in utterly devasted natural landscapes. Restricted zones and the decrepit nuclear facilities are to us now what artificial ruins were to eighteenth-century English landscape gardens. Nowadays, every computer game showcases dystopic post-apocalyptic scenes. We have always been fascinated by landscapes such as deserts, not only as havens for fanatic esoteric freaks, but also as atmospheric attractions for the tourist package safari holidaymakers. They couldn’t care less whether all the sand is the result of climate change or not. Who knows what it was like before? And anyway, let’s be honest: we never did like those little creatures and insects all that much.
But let’s not spoil the mood. Let’s be grateful for those individuals who’ve devoted themselves to fighting climate change. Even if it sometimes feels as though they’re tilting at windmills. And hey: let’s enjoy the crisp Riesling that the Scandinavians are finally in a position to cultivate.