Hurricane Ridge
Olympic National Park, Washington State

 

The Sabbath is one-seventh part of our days. Far less than one-seventh part of our land remains in wilderness. If we understand the lessons of restraint and liberation conveyed by the Sabbath, then we should leave alone every acre that has not already been stamped by our designs, and we should restore millions of acres that have been abused…

Some people object that our economy will falter unless we open up these last scraps of wild land to moneymaking. They warn against the danger of ‘locking up’ resources vital to our prosperity. But couldn’t the same be said of the Sabbath? Why ‘lock up’ a whole day of the week? Why spend time worshiping, why meditate or pray, when we could be using that time to produce more goods and services? If it is really true that our economy will fail unless we devote every minute and every acre to the pursuit of profit, then our economy is already doomed. For where shall we turn after the calendar and the continent have been exhausted?

To cherish the wilderness does not mean that one must despise human works, any more than loving the Sabbath means that one must despise the rest of the week. Even if you do not accept the religious premise on which the Sabbath is based, as many people do not, then consider the wisdom embodied in the practice of restraint. Through honoring both Sabbath and wilderness, we renew our contact with the mystery that precedes and surrounds and upholds our lives. The Sabbath and the wilderness remind us of what is true everywhere and at all times, but which in our arrogance we keep forgetting—that we did not make the earth, that we are guests here, that we are answerable to a reality deeper and older and more sacred than our own will.

Scott Russell Sanders
A Conservationist Manifesto