Many Bahá’ís would have you believe, well, at least since the 1960s or 1970s, that their religion is distinctly pro-environment. I’m not sure where they get this idea, but I think it has to do with a couple factors:
- Bahá’u’lláh loved gardens.
- Bahá’u’lláh occasionally expressed the old metaphysical idea that nature is the will of God.
The Bahá’í love for gardens is certainly a step in the right direction, but even it can run afoul of environmental prudence. The Bahá’í gardens in and around Haifa Israel help to illustrate this point. Whereas some of those gardens appear to be adapted to the arid Palestinian climate, others are by contrast highly consumptive of water. There are lawns and fountains galore. This kind of landscaping does not respect the natural climate of the area, and uses like this could be at risk were Israel to have to return the Golan Heights to Syria, as one third of Israel’s water comes from the Golan.
I don’t regard the environmental aspects of the Haifa terrace gardens and “Arc” to be a horrible crime against nature or the Arab world, but I wouldn’t call it a selling point for the Bahá’ís.