Blavatsky Blogger

Taking Theosophical ideas

into the 21st century


H P Blavatsky in the Vanguard of Environmentalism

In an 1891 article, H P Blavatsky expresses

concern about the destruction of the rain forests

and warns of global climate change

Posted 10/2/07

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In her article “Civilization, The Death of Art and Beauty”, published in 1891, H P Blavatsky makes and extensive attack on the moral and cultural decline of European Civilization and how its influence is pervading the rest of the world dragging other often superior cultures down with it. She also makes some far seeing observations on the effects of technological progress on the environment.


Although her precise predicted outcomes for man’s interventions such as the effects of the Panama Canal on the Gulf Stream are subject to discussion, H P Blavatsky’s concern for the environment seems surprisingly modern and she certainly understands the principle of Ecosystems.


An extract from Civilization, The Death of Art and Beauty. Published 1891.


“Owing to the triumphant march and the invasion of civilization, Nature, as well as man and ethics, is sacrificed, and is fast becoming artificial. Climates are changing, and the face of the whole world will soon be altered. Under the murderous hand of the pioneers of civilization, the destruction of whole primeval forests is leading to the drying up of rivers, and the opening of the Canal of Suez has changed the climate of Egypt as that of Panama will divert the course of the Gulf Stream. Almost tropical countries are now becoming cold and rainy, and fertile lands threaten to be soon transformed into sandy deserts.


A few years more and there will not remain within a radius of fifty miles around our large cities one single rural spot inviolate-from vulgar speculation. In scenery, the picturesque and the natural is daily replaced by the grotesque and the artificial. Scarce a landscape in England but the fair body of nature is desecrated by the advertisements of "Pears' Soap" and "Beecham's Pills." The pure air of the country is polluted with smoke, the smells of greasy railway-engines, and the sickening odours of gin, whiskey, and beer. And once that every natural spot in the surrounding scenery is gone, and the eye of the painter finds but the artificial and hideous products of modern speculation to rest upon, artistic taste will have to follow suit and disappear along with them.”


Civilization, The Death of Art and Beauty.

Full text


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