God’s Country: The New Zealand Factor

. . . an Expansive Analysis of Eco-Trends
of the 21st Century’s 1st Decade


God's Country Download PicThe Dancing Star Foundation (Los Angeles, CA) and Zorba Press (Ithaca, NY) have just announced the online/worldwide release of God’s Country: The New Zealand Factor by Michael Charles Tobias and Jane Gray Morrison, Introduction by Ingrid Newkirk, President of PETA, People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals. The book (602 pages and more than 850 photographs) provides an expansive analysis of ecological trends of the first decade of the 21st century, using New Zealand as an important paradigm for positive global change. It is available online as a free PDF download.

But God’s Country is no ordinary examination of environmental change. Rather, it is an entirely unique exploration of the many complex issues impacting the local, regional and global ecosystems upon which all life depends. Further still, Tobias and Morrison go far beyond studies which heretofore approach ecosystem shifts from a mono-dimensional perspective. Their provocative work profiles the frequent collision of ethical values, moral ambivalence and personal, political and economic interests at every level.

From the individual choice to consume — or not consume — animal products, to animal rights, welfare and protectionist organizations . . . from biomedical interests and factory farming to many of the NGOs and governments around the globe who are in serious conflict over the causes and consequences of climate change, Tobias and Morrison share their expansive research and data in the context of the ethical issues inherent in human behavior and choices.

Lemur in treeMindful of the complexities of the issues explored and the cultural differences which further exacerbate global dissension and disengagement, the authors assert their belief that while daunting, these issues are not insurmountable and underscore the interconnectedness of a world at risk. In New Zealand, they see a nation optimally situated to foment a sea-change in reassessing the human-animal-environment connection.

Though fraught with many of the personal, political and economic contradictions that affect the environment in every country around the globe, New Zealand is a nation whose comparatively small population (circa 4,400,000) is already engaged in a thoughtful public “dialogue of conscience” that is driving encouraging change towards a more compassionate future.

In many ways, New Zealand is at the forefront of environmental protection. With its thousands of covenanted areas and fourteen remarkable national parks, New Zealand has capitalized brilliantly on “eco-tourism.” Yet it has also been described as one of the world’s “capitals of extinction” (along with many other regions and nations) due to the tragic loss of species, principally bird species (avifauna). In addition, New Zealand’s tranquil image of picture postcard scenery belies a less talked-about reality, namely, the killing and/or consumption of innumerable animals for human consumption . . . a situation that likewise exists in every country around the world.

Read Part 2 of this article.