My only caveat with regard to the following essay is the alliance recently concluded between the collectivist left [who are the heirs to discredited political/economic Marxism] and the Islamists who have been conjoined in their project of defeating Western culture.
Conventional religions have been under attack for some years from liberals who have drifted into secular humanism and away from any devout belief in God. But as Margaret Mead discovered long ago, no culture has ever existed without some belief in a supernatural being. In today's world, the worship of the "environment" has filled the bill perfectly.
Green religion competes with old-style religions such as Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Environmentalists passionately believe its stories and predictions to be as accurate as fundamentalists view the Old and New Testaments or the Koran. While the old religions encouraged charitable activities toward others, the new Green religion grants dispensation by bicycling to work, recycling beer cans, and voting for the most "progressive" candidates.
When one observes the ubiquitous environmental movement overpowering all of society today, one might easily confuse it for a single spontaneous social movement or a mystic awakening, inspired perhaps by man's impact on the natural world or our constant increase of knowledge and awareness. But that would be wrong. When one looks under the surface, one sees specific and self-interested constituencies, each milking a popular movement for all they can get.
First, we have leftist intellectuals and their sock puppets, the politicians, who seek to run the lives of those they see as less intelligent and less capable than themselves. This is the "means justify the ends" crowd, who dominate governments from the lowest and most local level up to the U.S. Senate and the United Nations. For them, environmentalism is just a convenient end to justify the means they have long supported for other reasons: central control, more regulation, higher taxes, more power for them, less freedom for everyone else.