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Did Ecology Begin With the Torah?

כִּֽי־תָצ֣וּר אֶל־עִיר֩ יָמִ֨ים רַבִּ֜ים לְֽהִלָּחֵ֧ם עָלֶ֣יהָ לְתׇפְשָׂ֗הּ לֹֽא־תַשְׁחִ֤ית אֶת־עֵצָהּ֙ לִנְדֹּ֤חַ עָלָיו֙ גַּרְזֶ֔ן כִּ֚י מִמֶּ֣נּוּ תֹאכֵ֔ל וְאֹת֖וֹ לֹ֣א תִכְרֹ֑ת כִּ֤י הָֽאָדָם֙ עֵ֣ץ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָבֹ֥א מִפָּנֶ֖יךָ בַּמָּצֽוֹר׃ רַ֞ק עֵ֣ץ אֲשֶׁר־תֵּדַ֗ע כִּֽי־לֹא־עֵ֤ץ מַאֲכָל֙ ה֔וּא אֹת֥וֹ תַשְׁחִ֖ית וְכָרָ֑תָּ וּבָנִ֣יתָ מָצ֗וֹר עַל־הָעִיר֙ אֲשֶׁר־הִ֨וא עֹשָׂ֧ה עִמְּךָ֛ מִלְחָמָ֖ה עַ֥ד רִדְתָּֽהּ׃ {פ}

“If you besiege a city [(in an optional war)] many days [(“days” = two; “many days” = three — whence it is derived that gentile cities are not besieged fewer than three days before the Sabbath and that the peace overture is repeated for two or three days)], to make war upon it, to capture it, do not destroy its tree by wielding an axe against it. For from it shall you eat, but it shall you not cut down. For is the tree of the field a man, to come before you into the siege, [there to be afflicted with hunger and thirst like the people of the city? Why should you destroy it?]” – R’ Shraga Silverstein translation

This is one of our primary sources for tu b’shvat. In our time we tend to promote ecological values as an essential part of modern ethics, along with respect for minorities, women, technological progress, etc.

Is there any source for ecology, in the sense of imposing a law upon a people to treat plant life with respect, before the Torah, in Europe or Asia?

submitted by /u/Delicious_Shape3068
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Source: Reditt