Many religious zealots live to die. Their entire earthly existence is devoted to achieving eternal life and death is the portal to that reward. Focused on this goal, they overlook the many joys that our earth-bound life can bring. Curiosity about the natural world is often a victim of that zealotry.
One need not be a hedonist to appreciate the many wonders of this planet. Expensive journeys and high-tech equipment are unneces-sary. Relatively few people fully explore their own yards and neighborhoods, let alone the nearby marsh or woodlot. Just coming to grips with the night sky can keep us enthralled for decades and weather buffs have an endless source of entertainment.
Unfortunately, many find it hard to balance natural science and spirituality. It's often easier to take a simplistic view of life, devoid of uncertainties. If more of us accepted this Earth as our paradise, we'd be more committed to protecting and enjoying what we have. In the end, we'd all be better off.