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Religion and the Environment

It's a common misconception that faith is more concerned with the hereafter than the here-and-now; our faith defines our relationship with the world around us.

What resources might our faith traditions bring to the environmental issues of our day? How do our beliefs inform how we view sustainability, economic growth, and environmental care? What problems might faith traditions be causing in this time of crisis?

Here Patheos writers address climate change, water resources, fossil fuel emissions, and more, as they evaluate the interconnection of our faith traditions and the environment.


Recent Perspectives on Religion and the Environment

Death of a Gorilla: A Sentimental Holocaust

Death of a Gorilla: A Sentimental Holocaust

Jonathan Ryan

The outsized reactions to this animal's death vs. the child's survival reek of a spoiled sentimentality that has led to the worst mass killings in history.

Dystopic Minimalism and a Gorilla

Dystopic Minimalism and a Gorilla

Anne Kennedy

God made me, and that poor gorilla, and the mother and her child, and the minimalists.

Mother Praises God After Son Is Rescued From Gorilla Enclosure

Mother Praises God After Son Is Rescued From Gorilla Enclosure

Hemant Mehta

It's an unbelievably callous thing to say when a gorilla was killed because of human irresponsibility.

Called by God (and a Scientist) in the Cloud Forest

Called by God (and a Scientist) in the Cloud Forest

Scott Hardin-Nieri

Who is best equipped and empowered to accompany people during cultural and spiritual transformation? You guessed it. Faith Communities.

Earth Day: Do We Hear His Voice?

Earth Day: Do We Hear His Voice?

Tom Truby

God has invaded history and is in the process of redeeming the earth. Not just redeeming us but the whole human species and creation.

Has Science Made God Irrelevant?

Has Science Made God Irrelevant?

Thomas M. Doran

Earth Day has come around again, but what are rain forests and pristine lakes on Earth, or on a million planets, without reflective, intentionally creative creatures to nourish and cherish them?

"Dispatches From the Front Lines of Climate Justice"

Carl Gregg

On this upcoming Earth Day approaching—and in the days and years to come—how do you feel called to join the global movement for climate justice?

A Western Soto Zen Buddhist Statement

A Western Soto Zen Buddhist Statement

James Ford

The earth was partner to the Buddha's work; she is our partner, as we are hers.

Earth Day: The Last Supper?

Earth Day: The Last Supper?

Nancy Rockwell

The grass, the water, and the sun wash from their souls the grime of murder and arguments, and they are renewed, for the wonderful and terrible work that awaits them.

Save Biodiversity

Save Biodiversity

John Halstead

It's a fundamental principle of biological evolution that diversity is the key to strong ecosystems.

Introducing Religion and the Environment

Overview of World Religions and Ecology

Overview of World Religions and Ecology

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

The creative tensions between humans seeking to transcend this world and yearning to be embedded in this world are part of the dynamics of world religions.

Handle with Care: What the Bible Says About Sustainability

Handle with Care: What the Bible Says About Sustainability

Theology of Work Project

God's use of the words subdue and dominion in Genesis 1 do not give us permission to run roughshod over any part of his creation.

More Resources

Restory the World

Restory the World

John Halstead

Remember that magic is the art of changing consciousness. Create art, music, chants, poetry, and fiction to help us imagine a new kind of society which has only barely begun to be dreamed of.

Something in the Water: Privilege and Poison in Flint

Something in the Water: Privilege and Poison in Flint

Erin Wathen

What's in the water in Flint is the living embodiment of white privilege; and a living example of how real and present racism still is in our culture.

Bad Protocols and Fake Tests for Lead in Water

Bad Protocols and Fake Tests for Lead in Water

Ed Brayton

It appears that what happened in Flint, Michigan may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Laudato Si is Brilliant Evangelization

Laudato Si is Brilliant Evangelization

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

The Pope realizes that many outside the church can't hear the message of Christ because of distractions. So he takes lessons from St Paul.

Blue Environmentalism

Blue Environmentalism

Michael Novak

Where people are poor, environmental conditions tend to be abysmal; the best way to end poverty isn’t red but blue.

Eco-Consciousness and Collective Action

Eco-Consciousness and Collective Action

John Halstead

I had this intense feeling of both our infinitesimal insignificance and our inestimable consequence as a species.

Good Catholic, Global Warming Skeptic?

Good Catholic, Global Warming Skeptic?

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Does than mean he can’t be a good Catholic if he thinks the pope is wrong about global warming?

Accepting This Civilization Can Be Destroyed

Accepting This Civilization Can Be Destroyed

Domyo Burk

What did the revered Vietnamese Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, mean by this? And what did he not mean?

Every Day Should Be Earth Day If You're A Christian

Every Day Should Be Earth Day If You're A Christian

Benjamin L. Corey

Much of the hype over this annual day seems to have dissipated in recent years, but I think it's an important day if you're a Christian.

Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust

Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust

Frederick M. Denny

Nature is not independently worthwhile but derives its value from God...

Religion and a New Environmental Ethic

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