29. Religion and the Rise of Environmental Politics in the Twentieth Century

  1. Barbara A. McGraw
  1. Bron Taylor and
  2. Lucas F. Johnston

Published Online: 15 APR 2016

DOI: 10.1002/9781118528631.ch29

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S.

The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S.

How to Cite

Taylor, B. and Johnston, L. F. (2016) Religion and the Rise of Environmental Politics in the Twentieth Century, in The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Politics in the U.S. (ed B. A. McGraw), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118528631.ch29

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2016
  2. Published Print: 3 MAY 2016

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470657331

Online ISBN: 9781118528631

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Keywords:

  • climate change;
  • dark green religion;
  • environmental milieu;
  • environmental paganism;
  • environmental politics;
  • nature religion;
  • religion and ecology;
  • religion and nature;
  • twentieth-century environmentalism;
  • US environmentalism

Summary

In the twentieth century, religion, broadly defined, has played a significant role in environmental politics, both promoting and hindering environmental causes. Scholars observing these trends have offered explanations ranging from claims that religions in general (and often Christianity in particular), given their anthropocentrism and otherworldly orientations, devalue this world and promote indifference to environmental conservation. Other scholars contend that religions in general or certain religions in particular express and promote values that enjoin environmental protection, if properly understood, or creatively modernized to incorporate contemporary environmental understandings. Still others argue that new forms of nature-related spirituality were born in this century that are rooted in and consecrate scientific understandings and that are often inspiring the quest for environmental sustainability and social equity. Herein we trace the role religion has played in the rise of environmentalism and resistance to it, and the competing views of this history and the role of religion in it.