The Structure of Religious Environmentalism: Movement Organizations, Interorganizational Networks, and Collective Action


  • Acknowledgments: The authors thank Katie Axelrod who prepared the data matrices. We also acknowledge Stephen Wieting, the participants of the University of Iowa Theory Workshop, and the anonymous reviewers of the journal for their helpful comments.

Stephen Ellingson, Department of Sociology, Hamilton College, 198 College Hill Road, Clinton, NY 13323. E-mail:


Historically, religious groups have been absent from the American environmental movement, but since the late 1990s a host of new religious environmental movement organizations (REMOs) have emerged. Little is known about REMOs or how religion structures the nascent movement field. Drawing on interviews with leaders of 63 REMOs in the United States, we examined whether theological frames and religious affiliations, on the one hand, and environmental interests, on the other, shaped the formation of information exchange and joint action between REMOs. The results show that shared religious affiliations and theological frames are directly associated with joint action between REMOs. In contrast, shared environmental interests are associated directly with information exchange, but not joint action. The results suggest that cultural aspects of religion are linked to the structure of the religious environmental movement.