An Examination of the “Greening of Christianity” Thesis Among Americans, 1993–2010



Some environmental and religious scholars, religious leaders, and media figures have claimed there has been a “greening of Christianity” in the United States since the mid-1990s. Such a trend would be socially significant, as the integration of Christian values and environmental values may invigorate both domains. Using nationally representative data from the 1993 and 2010 General Social Surveys, we analyze how green self-identified Christians in the U.S. general public are in their pro-environmental attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Using structural equation modeling, we find no clear evidence of a greening of Christianity among rank-and-file Christians in the general public between 1993 and 2010. Indeed, the patterns of our results are quite similar to those from earlier decades, which documented that self-identified Christians reported lower levels of environmental concern than did non-Christians and nonreligious individuals. We did find evidence of some greening among evangelical Protestants, especially relative to mainline Protestants, between 1993 and 2010. We close by suggesting a few fruitful avenues for further research in this area via variable-oriented, case-oriented, and experimental studies and discussing some theoretical implications of our findings.