Religion and Environmentalism in America and Beyond

Bron Taylor

in The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780195178722
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Religion and Environmentalism in America and Beyond

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Some conservative Christians consider environmentalism to be a Trojan horse that threatens Western civilization with a revitalized paganism. Even among religiously and ideologically complex characters, such views can be found. This essay takes up such assertions and argues that religious perceptions and practices have decisively shaped environmentalism in America to such an extent that much environmentalism can be considered a nature religion. It then characterizes three major types of what is termed “green religion” that have emerged in American culture, reflecting on their impacts, both domestically and internationally, while speculating on their long-term influences upon religion and environmental politics, both in America and beyond. It also examines the attitudes and practices of European Americans toward nature from European contact to the twentieth century, the seeds of environmentalism in the twentieth century until Earth Day, environmentalism from the 1960s and Earth Day (1970) forward, civic earth religion, and environmental action. Finally, it discusses green religions as environmentally concerned world religions, as “nature-as-sacred religions,” and as postsupernaturalistic “spiritualities of connection” to nature.

Keywords: America; environmentalism; paganism; nature religion; green religion; European Americans; environmental politics; Earth Day; civic earth religion

Article.  11043 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Religious Studies ; Religion and Science

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