The Ecological Citizen: A peer-reviewed ecocentric journal


Long article

Religion and environmental behaviour (part one): World religions and the fate of the Earth

Bron Taylor

The Ecological Citizen Vol 3 No 1 2019: 71–6

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First published: 1 July 2019  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


Abstract

Most religious individuals and groups do not express and promote pro-environmental values and behavior but increasing numbers of individuals, and subsets within religious traditions, do. Consequently, some observers perceive that a 'greening of religion' is underway that promises to make significant contributions to the construction of sustainable societies. Social scientific research is less sanguine, however, finding that the lack of pro-environmental activities by the vast majority of religionists is due in part to religious beliefs, practices and priorities that hinder environmental understanding and concern. Extant research further shows that even those religionists with environmental concerns generally retain an anthropocentric bias and confine their felt obligations within the sphere of individual virtue ethics. Largely outside of the world's predominant religions, however, there are nature spiritualities with ecocentric values prioritizing biodiversity conservation and radical social transformation. Nevertheless, the best available evidence (reviewed here and in the next issue of The Ecological Citizen) indicates it is unlikely that religions of any sort will significantly slow, let alone prevent, the current, accelerating extinction event, and the concomitant collapse of Earth's still wildly diverse biocultural systems.

 

Keywords

Anthropocentrism, Environmental humanities, Religion, Worldviews

 


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