A source guide on religion and the environment

Every religious tradition defines its relationship to the natural environment. In the United States’ religious history, that relationship has been most frequently drawn from Genesis 1:28: “And God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (KJV).

For a long time, Judeo-Christian theologians generally agreed that this passage means God intends for mankind to use creation as he sees fit, placing human beings above all other living things, animal or vegetable, in importance. But in the 1960s, as the secular environmental movement was born with the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, a different interpretation of Genesis gained credence. Many theologians now interpret “dominion” as stewardship, pointing to Genesis 2:15, where man is put in the Garden of Eden “to dress and keep it.” They hold that God intends for human beings to care for, not dominate, the natural world.

Now the religious environmental movement is blooming in depth, diversity and impact. Most faith groups are actively pursuing environmental goals, and thousands of individuals motivated by faith are addressing environmental concerns, often through personal behavior or secular groups. Earth Day becomes more important each April 22 with people of faith promoting environmentalism more than ever — and others revering nature to the extent that some wonder if ecology is a new religion. Yet for Christians, in particular, the concept of “creation care” is allowing them to find common ground on environmental protection.

There remain, however, some significant disagreements among religious groups. Most major U.S. denominations have official statements on the environment, mostly crafted in the 1980s and early 1990s, that adhere to one of the two interpretations of “dominion.” In recent years, a concern for all manner of environmental challenges – overpopulation, consumerism, global warming, world agriculture and natural resource usage – has moved up on the priority lists of many faith groups. Today, groups as different as evangelical Christians, Unitarian Universalists and Conservative Jews sometimes find themselves working together on environmental issues, whether trying to influence government policy or turning their own congregations “green.”

Environmentalism has also taken hold among other faiths, whose numbers have grown in the U.S., in part through immigration. Today, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and followers of other religions are approaching environmentalism through the prism of their beliefs.

Background

Timeline

A timeline of the religion and environment movement in the United States:

  • In 1967, historian Lynn White Jr. wrote an article for Time magazine in which he slammed American Christianity for not caring about the environment. Christianity, White wrote, “bears a huge burden of guilt” for promoting “dominion” theology, which he said permits people to misuse the environment.
  • In 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated.
  • In 1973, 40 evangelical leaders signed the Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern. That group eventually became Evangelicals for Social Action, which made “creation care” one of its four main concerns. Twenty years later, another group of evangelical leaders signed an updated version, called the 1993 Chicago Declaration.
  • During the 1990s, a pair of competing statements on Christians’ relationship with the environment focused attention on the issue. In 1994, “An Evangelical Declaration on the the Care of Creation” asserted a Christian responsibility for “creation care.” In 1999, the “Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship” answered with a defense of the concept of human dominion over the Earth and the importance of private property rights trumping government regulations.
  • In 1992, then Vice President Al Gore and Carl Sagan convened a meeting of the leadership of the major organizations in American Jewish life, eminent rabbis, denominational presidents and Jewish U.S. senators in Washington, D.C., to discuss the creation of a Jewish response to the mounting environmental crisis. One year later, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life was founded.
  • In 1993, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America adopted a social statement titled “Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice.”
  • In 2002, the University of Florida initiated the country’s first doctoral program in religion and nature. The same year, the Evangelical Environmental Network launched the “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign to focus attention on fuel efficiency. The program attracted major media attention to the growing Christian environmental movement.
  • In 2006, a divide opened between American evangelical leaders on the subject of global warming. In February, 86 evangelical leaders signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative, a statement that calls for legislation that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Among the signatories were presidents of 39 evangelical colleges and leaders of aid groups and churches, including the Salvation Army and megachurch pastor Rick Warren. In July, 22 other evangelical leaders, under the banner of the Interfaith Stewardship Alliance (now the Cornwall Alliance), wrote a letter to Ted Haggard, then the president of the National Association of Evangelicals; the letter cast doubt on current climate science and asked the NAE to refrain from adopting any official position on global warming. Among those signatories were Charles W. Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries; James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family; and Richard Land, then-president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. In the same year, the Cornwall Alliance sent an open letter to the Evangelical Climate Initiative, explaining their disagreement with the Initiative’s stance. Later in the year, the Cornwall Alliance released “A Call to Truth, Prudence, and Protection of the Poor: An Evangelical Response to Global Warming,” a full response to the Initiative’s claims.
  • In 2007, the Vatican held a seminar titled “Climate Change and Development,” its first seminar on global warming. At the seminar’s end, Pope Benedict XVI told the assembled scientists the world must find a way to “respect creation” while “focusing on the needs of sustainable development.”
  • In 2013, Argentinian CardinalJorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope Francis. In his inaugural address as pope, Francis said, “I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.”

Articles and publications

National sources

Think tanks

  • Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies

    The Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies defines its mission as promoting “knowledge of the Creation with biblical principles for the purpose of bringing the Christian community and the general public to a better understanding of the Creator and the stewardship of God’s Creation.” It conducts programs to promote Christian environmental stewardship through academic and community programs, outreach and retreats. The institute maintains campuses in Michigan, Washington state, Costa Rica and India. Fred Van Dyke is executive director.

  • God’s Renewed Creation

    God’s Renewed Creation: Call to Hope and Action is a project of the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church that examines the interconnectedness of poverty, violence and environmental degradation. The project has worked toward numerous sustainability projects, including the certification of LEED Methodist offices, and provides resources, study guides and materials.

  • Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology

    The Elliott Allen Institute for Theology and Ecology is a Christian teaching and research institute associated with the University of Toronto in Canada. Dennis Patrick O’Hara is director.

  • Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

    The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology wants to establish religion and ecology as an area of study and research in universities, colleges, seminaries and other religiously affiliated institutions. The forum arose out of a series of conferences on the world’s religions and ecology hosted by the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions.

  • International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture

    The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature & Culture is an organization of experts from around the world on religion, cultures, geographies and their environmental concerns. It is based at the University of Florida. Luke Johnston is acting executive director.

  • Center for Environmental Philosophy

    The Center for Environmental Philosophy was created by the board of directors of Environmental Philosophy, Inc., a nonprofit corporation of the State of New Mexico. It is the product of a number of activities begun with the creation of the journal Environmental Ethics. It is based at the University of North Texas in Denton.

Religious organizations

  • Creation Justice Ministries

    Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches of Christ Eco-Justice Programs) works in cooperation with national bodies of Protestant denominations, Orthodox communions, regional faith groups and congregants to protect and restore God’s creation.

  • Environmental Justice Program

    The Environmental Justice Program, a program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, educates and motivates Catholics to a deeper reverence and respect for God’s creation and encourages Catholics to address environmental problems, especially as they affect poor and vulnerable people. The program serves as a resource for Catholic dioceses and state Catholic conferences, and through them Catholic parishes.

  • National Catholic Rural Life Conference

    The National Catholic Rural Life Conference is based in Iowa and applies Christian teaching to agriculture and food issues. The conference supports farm bill provisions that would “feed the hungry, preserve God’s creation, support small family farmers, and help rural America thrive.” It also supports creation care as part of its mission to protect rural life in America.

  • A Rocha

    A Rocha is an international Christian organization working to care for the environment. The organization has projects in many countries around the world. The U.S. office is in Fredericksburg, Texas.

  • Earth Ministry

    Earth Ministry includes congregational activists in the Puget Sound, Wash., area, but its programs and resources are in use throughout the United States and Canada. It is interested in creation care and eco-justice, including food issues. Though based in Christianity, Earth Ministry’s programs and membership are open to people of all faiths.

  • Evangelical Environmental Network

    The Evangelical Environmental Network is a Christian ministry dedicated to mobilizing people to care for God’s creation. The network embraces the idea of man-made climate change.

  • Plant with a Purpose

    Plant With Purpose is a Christian, environmental non-profit organization that focuses on holistic solutions to poverty, including planting trees, creating economic opportunity through micro-credit and micro-enterprise, implementing sustainable agriculture programs and encouraging spiritual renewal. It is based in San Diego, Calif.

  • Target Earth

    Target Earth, in Colfax, Wash., is a national network of Christian organizations committed to environmental stewardship.

  • Web of Creation

    The Web of Creation, an ecumenical site maintained by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, provides congregational resources on ecology and religion. Contact director David Rhoads.

  • Green Seminary Initiative

    The Green Seminary Initiative fosters efforts by theological schools and seminaries to incorporate care for creation into the identity and mission of the institution. It is dedicated to building a nationwide coalition of theological schools that infuse care of the Earth into all aspects of theological education. The Green Seminary Initiative is hosted by the Theological School at Drew University in New Jersey.

  • Canfei Nesharim

    Canfei Nesharim (Hebrew for “the wings of eagles”) works to educate the Orthodox Jewish community about preserving the environment. Evonne Marzouk is the organization’s founder and executive director.

  • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life

    The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life concentrates on fuel economy and climate change as well as power plants and children’s environmental health. Its national partners are the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment. It has offices in New York City and Washington. Jared Feldman is vice president and director of the Washington office.

  • Green Zionist Alliance

    The Green Zionist Alliance is an organization that works to provide resources to promote environmental activism in Israel, the Middle East and throughout the Jewish Diaspora. They seek to bridge the differences between and within religions and people, helping to build a peaceful and sustainable future for Israel and the Middle East. The group maintains offices in New York.

  • Big Green Jewish Website

    The Big Green Jewish Website is the home of the climate change campaign of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom. The site works to raise awareness about environmental issues by educating and empowering people to make changes in their lives.

  • Shalom Center

    The Shalom Center focuses on planetary ecological dangers from its offices in Philadelphia. It is associated with the Jewish Renewal movement, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow is director.

  • Teva Learning Center

    Teva Learning Center is a Jewish environmental education institute. It is nondenominational and provides educational service for participants from Jewish day schools, congregational schools, synagogues, camps and youth groups. Yishai Cohen is director of programs.

  • TorahTrek

    The TorahTrek Center for Jewish Wilderness Spirituality conducts retreats, outdoor adventures and events that make a connection to Jewish life and the environment. Rabbi Mike Comins is its founder. It is based in Los Angeles. Contact through the form on their website.

  • Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences

    The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences is an international organization that voices a Muslim perspective on environmental issues. It publishes the newsletter EcoIslam and is based in Birmingham, England. Fazlun Khalid is founder and director.

  • National Religious Partnership for the Environment

    The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is an alliance of major faith groups and denominations across the spectrum of Jewish and Christian communities and organizations in the United States. Its four founding partners are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (the policy agency for U.S. bishops, clergy and parishes), the Evangelical Environmental Network (an alliance of evangelical Christian programs and educational institutions), the National Council of Churches (a coalition of Protestant, Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and African-American denominations) and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (an association of organizations from all four Jewish movements).

  • Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

    The Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation was formed to put into action the ideas set forth in the “Cornwall Declaration on Environmental Stewardship,” which posits that although “some environmental concerns are well founded and serious, others are without foundation or greatly exaggerated.” The alliance is based in Virginia and includes clergy, theologians, scientists, policy experts and others. Melinda K. Ronn is the Alliance’s media contact.

  • GreenFaith

    GreenFaith is an interfaith coalition based in New Jersey that works with houses of worship, religious schools and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards. The Rev. Fletcher Harper is executive director.

  • Interfaith Power & Light

    Interfaith Power & Light works to mobilize faith communities in response to global warming. The organization has affiliates in 40 states and is based in San Francisco. Susan Stephenson is executive director.

  • Episcopal Ecological Network

    The Episcopal Ecological Network is a ministry of the Episcopal Church that advocates on behalf of the church for care of the environment.

  • Mennonite Creation Care Network

    The Mennonite Creation Care Network encourages the congregations in the Mennonite Church USA and the Mennonite Church Canada to engage in care of the environment and serves as a network for Mennonites engaged in that work. Luke Gascho heads the network, which is based in Wolf Lake, Ind.

  • Presbyterians for Earth Care

    Presbyterians for Earth Care, formerly Presbyterians for Restoring Creation, is a grass-roots national organization of Presbyterians associated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) who are concerned about the environment and work to support the church’s environmental statements and goals.

  • Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth

    The Unitarian Universalist Ministry for Earth encourages Unitarian Universalists and organizations at all levels to articulate Unitarian Universalist theology, principles and values around Earth ministry and to develop common language to facilitate their environmental justice work.

  • Evangelicals for Social Action

    Evangelicals for Social Action is a Christian organization that works on social concerns from an evangelical Christian perspective. Contact through president and founder, Ron Sider.

    They are proponents of creation care.

Secular organizations with religious partnerships

People

  • Edward Brown

    Edward Brown is the founding director of Care of Creation, a Christian environmental mission agency based in Madison, Wis. He is the author of Our Father’s World: Mobilizing the Church to Care for Creation.

  • Cassandra Carmichael

    Cassandra Carmichael is director of the National Council of Churches’ Eco-Justice Programs. She has written numerous articles on faith and the environment.

  • John Chryssavgis

    The Rev. John Chryssavgis is author of Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition. He taught theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and  serves as theological adviser to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues.

    Contact: 617-731-3500.
  • Calvin DeWitt

    Calvin DeWitt is a professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is concerned with the ethics of farming and uses of the natural environment, including animals. He is co-founder of the International Evangelical Environmental Network.

  • Rebecca Greenwood

    Rebecca Greenwood is co-founder and president of Christian Harvest International and Strategic Prayer Action Network (SPAN). She is the author of Destined to Rule: Spiritual Strategies for Advancing the Kingdom of God (2007), in which she discusses the role and responsibilities of Christians as “rulers” over creation.

    Contact: 719-243-3302.
  • Steve Gutow

    Rabbi Steve Gutow is president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, president and CEO of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the founding executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council.

  • Samuel T. Lloyd III

    The Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III is the priest-in-charge at Trinity Church in Boston, an Episcopal church. He was the ninth dean of the Washington National Cathedral, and he preached from the cathedral’s pulpit about global warming and the need for Christians to act. Email him through the contact form on Trinity Church’s website.

    Contact: 617-536-0944.
  • Evonne Marzouk

    Evonne Marzouk is executive director and founder of Canfei Nesharim, an organization of Orthodox Jews committed to preserving the environment. She has spoken widely on Judaism and the environment. She lives in Maryland.

  • David Saperstein

    Rabbi David Saperstein is the director of Reform Judaism’s Religious Action Center, the advocacy arm of the Reform movement.

  • Dr. Matthew Sleeth

    Dr. Matthew Sleeth is a former emergency room physician who now preaches and teaches widely on faith and the environment. He is based in Lexington, Ky., and is the author of Serve God, Save the Planet: A Christian Call to Action.

  • Arthur Waskow

    Rabbi Arthur Waskow is a Reconstructionist rabbi who is director of the Shalom Center, which promotes activism and education around Jewish environmentalism. He is the author of Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex and the Rest of Life. Read his essay “Passover as if Earth Really Matters” in the April 2008 online edition of The Nation.

  • Richard Cizik

    The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He has said he promotes a political agenda that supports the values of a free and open society.

    He has been a major proponent of creation care.

  • Selena Fox

    Selena Fox is a high priestess and senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church and pagan resource center near Mount Horeb, Wis. Wicca is a neo-pagan faith that relies heavily on nature and a belief in some forms of magic and the supernatural.

    One of her group’s main concerns is environmental preservation.

    Contact: 608-924-2216.
  • Robert Royal

    Robert Royal serves as president of the Faith & Reason Institute and editor-in-chief of The Catholic Thing. His books include 1492 and All That: Political Manipulations of History and Reinventing the American People: Unity and Diversity Today.

    He signed the Cornwall Declaration.

  • Louis P. Sheldon

    The Rev. Louis P. Sheldon is chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition and one of the most recognizable names of the religious right.

    He was one of the signers of the Cornwall Alliance’s letter to the National Evangelical Association president urging that the NAE not take “any official position” on global warming.

    Contact: 714-520-0300.
  • Robert Sirico

    The Rev. Robert Sirico is president of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich. Sirico says liberation theology faded with the collapse of the Soviet Union but has since “morphed,” and much of its progressive agenda reappears in “eco-spirituality,” indigenous rights groups and anti-globalization efforts. These movements, he says, tend to avoid the explicitly Marxist language of their predecessor while using the same socialist analysis.

    He signed of the Cornwall Declaration.

  • Jim Wallis

    The Rev. Jim Wallis is a prominent evangelical author, commentator and the founder of Sojourners magazine, a periodical that tries to promote social change through Christian values. He has served on the White House Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and can comment on public policy issues.

    He signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative statement.

  • Donald E. Wildmon

    Donald E. Wildmon is founder and chairman of the American Family Association in Tupelo, Miss. Wildmon is an outspoken figure who is frequently in the news. Contact through Diane O’Neal.

    He signed the Cornwall Declaration.

    Contact: 662-680-3886.

Academics

  • J. Baird Callicott

    J. Baird Callicott is a professor in the philosophy and religious studies department at the University of North Texas in Denton. His expertise includes ecological ethics. He has written several books, including In Defense of the Land Ethic: Essays in Environmental Philosophy and Earth’s Insights: A Multicultural Survey of Ecological Ethics From the Mediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback.

  • Thomas R. Dunlap

    Thomas R. Dunlap is a history professor at Texas A&M University in College Station with an expertise in environmental history. He is the author of Faith in Nature: Environmentalism as Religious Quest.

  • Richard Foltz

    Richard Foltz is a professor of religion at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and director of its Centre for Iranian Studies. He is considered a pioneer in the academic field combining religion and ecology and is an expert in Islamic religious and cultural attitudes toward animals. His books include (as author) Animals in Islamic Tradition and Muslim Cultures and (as editor) Worldviews, Religion and the Environment: A Global Anthology. He has also researched Mormonism.

  • Roger Gottlieb

    Roger Gottlieb is a philosophy professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. Disability is among his wide area of interests; he has served on the steering committee of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and Disabilities Study Group, and his book Joining Hands: Politics and Religion Together for Social Change includes a section about one of his daughters, who has several disabilities. Gottlieb has also written several books on religion and the environment, including A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet’s Future, and he edited Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology.

  • Bron Raymond Taylor

    Bron Raymond Taylor is a religion professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he helped to launch a graduate program in religion and nature. Taylor was also instrumental in the formation of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture and served as its first president from 2006-2009. He is considered a leading scholar on religion and nature, and his books include (as editor) the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature and (as author) Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future.

     

  • Mary Evelyn Tucker

    Mary Evelyn Tucker is a senior lecturer and senior research scholar at Yale University, where she has appointments in the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School.  She is co-founder and co-director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology and is the author of Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase.

  • Paul F. Waldau

    Paul F. Waldau works at the intersection of animal studies, ethics, religion, law and cultural studies. He is an associate professor and lead faculty member for the anthrozoology graduate program at Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as the president of the Religion and Animals Institute.

  • Steven Bouma-Prediger

    Steven Bouma-Prediger is the author of For the Beauty of the Earth: A Christian Vision for Creation Care. He is a professor of religion at Hope College in Holland, Mich., where he leads the environmental studies program.

  • John W. Hart

    John W. Hart is professor of Christian ethics at Boston University’s School of Theology and has expertise in American Indians and North American indigenous religions. He has also written several books about Christian environmental theology

  • Laurel Kearns

    Laurel Kearns is an associate professor of the sociology of religion and environmental studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J. She has written about Spiritualism and women. She is co-editor, with Catherine Keller, of Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth (2007) and is an expert on eco-theology.

  • David M. Rhoads

    The Rev. David M. Rhoads is a professor emeritus of New Testament at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He is the editor of a collection of sermons called Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet and director of the Green Congregation Program, which works to help Lutheran congregations in the Midwest become more environmentally friendly.

  • Jame Schaefer

    Jame Schaefer is an associate professor of theology at Marquette University in Milwaukee. She specializes in the intersection of Christian, and especially Catholic, theology and the sciences, including environmental science.

  • Sarah McFarland Taylor

    Sarah McFarland Taylor is an associate professor of religion at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. She is the author of Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology, about the growing number and strength of environmentally activist Roman Catholic nuns. She is at work on Green Convergence: Religion, Environment and Popular Culture and has also written about creation spirituality; the Gaian, or Earth-based, Mass; the idea of the eco-church; and the general “greening” of religion in America. She teaches several courses on religion and ecology.

  • Mark I. Wallace

    Mark I. Wallace is a professor of religion at Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa. He is the author of Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature, among other titles.

  • Jonathan R. Wilson

    Jonathan R. Wilson is the Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology and Ethics at Carey Theological College in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has written about evangelicalism and environmentalism.

  • Seyyed Hossein Nasr

    Seyyed Hossein Nasr is a world-renowned scholar on Islam who teaches Islamic studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His writings include Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man and The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity. Much of his work focuses on Islamic spiritual values, but he has also written about the religious and spiritual dimensions of the environmental crisis.

  • Ismar Schorsch

    Ismar Schorsch is a professor of Jewish history at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City. He worked with former Vice President Al Gore to create the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.

  • Moshe Sokol

    Moshe Sokol is dean of Lander College for Men and Beis Medrash L’ Talmud at Touro College in New York City. Sokol has participated in, taught at and delivered papers at several conferences and sessions on Judaism and the environment.

  • Martin David Yaffe

    Martin David Yaffe is a professor of philosophy and religion studies at the University of North Texas in Denton. He is the editor of Judaism and Environmental Ethics: A Reader.

  • S. Cromwell Crawford

    S. Cromwell Crawford is professor and chairman of religion at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is author of The Evolution of Hindu Ethical Ideals (University of Hawaii Press, 1982), has taught a course on ethics in world religions and has written about Hindu ethics and the environment.

  • David Haberman

    David Haberman is a professor of religious studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. He teaches on the subject of religion and ecology, particularly Hinduism. His books include River of Love in the Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006).

  • Vasudha Narayanan

    Vasudha Narayanan is Distinguished Professor of Religion at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and she helped found the university’s Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions, of which she is director. She is a noted scholar of Hinduism and the environment.

  • Pankaj Jain

    Pankaj Jain is a scholar of Indic Traditions and Ecology and is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies and the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Texas. He has also taught at North Carolina State University, Rutgers, Kean, and New Jersey City University. He holds an MA from Columbia and PhD from University of Iowa.

  • Stephanie Kaza

    Stephanie Kaza is a professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont in Burlington, where she teaches courses on religion and ecology, eco-feminism and “unlearning consumerism.” She is a practicing Soto Zen Buddhist and is co-editor of Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism.

  • Kenneth Kraft

    Kenneth Kraft is professor of religious studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., where he teaches about Buddhism and ecology. His books include The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism: A New Map of the Path (Weatherhill, 1999), on spiritual responses to social and environmental issues, and, as co-editor, Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism (Shambhala, 2000).

  • Leslie E. Sponsel

    Leslie E. Sponsel is a professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He specializes in religion and ecology and has written about Buddhism and the environment.

  • John Berthrong

    John Berthrong is associate professor of comparative theology at the Boston University School of Theology. His books include, as co-editor, Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth and Humans (Harvard University Press, 1998).

  • Jonathan Herman

    Jonathan Herman is an associate professor of religious studies at Georgia State University in Atlanta. He has written about Taoist environmentalism in the West.

  • James Miller

    James Miller is a professor of Chinese religious traditions at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is an expert on Taoism and ecology.

Regional sources

In the Northeast

  • Maine Interfaith Power & Light

    Maine Interfaith Power and Light is a volunteer led non-profit organization which partners with faith groups of all religions to counter climate change and work for a sustainable future. Richard Clugston is the executive director.

     

  • Vermont Interfaith Power & Light

    Vermont Interfaith Power & Light serves Vermont faith communities in their efforts to address the climate crisis. It helps faith communities and their individual members to be better stewards of Creation by using energy wisely, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Betsy Hardy is the coordinator.

    Contact: 802-434-3397.
  • Donald K. Swearer

    Donald K. Swearer is a faculty member in the department of religion at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He is an expert on ecology and Buddhism.

  • Mark E. Graham

    Mark E. Graham is an associate professor of moral theology at Villanova University, Villanova, Pa., and the author of Sustainable Agriculture: A Christian Ethic of Gratitude. He has taught courses on Christian environmental ethics.

  • Floyd Flake

    The Rev. Floyd Flake is a former Democratic congressman from New York and pastor of the 15,000-member Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens. In the summer of 2007 the church completed the Greater Allen Cathedral Affordable Housing Residence, which has 54 apartments for low-income tenants.

    He signed the Evangelical Climate Initiative.

    Contact: 718-206-4600.

In the South

  • Patrick N. Allitt

    Patrick N. Allitt is a professor of American history at Emory University in Atlanta. In his book Religion in America Since 1945: A History, he looks at the role religion has played in public school education. He is also an expert on religion and environmentalism and is author of the book A Climate of Crisis: America in the Age of Environmentalism. He has also written about American Catholics and the environment.

  • E. Calvin Beisner

    E. Calvin Beisner is founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which describes itself as “committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.” He is the author of Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry Into the Environmental Debate. Beisner lives in Pembroke Pines, Fla.

  • Wellington Boone

    The Rev. Wellington Boone is a bishop and pastor of the Father’s House and Wellington Boone Ministries in Norcross, Ga.

    Contact: 770-840-0888.
  • Sid Brown

    Sid Brown is a professor in the Asian Studies Program at Sewanee, The University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn. She is an expert on Buddhism and has taught on Buddhism and the environment.

  • Catherine M. Roach

    Catherine M. Roach is an associate professor women’s studies at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She is an expert on the spiritual and religious idea of “Mother Nature.”

  • Eric M. Woodrum

    Eric M. Woodrum is a professor of sociology and anthropology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. He has written about the effects of religion and theology on the environmental movement.

  • Susan P. Bratton

    Susan P. Bratton is a professor in the environmental studies department at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, with an expertise in the interface between religion and environmental ethics. She is the author of Environmental Values in Christian Art (2007).

  • Christopher G. Ellison

    Christopher G. Ellison is professor of sociology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is the author of several publications involving faith and families and lists marriage as among his areas of expertise. He has also written about religious influences on the environmental movement.

  • Laura Hobgood-Oster

    Laura Hobgood-Oster is a professor of religion at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas. Her areas of expertise include animals in the history of the Christian tradition and contemporary religious-ethical issues related to other-than-human animals. She is the author of Holy Dogs and Asses: Animals in the Christian Tradition (2008).

  • Loren Swartzendruber

    Loren Swartzendruber is president of Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va.

    In 2007, he discussed creation care form an Anabaptist perspective for a British Broadcasting Corp. program.

In the Midwest

  • Chad Cooper

    The Rev. Chad Cooper is executive director of the Sustainability Sanctuary Coalition, an interfaith nonprofit that assists congregations with strategies, tools and resources to protect the planet. The organization is based in Mission, Kan.

  • James B. Martin-Schramm

    James B. Martin-Schramm is an associate professor of religion and head of the department of religion and philosophy at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He attended the 1994 U.N. International Conference on Population and Development as a delegate for a nongovernmental organization. He also served on the Population and Consumption Task Force of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. He is the author of Population Perils and the Churches’ Response (World Council of Churches, 1997). His interests in Christian ethics include population policy and environmental issues.

  • Sara Shady

    Sara Shady is an assistant professor of philosophy at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn. She has worked on research involving environmental ethics.

  • Lisa Sideris

    Lisa Sideris is an associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. Her research interests include religion and nature; environmental and animal ethics; science and religion; evolution controversies; religion and bioethic; and environmental history and literature. She wrote Environmental Ethics, Ecological Theology and Natural Selection, which looks at Christian environmental ethics and its relationship to Darwinian theory.

  • John T. McGreevy

    John T. McGreevy is a respected historian of U.S. Catholicism. He is history professor and dean of Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame University in Indiana.

    He has written about Catholic involvement in the environmental movement in the mid-20th century.

  • Darren E. Sherkat

    Professor Darren E. Sherkat, a sociologist at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, has written about religious choices of Americans, particularly baby boomers and African-Americans. His research includes inquiries into the dynamics of religious beliefs and affiliations in contemporary United States, including patterns and trends in religious mobility among white Americans. In 2001, he wrote an article, “Tracking the Restructuring of American Religion: Religious Affiliation and Patterns of Religious Belief,” in the journal Social Forces. In 2004, he wrote a paper titled “Beyond Belief: Atheism, Agnosticism, and Theistic Certainty in the United States.”

    He is the author of a paper on religious influence on environmental concern and activism that appeared in The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

In the West

  • Heather Ann Clements

    Heather Ann Clements is a professor of systematic theology at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif. She has written about an Anabaptist and Mennonite environmental ethic.

  • Sally Bingham

    The Rev. Sally Bingham is an Episcopal priest who founded and directs the San Francisco-based Regeneration Project, which sponsors the environmental organization Interfaith Power & Light. In 2014, she joined the White House panel on Environmental Stewardship & Climate Change. She has been active in the environmental community for decades and is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of essays by religious leaders on environmental stewardship.

    Contact: 415-561-4891.
  • Gary Chamberlain

    Gary Chamberlain is professor emeritus of Christian ethics in the theology and religious studies department at Seattle University. He has written about the religious response to the global water crisis, including in his book Troubled Waters: Religion, Ethics and the Global Water Crisis.

  • Mike Comins

    Rabbi Mike Comins is the founder of TorahTrek, an organization that connects Jewish spirituality to outdoor adventures. He is the author of A Wild Faith: Jewish Ways Into Wilderness, Wilderness Ways Into Judaism. He lives in Los Angeles. Contact him through the form on TorahTrek’s website.

  • Michael E. Lodahl

    Michael E. Lodahl is a professor of theology and world religions at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. He has written about Methodism and its relationship to nature and about Wesleyan thought and environmental ethics.

  • Vijaya Nagarajan

    Vijaya Nagarajan is an associate professor in the college of arts and sciences at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches on religion and the environment. She is an expert in the religious traditions and ecology of South India.

  • Lance Nelson

    Lance Nelson is professor of theological and religious studies at the University of San Diego. He is an expert on religion and ecology in Hindu India, including the religion’s attitudes toward animals.

  • Tri Robinson

    Tri Robinson is founding pastor of the Vineyard Boise Church in Boise, Idaho. He is the author, with Jason Chatraw, of Saving God’s Green Earth: Rediscovering the Church’s Responsibility to Environmental Stewardship.

    Contact: 208-377-1477.
  • Inés Talamantez

    Ines Talamantez is an associate professor of religious studies University of California, Santa Barbara, where she has taught on Native American religions and ecology.

  • Duncan Williams

    Duncan Williams, associate professor of East Asian languages and literature at the University of Southern California, specializes in Asian-American Buddhism and its relationship to the environment.

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