1st Edition

Religious Environmental Activism Emerging Conflicts and Tensions in Earth Stewardship

Edited By Jens Köhrsen, Julia Blanc, Fabian Huber Copyright 2023
    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume explores how religious and spiritual actors engage for environmental protection and fight against climate change. Climate change and sustainability are increasingly prominent topics among religious and spiritual groups. Different faith traditions have developed "green" theologies, launched environmental protection projects and issued public statements on climate change. Against this background, academic scholarship has raised optimistic claims about the strong potentials of religions to address environmental challenges. Taking a critical stance with regard to these claims, the chapters in this volume show that religious environmentalism is an embattled terrain. Tensions are an inherent part of religious environmentalism. These do not necessarily manifest themselves in open clashes between different parties but in different actions, views, theologies, ambivalences, misunderstandings, and sometimes mistrust. Keeping below the surface, these tensions can create effective barriers for religious environmentalism. The chapters examine how tensions are manifested and dealt with through a range of empirical case studies in various world regions. Covering different religious and spiritual traditions, they reflect on intradenominational, interdenominational, interreligious, and religious-societal tensions. Thereby, this volume sheds new light on the problems that religions face when they seek to take an active role in today’s societal challenges.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at http://www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)] 4.0 license.

    1 Tensions in Religious Environmentalism

    Jens Koehrsen, Julia Blanc and Fabian Huber

    Part 1: Intradenominational Tensions

    2 From Global Goal to Local Practice: Potential Lines of Tension in Religious Environmentalism in Catholic Religious Orders

    Jiska Gojowczyk

    3 Cosmological Tensions: Biodynamic Agriculture’s Anthropocentrism and its Contestation

    Stéphanie Majerus

    4 The Slow Greening of Established Churches in Switzerland: Tensions between Local Parishes and Church Head Organizations

    Christophe Monnot

    Part 2: Interdenominational Tensions

    5 Halal Wastewater Recycling: Environmental Solution or Religious Complication?

    Sofiah Jamil

    6 From "Why Should?" to "Why Do?" Tensions in the Christian Context while Acting for the Environment

    Julia Blanc

    7 The Dissenting Voices: Perception of Climate Change and Church’s Responsibility in Nigeria

    George C. Nche

    Part 3: Interreligious Tensions

    8 Environmentalism in the Religious Field: The Role of the Establishment for Competition in Switzerland

    Fabian Huber

    9 "What does religion have to do with nature conservation?" Investigating the Tensions in an Interreligious Nature Conservation Project in Germany

    Carrie B. Dohe

    10 Finding Ubuntu in the Bible: How the Zion Christian Church in South Africa Relates to Concepts of Ecology in African Traditional Religions

    Juliane Stork and Charel du Toit

    Part 4: Religious-Societal Tensions

    11 Kosher Electricity and Sustainability: Building Block or Stumbling Stone?

    Lior Herman

    12 The Negotiation of Self-Identity in Swiss Biodynamic Wine-Crafting: Facets of a Sentient and Practitioner-Based Sustainable Agronomy

    Alexandre Grandjean

    13 The Green, the Secular, and the Religious: The Legitimacy of Religious Environmentalism in Global Climate Politics

    Katharina Glaab

    14 Climate and Covenant: A Case Study of the Functions, Goals and Tensions of Faith at the 23rd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

    David Krantz

    15 Environmental Action Within Local Faith Communities: Navigating Between High Expectations and Practical Action

    Derk Harmannij


    Fabian Huber studied sociology, religious studies and political science. He conducts research using quantitative and qualitative methods on the topics of religion and sustainability as well as religion and the media. A recent publication, together with Jens Köhrsen (2021): A field perspective on sustainability transitions: The case of religious organizations. In: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 40, 408-420.

    Jens Koehrsen is an Associate Professor at the University of Oslo and a Senior Researcher at the University of Basel.

    Julia Blanc is a Theologian working at the University of Passau, Germany and wrote her dissertation on "Ökokatholizismus" (2017).