A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future

A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future

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by Roger S. Gottlieb

In a time of darkening environmental prospects, frightening religious fundamentalism, and moribund liberalism, the remarkable and historically unprecedented rise of religious environmentalism is a profound source of hope. In A Greener Faith , Roger S. Gottlieb chronicles the promises of this critically important movement, illuminating its principal ideas, leading


In a time of darkening environmental prospects, frightening religious fundamentalism, and moribund liberalism, the remarkable and historically unprecedented rise of religious environmentalism is a profound source of hope. In A Greener Faith , Roger S. Gottlieb chronicles the promises of this critically important movement, illuminating its principal ideas, leading personalities, and ways of connecting care for the earth with justice for human beings. He also shows how religious environmentalism breaks the customary boundaries of "religious issues" in political life. Asserting that environmental degradation is sacrilegious, sinful, and an offense against God catapults religions directly into questions of social policy, economic and moral priorities, and the overall direction of secular society. Gottlieb contends that a spiritual perspective applied to the Earth provides the environmental movement with a uniquely appropriate way to voice its dream of a sustainable and just world. Equally important, it helps develop a world-making political agenda that far exceeds interest group politics applied to forests and toxic incinerators. Rather, religious environmentalism offers an all-inclusive vision of what human beings are and how we should treat each other and the rest of life.

Gottlieb deftly analyzes the growing synthesis of the movement's religious, social, and political aspects, as well as the challenges it faces in consumerism, fundamentalism, and globalization. Highly engaging and passionately argued, this book is an indispensable resource for people of faith, environmentalists, scholars, and anyone who is concerned about our planet's future.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Roger S. Gottlieb has written a seminal book examining the emerging debate on environmental ethics among the world's great faith traditions and what that means for the future of environmental stewardship."
—Carl Pope, Executive Director, The Sierra Club

"This should be vital reading for anyone who thinks they know what the future of the environmental movement is. Gottlieb will show many people worlds they didn't even think existed! A timely book; a wonderful collection of stories; and some hard questions. Excellent."
—Martin Palmer, Secretary General of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation

"Roger S. Gottlieb presents a comprehensive view of the nexus of religion and the environment. The specific stories of faith-based environmentalism provide a bright picture of the faith community's capacity for caring for God's creation. If we actively follow his lead, we will go a long way toward being more effective stewards of our fragile planet."—Dr. Bob Edgar, General Secretary, National Council of Churches USA

"Gottlieb's depiction of globalization as a non-democratic system of commodification of humans and environment is incisive. ...Religious environmentalism needs to face both its profound diversity and the inequality which globalization produces. Eminently readable, this book would make student discussions far more knowlegable and sophisticated. It provides insights to religious environmentalists and helps broaden the views of the despirers of religion. Above all, this is a hopeful and wise book." —Environmental Ethics

"Roger S. Gottlieb is the foremost voice in joining spirituality, environmentalism, and progressive politics. In this critically important book, he creates a needed sense of community, engenders hope, gives us direction, and impels us to act on behalf of the earth and all its beings."—David Landis Barnhill, editor of At Home on the Earth: Becoming Native to Our Place

"Roger S. Gottlieb's A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future offers a superb insight into the larger issues of an integral Earth-human survival...a most needed guide."—Father Thomas Berry, author of The Great Work: Our Way into the Future

"Beautifully written, carefully researched, and insightful...A stunning achievement and must read for students and scholars interested in religiously inflected sustainable living in the face of eco-injustice and the loss of hope in our time."—Mark I. Wallace, author of Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature

"A Greener Gaith does an excellent job of detailing the vast, diverse facets of contemporary religious environmentalism, drawing on the author's extensive knowledge and familiarity of the movement. In so doing, Gottlieb provides some impassioned and well-argued reasons for why religion (of a certain type) should play a prominent role in environmental politics."—H-Environment

Publishers Weekly
The argument of Gottlieb's hopeful, surprising book is that today, religious people and organizations are among the most committed, and most persuasive, environmental activists. Gottlieb's view is global, principally examining religious green activism in the U.S., but also looking at Zimbabwe, Taiwan and the Vatican. And his approach is ecumenical, encompassing Jewish and Christian theologians who have found a powerful biblical call to stewardship of God's creation, and Buddhist teachers who are prompted by their belief in compassion to extend care to the natural world. Church groups have participated in peaceful demonstrations against the Bush administration's energy policy; Jews, inspired by the holiday of Tu B'Shvat, the birthday of the trees, have planted redwoods in denuded stream banks owned by grasping corporations; and interfaith groups have petitioned lawmakers to address global warming. Sometimes religious groups cooperate with secular organizers, as when the Sierra Club and the National Council of Churches co-sponsored a proconservation TV ad. Not only have religious activists helped energize the environmental movement, but environmentalism has reinvigorated religious practice: Lay people and clerics alike have crafted new religious rituals that celebrate the Earth, such as Buddhist gathas (short verbal formulas) for recycling and Christian liturgies for Earth Day. Gottlieb keeps academic jargon to a minimum, so this timely book should have crossover appeal. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In February, more than 80 prominent evangelicals signed a statement titled "Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action," which recognizes the fact of global warming and makes a biblical argument for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Although some may be surprised at this convergence of two movements often regarded as antagonistic, Gottlieb (philosophy, Worcester Polytechnic Inst.) argues that religion is an important ally of environmentalism. Gottlieb extracts from religious teachings principles that can support environmentalism, reports on eco-friendly pronouncements delivered by various religious institutions, and gives examples of religious environmentalism in action. Although this book is being published by a university press, its approach is more journalistic than academic (in fact, one chapter consists of interviews with five religious environmentalists) and so will be widely accessible. Gottlieb's commitment to liberal religion and politics is obvious, but he is open-minded enough to give conservatives credit where credit is due and to question certain tendencies within the contemporary Left. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Charles Seymour, Wayland Baptist Univ. Lib., Plainview, TX Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Roger S. Gottlieb is Professor of Philosophy at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. Among his many books are This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, and Environment, now in its Second Edition, A Spirituality of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth and Joining Hands: Politics and Religion Together for Social Change.

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Greener Faith Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just had no idea about the scope of religious environmentalism and what a hopeful sign it is. Gottlieb does a great job of describing the movement's ideas, and what is being done by people around the world. Unlilke most books by academics, this one is written to be understood by a normally intelligent person, not a scholar. At times the book is really inspiring. Gottlieb puts forth a visionary account of how linking nature to God and spirituality can lead to fundamental social changes and to changes in how we think about ourelves. I also very much enjoyed the chapter on new 'green' rituals and his description of how much spirituality there is and has always been in the the 'secular' environmental movement. Great book for environmentalists and for people who think religion has something to do with caring for life.