Nov 162009

The November 5, 2009 Economist highlights further convergence between environmentalism and religion in their article, “Religion and climate change: Sounding the trumpet“.

Here’s an excerpt:

…As environmentally minded clerics, and greens with a spiritual bent, confer in increasing numbers, in particular over climate change, acquaintances are being struck that transcend many ethnic, ideological and theological obstacles.

…[UN Secretary-General] Ban told an audience of gorgeously attired Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Daoists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Shintos and Sikhs that “you are the leaders who can have the largest, widest and deepest reach” when warning people about climate change. Religions, he said, had established or helped to run half the schools in the world; they were among the world’s biggest investors; and the global output of religious journalism was comparable at least to Europe’s secular press.

The Economist article observes that this trend seems to be further advanced outside of the US. But the US is probably not far behind.

Although religion and environmentalism may seem to be fairly disparate, Onkar Ghate spoke about this coming convergence at the 2008 OCON conference in Lecture 2 of the 3-part series, “Cultural Movements: Creating Change”.

Here is an excerpt from my notes of his lecture:

…Lately, the evangelicals have started to move away from a primary focus on issues such as abortion and sexual orientation/conduct, and towards a broader range of issues which includes “social justice” and environmentalism. Environmentalism and religion in particular have the potential to form a truly “unholy marriage”, because in a crucial way they both need and complement the other.

The religionists have previously been concerned with issues in the spiritual realm, such as sex. Environmentalists have previously been concerned about issues in the material realm, such as industrial production. But a combination of the two gives each other strength, and feeds an ideology in which your very existence is a sin. This alliance grants a powerful moral foundation for environmentalist condemnations of mankind’s physical activities and it also expands the domains by which religion can assert control over man’s spirit through guilt.

The video of his lecture can be found on the “ARC: Culture” web page, middle column, under the heading “Cultural Movements: Creating Change”. Use the scroll bar on the embedded video to select between the three separate lectures.

(BTW, I highly recommend listening to all three lectures).

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