How the World's Religions Are Responding to Climate Change: Social Scientific Investigations

By Toroitich, Isaiah Kipyegon | The Ecumenical Review, March 2016 | Go to article overview

How the World's Religions Are Responding to Climate Change: Social Scientific Investigations


Toroitich, Isaiah Kipyegon, The Ecumenical Review


How the World's Religions Are Responding to Climate Change: Social Scientific Investigations. Edited by Robin Globus Veldman, Andrew Szasz, and Randolph Haluza-DeLay. New York: Routledge, 2014.

Climate change as a socio-political issue has quickly risen high up on the agenda of the international community over the past decade, particularly since the publication of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007. This rise can be attributed to the increase in reported impacts of climate change throughout the world and the increased in the political debates, specifically those linked to the international negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The focus of the mass media on climate change, its impacts, and the related political processes has also increased over the years.

Many faith-based organizations and movements have played an important role in debates about climate change, and have contributed to the narrative around climate change action within their own communities. This role, as the book under review here has shown, ranges from progressive and proactive climate change education and action to complete disregard of the issue, or, at worst, to fuelling anti-environmentalism and climate denial. Many religious-inspired institutions have engaged in theological interpretation or explanation of climate change, and others have engaged in the actual politics and climate change programmes at national, regional and international levels.

In this context How the World's Religions Are Responding to Climate Change: Social Scientific Investigations, edited by three eminent professors and researchers, explores the role of religions and religious organizations in addressing climate change. Editors Robin Globus Veldman (PhD candidate at the University of Florida), Andrew Szasz (Environmental Studies professor at the University of California), and Randolph Haluza-DeLay (an associate professor at King's University College in Alberta, Canada) have a collective and individual wealth of knowledge and scholarship in the fields of sociology, religion, and environmental studies. In this wide-ranging presentation--which encompasses numerous religious experiences, research, and anecdotes derived from an expansive social science inquiry 25 contributing authors present the findings of different studies. They argue that religion has played a significant role, both positive and negative, in interpreting and responding to climate change. The book elaborates the potentials of world religions as well as the barriers that religion might face, or create, in the broader response to climate change.

The book investigates some examples from Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduisms, and some indigenous religions in Africa and Central America. …

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