Questions

Post thumbnail

In an online report on Religious Innovation for Sustainable Future (no longer available), Nina Witoszek (Oslo University) surveys a “pastoral renaissance” taking place across the globe. This renaissance, she declares, is “not just a tide of projects and conferences, but a new-old mindset which aspires to reclaiming nature, culture and spirituality, influencing green architecture and…

Read More green spirituality and the limits to modernity

Post thumbnail

Should environmentalists support conservation projects that also serve to bolster right wing nationalist agendas? This was one of the questions that was discussed last month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, in San Francisco. I spoke on a panel organized by the Religion and Ecology section which featured a vibrant discussion on…

Read More religion, ecology and nationalism

In a fascinating article on metaphors for progressive politics, George Lakoff summarizes succinctly the message that progressives need to be communicating as regards the issue of sustainability: The economic crisis and the ecological crisis are the same crisis. It has been caused by short-term greed. I fully agree that the economic crisis and the ecological…

Read More sustainability as cultural and psychological transformation

I have just finished teaching my undergraduate course on religion and the environment. Most of the students are in engineering or environmental science, and the course fulfills a humanities requirement for them. It’s been fascinating teaching scientists about religion, as you can imagine, but it’s also been hard. One of the most serious problems that…

Read More does environmental science lead to environmental action?

I’m teaching a course in religion and the environment this term, and my students are preparing to debate this very question: is democracy good for sustainability? By way of background, they have been reading Judith Shapiro’s book Mao’s War Against Nature, which forcefully details the way that Maoist ideology trumped scientific reason in charting China’s…

Read More is democracy good for sustainability?

China’s massive system of hydroelectric dams and water distribution has come under fire once again. Right after the devastating Sichuan earthquake of May 12, 2008, in which over 70,000 people lost their lives, officials rushed to deny that the massive Three Gorges Dam complex hundreds of kilometres downstream could have played any role in triggering…

Read More did china’s dams trigger the sichuan earthquake?

Here’s three reasons why China’s traditional religions and cultures will play an increasingly important role in the East Asian political scene.  In mainland China, more people than ever are turning to religion. An interview with Arrianna Liu, who works in a Beijing-based NGO, reported that it’s not just the government’s attitudes that have changed. Ordinary…

Read More religious traditions and the future of east asia

There has been much news lately that the project to design a massive eco-city on Chongming Island near Shanghai may finally have fizzled out. The project, designed by the British engineering firm Arup, would have created a low carbon-footprint city called Dongtan, just a thirty-minute boat ride from Shanghai. In its first phase, to have…

Read More what has become of china’s eco-cities?