Ecology and Religion

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Paperback $30 ISBN: 9781597267083 Published January 2014
Hardcover $70 ISBN: 9781597267076 Published January 2014
Ebook Format $34.99 ISBN: 9781610912358 Will Publish January 2014

Ecology and Religion

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John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker

280 pages pages | 5.5 X 8.75 | 18 photos and illustrations

From the Psalms in the Bible to the sacred rivers in Hinduism, the natural world has been integral to the world’s religions. John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker contend that today’s growing environmental challenges make the relationship ever more vital.

This primer explores the history of religious traditions and the environment, illustrating how religious teachings and practices both promoted and at times subverted sustainability. Subsequent chapters examine the emergence of religious ecology, as views of nature changed in religious traditions and the ecological sciences. Yet the authors argue that religion and ecology are not the province of institutions or disciplines alone. They describe four fundamental aspects of religious life: orienting, grounding, nurturing, and transforming. Readers then see how these phenomena are experienced in a Native American religion, Orthodox Christianity, Confucianism, and Hinduism.

Ultimately, Grim and Tucker argue that the engagement of religious communities is necessary if humanity is to sustain itself and the planet. Students of environmental ethics, theology and ecology, world religions, and environmental studies will receive a solid grounding in the burgeoning field of religious ecology.

"Grim and Tucker integrate vast personal experiences and serious scholarship across multiple global cultures and disciplines to produce keen, fresh insight for today's world. A compelling, inspirational, and hopeful look at a path to a meaningful and sustainable future."

Jane Lubchenco, former Administrator of NOAA

"A must-read for anyone interested in the intersection of ecology, religion, and ethics, and in the role that religions could play in resolving the complex environmental concerns of today."

Eleanor Sterling, Director, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation, American Museum of Natural History

"An astonishingly comprehensive view of human relations with the natural world."

John Cobb, Co-Director of the Center for Process Studies, Claremont University

"The almost unimaginable environmental challenge humanity faces?a daunting Gordian knot of science, plus ethical and moral values?demands ways forward. Those will be found at the intersection of science and religion. Nobody understands this thicket?so filled with hope, promise and complexities?better than John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker. Ecology and Religion lights the path forward."

Thomas E. Lovejoy, University Professor of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University

"How wonderful to have the world's leading authorities on religion and ecology, John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, offer this profound but accessible examination of the field just as the world's religions are entering their ecological phase. This book is more than a source of deep understanding?it is an inspiration."

James Gustave Speth, author of America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy

"John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker are two of the most well-known figures advocating religious ecologies?the bridging of scientific and religious worldviews. In their book Ecology and Religion, they argue that the religious component is a 'missing link,' 'an important lens whereby humans can understand and reenvision their roles as participants in the dynamic process of life.' ?In volumes of this genre, their virtue must mirror their vice?that of being both sketchy and simultaneously insightful. 'Painted in broad brushstrokes,' the book is cosmopolitan in the original Greek sense, as in a citizen of the cosmos."

Introduction: Our Journey into Religion and Ecology


Chapter 1. Problems and Promise of Religions: Limiting and Liberating

Chapter 2. The Nature of Religion: Orienting, Grounding, Nurturing, Transforming

Chapter 3. Religious Ecology and Views of Nature in the West

Chapter 4. Ecology, Conservation, and Ethics

Chapter 5. Emergence of the Field of Religion and Ecology

Chapter 6. Christianity as Orienting to the Cosmos

Chapter 7. Confucianism as Grounding in Community

Chapter 8. Indigenous Traditions and the Nurturing Powers of Nature

Chapter 9. Hinduism and the Transforming Effect of Devotion

Chapter 10. Building on Interreligious Dialogue: Toward a Global Ethics


Epilogue: The Challenge Ahead: Creating Ecological Cultures Questions for Discussion

Appendix A: Common Declaration on Environmental Ethics of Pope John Paul II and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople 

Appendix B: Influence of Traditional Chinese Wisdom of Eco Care on Westerners by Vice-Minister Pan Yue, 2011

Appendix C: Selections from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007

Appendix D: Yamuna River Declaration, 2011

Appendix E: Earth Charter, 2000

Appendix F: Save the Fraser Declaration

Appendix G: Online Resources for Religious Ecology




For a list of useful articles from John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, please visit:

For ancillary teaching materials, visit:


Topics include:

  • The emerging reliance of religion and ecology

  • Religion and the future of the earth

  • The ethical dimensions of global environmental issues

  • Multiculture environmental ethics

  • And much more

    The authors have a wealth of videos, lectures, and interviews that intructors may find helpful when teaching the topic of religion and ecology. Visit the multimedia page for more:

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