Nature, Environment and Beauty: An Examination of the Beliefs of Modern Black Churchgoers and John Muir

in Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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Abstract

This qualitative research examined participants in environment-related projects in Miami, Florida, who were Black churchgoers driven by a sense of spirituality and stewardship. An examination of interviews and participant observations demonstrated that participants were strongly influenced by a shared concept of "beauty" in nature. This use of the word and concept of "beauty" to refer to nature was connected both to Black history and religion in inspiring participants' actions and attitudes toward environmental preservation. This emphasis on "beauty" as it relates to nature was independent from, yet quite similar to, the idea and language of spiritual "beauty" displayed in the writings of early U.S. conservationist John Muir. These similarities suggest commonalities where sometimes only division is perceived, and underscore the importance and applicability of interconnectedness in the contemporary environmental protection movement.

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