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The Fabric of Faith-Based Environmentalism in Canada

Exploring the Strands of Ecological Worldviews

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
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  • 1 The King’s UniversityCanadaEdmonton
  • | 2 University of TorontoSchool of the EnvironmentCanadaToronto
  • | 3 University of Toronto MississaugaDepartment of Anthropology
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Abstract

As our global environmental malaise has deepened, so has interest in potential contributions by faith communities to sustainability discourses and activities. While several studies have mapped various eco-theologies and worldviews that speak to environmental problems, this research has been largely limited to Judeo-Christian and U.S.-based groups. This study explores the work of a variety of faith-based organizations (FBOs) doing environmental work in Canada, beginning to broaden the scope beyond just Christian groups. Based on interviews, focus groups, document review, and participant observation with 16 FBOs, the study presents five environmental worldview strands: Scriptural/Theological; Traditions, Values, Virtues; the New Cosmology; Nature Experience/Revelation; and Ritual. Sub-strands specific to different faith and cultural communities were also identified. These strands are considered in relation to the activities of the FBOs, and how the nature of tradition, values, and virtues may yield potential avenues for translating worldviews into individual and societal practice.

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