DP: 4. Relationship between religion and environmental conservation

The latest blogs have analyzed the relationship between religion and different basic pillars of development, such as, income, life expectancy and education (in the Human Development Index) and gender equality. In this blog, another basic pillar will be analyzed; the environment. Luis Gonzalez (2007) shows that effectively religion’s influences on social activities and thus on the environment. So, a question arises; which is the real influence? Are humans beings an equal part of a larger organism?

The first reference to this question was given by Lynn White (1967). He proposed an answer to this question in his paper entitled, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis”.  In his article, he said that the world’s attitudes towards nature involved the concept of a world created solely for the benefit of man: “God planned all [of creation] explicitly for man’s benefit and rule: no item in the physical creation had any purpose save to serve man’s purposes. As Ray (2002) states; man is a rebel who has set himself at the center of the universe.

Also, nowadays religion seems to have lost the relationship between humans and the environment. However, that assertion is incorrect for several reasons;

Figure 1. Different religions and environment

Source: Cris (2011)

Once it has been established that there are different religions that placed humans in different positions relating to the environment, it is interesting to analyze the evolution of religion and the environment in the Western world for example. In the West, as religion has had less influence, environmental problems have worsened. I am not saying it is only for this reason but maybe it has actively influenced. Carlos Parda (2008) clearly describes my point;

Figure 2. Religion and environment protection

Source: Jom Jacobs (2011)

Unfortunately, modern society is more materialist and consumerist that often do not value what the earth or the sun can offer. We are able to generate large amounts of waste without thinking which will be the consequence in nature. We spend liters of water knowing that water is a scarce commodity. We emit tons of CO2 and other pollutants forgetting about the consequence on our planet. I ask myself if perhaps the shift from a culture less “spiritual and ethical” to a more technological anthropogenic” more selfish, has had a great influence on the impact that we have on our planet.

Finally, having analyzed which is the trend of religions on where to place human beings  with respect to the planet and with respect to the consumerism of modern society, I believe it is important to make a final thought. From my point of view, we cannot ignore that many religions keep many ethical and moral factors, including the environmental protection in some cases, which are perfectly applicables in the current world. In fact, they are absolutely necessary. However, it is also true that perhaps the ethics and morality can be got from other sources than religion. Nevertheless in many cases, sadly, part of the population requires a higher being that will raise awareness of the needs of our planet. I believe that religion are having, and will have, an important role in protecting the environment and our future generations.



Carlos Parda (2008). Retrieved: 2/01/2012 from: http://carlosdeprada.wordpress.com/cultura-de-la-naturaleza/naturaleza-y-fe/religiones-y-ecologia-conama/

Cris (2011) Retrieved: 3/01/2012 from: http://en.paperblog.com/mesopotamian-religion-prelude-to-axial-age-60739/

Jom Jacobs (2011) Retrieved: 3/01/2012 from: http://www.miller-mccune.com/culture/religions-to-worship-ecologically-3787/

Luis G.,  (2007). Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. Cátedra BP. Religiones y Medio ambiente.

Lynn White, Jr., (1967). The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis. Science 155 pp1203-1207.

Ray (2002) Retrieved: 2/01/2012 from: http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/ecology.html

Religionandenvironment, (2011), Retrieved: 2/01/2012 from: http://daphne.palomar.edu/calenvironment/religion.htm

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Comentarios ( 2 )

it’s been really to read your texts, it’s a point of view that we often overlook… personally I agree with most of your considerations, but even if I didn’t it’s impossible to deny the relation between the facts you present!

Fabio enviado el 09/01/12 00:34

Carlos, I have treated similar topics through some of my posts, and arrived to a similar conclusion. Religion as well as education and culture play an enormous role to spread values throughout society. This values will help us individually to recognize how valuable is the environment and so how relevant it´s protecting it. In the case of my posts, i came up with the conclusion that those values individuals may “adopt” during their lives will definitely influence them to achieve higher “internal happiness levels” . You will probably find interesting : The Happy Planet Index, it establishes the relation between life satisfaction and how sustainable are the means to achieve such satisfaction 😉

Tatiana Casquero Rodriguez enviado el 13/01/12 00:07

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