Religious environmentalism as a vital contribution to sustainability

Anne White (Department of Religious Studies, Faculty of Humanities, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Publication date: 17 August 2010



The purpose of this paper is to identify the spiritual and economic reasons behind Homo sapiens' misuse and destruction of the biotic web. Through the argument that we are a self‐seeking, opportunistic species that now acts out our domination of the planet without restraint, attention to given to the motivations for such actions. To counter the downward spiral of rampant exploitation, consumption and poverty, by presenting the religious environmental perspectives that can be used to stem the process of global environmental devastation.


The methodologies utilized are ecosophical, ecofeminist, comparative religious discourse, and structural functionalist.


The issues are overwhelming without a strong moral, environmental foundation. The power to effect the practical, widespread changes necessary can be derived from the ancient concepts of the sacred, or the concept of inherent worth, within all life forms. These concepts can and do combat the exploitive materialism of our global economies and could change the way the “system” works.

Practical implications

The paper identifies the root causes of our environmental dysfunction and presents the potential within the religious environmental perspectives. These perspectives can be used as a means to create a practical modus operandi for the practitioner of religion and the policy maker.


The paper presents the reality of environmental degradation and, through environmental spirituality, offers a valid alternative to the maximum trade growth and systemic global consumer mentality. Using ancient concepts, it establishes a viable avenue of dialogue between religious communities and business for the benefit of all.



White, A. (2010), "Religious environmentalism as a vital contribution to sustainability", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 4 No. 3, pp. 268-278.

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