Ecotheology is a form of constructive theology that focuses on the interrelationships of religion and nature , particularly in the light of environmental concerns . Ecotheology generally starts from the premise that a relationship exists between human religious / spiritual worldviews and the degradation of nature . It explores the interaction between ecological values, such as sustainability , and the human domination of nature. The movement has produced many religious-environmental projects around the world.

The burgeoning awareness of environmental crisis in the world. Such reflection has strong precedents in the most religious traditions in the realms of ethics and cosmology , and can be seen as a subset or corollary to the theology of nature.

It is important to keep in mind that ecotheology explores not only the relationship between religion and nature , but also the terms of ecosystem management in general. Specifically, ecotheology seeks to identify prominent issues within the relationship between nature and religion, but also to outline potential solutions. This is of importance because many supporters and contributors of ecotheology argue that science and education are simply not enough to change the environment. [1]


The relationship of theology to the modern ecological crisis became an intense issue of debate in Western academia in 1967, following the publication of the article, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,” by Lynn White , Jr., Professor of History at the University of California at Los Angeles . In this work, White puts forward the theory of the Christian model of human dominion over nature, providing a voice for “The Ecological Complaint”. [2] [3]

In 1973, theologian Jack Rogers published an article in which he surveyed the published studies of white paper. They reflect the search for “an appropriate theological model” which adequately assesses the biblical data regarding the relationship between God, humans, and nature.

Precedents in religious thought

Some scholars argue that Christians actually get involved in the global environmental crisis by instructing followers that God, and by extension mankind, transcends nature. Much of the development of ecology has been discussed in this argument, which has been called “The Ecological Complaint”. Defendants of this perspective claims that the Christianity promotes the idea of ​​human dominion over nature, treating nature itself as a tool to be used and exploited for survival and prosperity. [4]

However, Christianity has always been viewed as a source of positive values ​​towards the environment, and there are many voices within the Christian tradition whose vision embraces the well-being of the earth and all creatures. While Francis of Assisi is one of the most obvious influences on Christian ecotheology, there are many theologians and teachers, such as Isaac of Nineveh and Seraphim of Sarov , whose work has profound implications for Christian thinkers. Many of these are known in the West because of their primary influence on the Orthodox Church rather than the Roman Catholic Church .

The significance of indigenous traditions for the development of ecotheology can also be understated. Systems of Traditional Ecological Knowledge , in combination with modern scientific methods of ecosystem management , are steadily gaining interest as environmental activists realize the importance of locally invested groups. [5]

Further exploration

Christian ecotheology draws on the writings of authors Such as Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin , philosopher Alfred North Whitehead , and Passionist priest and historian Thomas Berry . It is well represented in Protestantism by John B. Cobb, Jr. , Jürgen Moltmann , and Michael Dowd ; in ecofeminism by feminist theologians Rosemary Radford Ruether , Catherine Keller , and Sallie McFague ; in Roman Catholicism byJohn F. Haught ; and in Orthodoxy by Elizabeth Theokritoff and George Nalunnakkal (currently Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorilose of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church ). Besides works on theology per se, Ellen Davis, [6] also plays an important role.

Creation Spirituality is another important expression of ecotheology that has been developed and popularized by Matthew Fox , to form Catholic Dominican friar turned Episcopal priest.

Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Buber , both Jewish philosophers, have also left their mark on Christian ecotheology, and provide significant inspiration for Jewish ecotheology. The most recent and most complete expression of Jewish economics can be found in David Mevorach Seidenberg’s work on Kabbalah and Ecology. [7]

Hindu ecotheology includes writers such as Vandana Shiva . Seyyid Hossein Nasr , a Perennialist scholar and Persian Sufi philosopher , was one of the earlier Muslim voices calling for a re-evaluation of the Western relationship to nature.

Elisabet Sahtouris is an evolutionary biologist and futurist Who has Promotes She Believes vision will result in the sustainable health and well-being of humanity dans le larger living systems of Earth and the cosmos. She is a lecturer in Gaia Theory and a co-worker with James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis .

Annie Dillard , Pulitzer Prize -winning American author, also commented on nature and philosophical explorations in several ecotheological writings, including Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . [8]

Valerie Brown is a science and environmental journalist based in Portland, Oregon , whose work has appeared in Environmental Health Perspectives, 21stC , and other publications. She writes regularly about ecotheology.

Terry Tempest Williams is a Mormon writer and conservationist who sensitively and imaginatively explores ecotheology in her very personal writing.

The majority of the content of the Indians of the Americas , by John Collier , about the link between ecological sustainability and religion among Native North and South Americans.

An important book on perhaps the first ecotheologian, Paul Tillich -who was writing on this issue long before the term “ecotheology” was even coined-is Faithful to Nature: Paul Tillich and the Spiritual Roots of Environmental Ethics(Barred Owl Books, 2017) .

See also

  • Religion portal
  • Animism
  • Environmental Theology
  • Stewardship (theology)
  • kaitiaki
  • Faith in Place
  • Human ecology
  • Spiritual ecology
  • Epic of evolution
  • Religious naturalism
  • Religion and ecology
  • Hima (environmental protection)
  • Christianity and environmentalism
  • Judaism and environmentalism
  • Traditional Ecological Knowledge


  1. Jump up^ Brown, Valerie. “The Rise of Ecotheology” . Retrieved 4 April 2012 .
  2. Jump up^ White, Lynn. “The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis” . Retrieved 4 April 2012 .
  3. Jump up^ Cengage, Gale. “Ecotheology” . Encyclopedia of Science and Religion . Retrieved 4 April 2012 .
  4. Jump up^ Cengage, Gale. “Ecotheology” . Encyclopedia of Science and Religion . Retrieved 3 April 2012 .
  5. Jump up^ Freeman, Milton. “The Nature and Utility of Traditional Ecological Knowledge” . Retrieved 4 April 2012 .
  6. Jump up^ Scripture, Culture and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009)
  7. Jump up^ Kabbalah and Ecology: God’s Image in the More Than Human World(New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  8. Jump up^ Saverin, Diana. “The Thoreau of the Suburbs” . The Atlantic . Retrieved 23 July 2015 .
  • Pihkala, Panu (20016). “Rediscovery of Early Twentieth-Century Ecotheology”. Open Theology vol. 2.
  • Rogers, J. (1973). “Ecological Theology: The Search for an Appropriate Theological Model.” Reprinted from Septuagesino Anno: Theologiche Opstellen Aangebsden Aan Prof. Dr. GC Berkower . The Netherlands: JH Kok.
  • Watling, Tony (2009), Ecological Imaginations in the World Religions: An Ethnographic Analysis , London and New York: Continuum International Publishers.
  • White, L. Jr. (1971). “The Historical Roots of our Ecologic Crisis.” Reprinted in AE Lugo & SC Snedaker (Eds.) Readings on Ecological Systems: Their Function and Relation to Man . New York: MSS Educational Publishing.
  • “Why Care for Earth’s Environment?” (in the series “The Bible’s Viewpoint” ) is a two-page article in the December 2007 issue of Awake! magazine. This represents the Bible’s viewpoint according to the viewpoint of Jehovah’s Witnesses .

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