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January 11, 2017

To Care for Creation: The emergence of the religious environmental movement
Author: Stephen Ellingson
Chicago Press. Chicago. 2016. Pp. 203

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

To Care for Creation chronicles the religious environment movement and explains how it has emerged despite institutional and cultural barriers, as well as the hurdles posed by logic and practices that set it apart from the secular movement. Stephen Ellinson takes a deep dive into the ways entrepreneurial activists tap into and improvise on a variety of theological, ethical, and symbolic traditions in order to issue a compelling call to arms that mobilizes religious audiences. Drawing on interviews with the leaders of more than sixty of these organizations, Ellingson deftly illustrates how activists borrow and rework resources from various traditions to create new meanings for religion, nature, and the religious person's duty to the natural world.

An Excerpt from the book:

"Our mission is to raise public awareness of the consequences of lifestyle choices on people and our planet and to encourage changes that seek harmony with Creation: respect all life; value diversity; support ecological sustainability; and bring about a just distribution of the world's resources . . .Within just a few generations, rapidly expanding population, world-wide industrialization, astounding technological advances, and the concentration of economic and political power have created social and environmental issues of life and death proportions. Issues that could be ignored in the past are now of life and death proportions. Issues that could be ignored in the past are now ecological and moral imperative. . .We can no longer turn away as if tomorrow's technologies will reverse trends that have been set in motion. If we are going to prevent the loss of biodiversity, lessen the effects of global warming and eliminate the plague of persistent poverty, we need to transform our ways of thinking and acting now. This includes understanding how our lifestyle and consumer choices affect the planet, and then being willing to choose to live differently so that we lessen those impacts.

Table of Contents:

1. A greener faith
2. The emergence of the religious environmental movement
3. Mission, strategy, and the search for legitimacy
4. Creating religious environmental traditions
5. Coalition building and the politics of cooperation in the emergent movement
6. Conclusions: embeddedness, strategic choices, and religious social movements