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ch.2, ec-p.30 – methodological, theoretical, and analytic reasons why empirical findings on the association of religion with environmental concern continue appearing contradictory…

“Three factors keep religion’s role in environmentalism murky. A methodological one is ongoing reliance on quantitative investigations that keeps analysts from a deeper, more exploratory search of how religion informs highly religious people’s perceptions of environmental problems. Lack of theoretical correspondence among conceptual variables and measures of religion and environmental concern exacerbates this, increasing confounding or spurious findings. And few analytic frameworks exist that are designed to identify both the presence of religious factors and the possible mediating or competing non-religious influences on religious people’s views toward environmental policy such as political and economic factors. This makes it difficult to reconcile the apparently contradictory empirical results presently in the literature that describe religion’s association with environmentalism. The consistently weak statistical association between varying measures of religiosity and environmentalism, and inconsistent distinctions between engaging in individual pro-environmental behaviors and expressions of public support for environmental policy, continues demonstrating this lack of clarity.”

 

 

ch.2, ec-p.22 – how much religion seems to matter for expressions of environmental concern when compared between different religious and non-religious groups…

“In other words, although US Protestants and Catholics are more likely to hold a mastery-over-nature view of human-environment interaction, comparatively the differences observed with the non-religious are not qualitative. Their views are not oppositional and the association of religious affiliation with preferences on environmental issues weakens under more nuanced examination (Shaiko 1987). “Christians and Non-Christians” sometimes do not vary significantly in their environmental views whether positive or negative (REF). Broad measures of “religious identification” intermittently predict respondents’ environmental concern. Religious differences emerge when sub-group comparisons occur between individuals in different denominations within the same Christian religious tradition. Significant variation appears in people’s “attitudes toward the environment” with respect to public polices intended to improve environmental quality or strengthen regulatory protection measures that carry corresponding economic implications and consequences (Hayes and Marangudakis 2000).”

 

What Motivates Environmental Activists, Policy...

What Motivates Environmental Activists, Policymakers? Asks New UMD Center (Photo credit: University of Maryland Press Releases)

ch.2, ec-p.21 – description of non-religious factors that some believe are more influential in shaping the environmental concern expressed by religious people…

“Despite these refinements, Woodrum and Wolkomir (1997) and others argue non-religious factors such as “environmental apathy” or lack of environmental knowledge and information are more influential on believers’ environmental concerns than the religiosity fostered by their institutional and local churches. Djupe and Hunt (2009) found “social sources of information” shape US churchgoers’ religious beliefs and environmental attitudes more strongly than doctrinal beliefs or religiosity through how congregations serve as social networks that convey and reinforce political ideas. A few analysts even oppose White’s thesis entirely, arguing Christianity does not have a singular responsibility for a negative effect on environmentalism nor does it foster solutions to environmental problems. Instead, social changes within and across Western societies driven by a “modernization process that fundamentally changed the humanity-nature relationship through industrialization, urbanization, enlargement of scale, and economic growth has affected anthropocentric views among Christians and non-Christians alike” (Dekker, Ester, and Nas 1997).”

 

 

ch.2, table 2.b – summary table of research whose major findings reveal a negative association between religion and environmental concern. in other words, studies showing some measure of “religion, religiosity” corresponds with a particular way of expressing environmentalism. for example, the more strongly someone believes “the bible is the inerrant word of god”, the less likely this person is to support increasing environmental protection policies…

 

Table 2B Religion Negative Effect

 

ch.2, ec-p.7 – life beyond this writing kept me busy yesterday, so two posts today to keep the pace. here’s a transition paragraph moving from discussing sociological interest in the general social bases of environmentalism to work focusing the relationship of religion with environmental concern in the next section of the chapter…

“Although most contour lines of environmental concern remained relatively well mapped, some received less attention than others. One area of primary research neglect included exploring the association of religion with expressions of environmental concern. Hints of its role appeared in early investigations (REFS), and some briefly mentioned it (Kanagy, Humphrey and Firebaugh 1994). Recently, analyst’s attention has turned more toward better understanding aspects of environmentalism’s religious social base, especially with increasing faith-based activism among believers on environmental issues and climate change (REFS).”

 

 

summary paragraph on religion and environmental concern research, specifically work focusing on conservative Protestants and evangelical Christians…

“Social scientific understanding of religion’s role in environmental concern is murky though. Decades after Lynn White’s (1967) charge that Christianity causes modern ecological crises, the association of religion with environmentalism still appears contradictory. “Environmental evangelicals” exist, Christians care about creation, and interfaith coalitions join secular advocates in protests lobbying policymakers for action on climate change. Conservative Protestants who oppose government environmental protection policies contrast this pro-environmental activism and are the most likely nonbelievers in US society about if global climate change is happening. The accumulated evidence from quantitative survey-based inquiries remains mixed about if, and how, “dominion” or “literalist” biblical beliefs, a Christian “fundamentalist” orientation toward the world, conservative Protestant eschatology, and dispensationalist theology explain climate change skepticism and lack of public support for environmentalism among this religious sector of US society.”

 

 

continuing through the very beginning, narrowing the dissertation’s focus for the reader… is it working?

“The inherent complexities of ecological conditions is perhaps nowhere more clearly illustrated than in global climate change. The magnitude and severity of threats posed by global climate change make mitigating policies imperative (REFS: IPCC, US NAS, International insurance adjusters, & US military assessments). Reliance on natural resources that contribute to climate change for production substances to drive economic growth turns policymakers simultaneously away from it. Environmental movements use public concern about climate change to pressure policymakers, but face challenges in broadening the social bases of their support among large segments of the population. Meanwhile vocal skeptics and representatives of business interests doubt climate science and argue for certainty as a criterion for policy action (REFS). Given such complexity, individuals are likely to rely on their own cultural resources and experts when making decisions about the nature of climate change, its effects, and calls by climate protection advocates to support government actions for addressing it. Highly religious people, for example, may draw on their religious doctrines as they form their perceptions of the existence and threat posed by global climate change.”

 

Climate Change is no joke.

Climate Change is no joke. (Photo credit: hmcotterill)

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