History Professor Explains Religious Origins of American Environmentalism

9780190230869Texas Tech historian Mark Stoll‘s latest book, Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism (Oxford University Press, 2015), details how religion provided early American environmental leaders with the moral and cultural basis to champion the protection of the natural world.

To hear Jan Oosthoek’s environmental history podcast interview of Stoll, click here.

Stoll argues in part that Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’, is nothing new, but points environmentalism back towards its moral and religious roots.

Image credit: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/inherit-the-holy-mountain-9780190230869?cc=us&lang=en&

Earth Keeping Summit: There is a Balm… Eco Justice, Renewal and Hope


The Earth Keeping Summit 2016 was held at the Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources. The summit went deeper than the importance of recycling, shutting off your lights and using less energy, and addressed questions of ecology, justice, and race. Dr. Melanie Harris was the keynote speaker of the event and also spoke on the importance of sharing stories. She is an Associate Professor of Religion at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX.

Dr. Harris spoke of the importance of diversity in ecology and how social justice relates to the environmental movement. She talked about how sharing our stories and experiences plays a part in taking care of the environment and having a connection to the environment and to each other. In this environmental movement we must listen. We must reflect on our experiences. We must take race, class and gender very seriously. She gave the example of Eric Garner whose life was taken by police but before that he struggled with asthma. Melanie talked about our air and how the earth is barely breathing. When we heal our earth we will then heal ourselves.

Earth connection begins by sitting with difference. Sitting with nature and seeing things in a different kind of lens. You can hear Melanie’s powerful message here.

Official Denominational Environmental Webpage – Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian faith has an online resource for all members of its community. This website helps provide information and links for people and congregations to become more Eco-friendly. The main website can be found here.

Earth Care Congregations

Photo Credit: http://www.presbyterian mission.org/ ministries/environment/ earth-care-congregations/

Another valuable resource on their page is their Earth Care Congregations, which provides projects, education, and outreach programs. A further explanation of this program and some success stories can be found here.

Environmental Statement – Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church has an environmental statement that is similar to many other churches, citing biblical text and discussing our responsibilities as stewards of the earth.

Photo Credit: http://www.pittsboropres.org/

This document goes into what humanity has done, and why the Presbyterian church is responding to the massive amount of environmental degradation. To read the entire statement, follow this link. For a more interactive and shorter read that sums up their stances, click here. 

On their website, found here, you can check out how the environmental ministries are encouraging congregations to get involved and enact ecological justice.