“American Christianity’s historic apathy toward our global climate emergency continues to overshadow the Church’s emerging role as a bold, creative force on the frontlines of climate justice. This project aims to change that. ”
The purpose of this project is to document and analyze religiously motivated environmental justice movements in the United States today. At the grassroots level, US religious communities are increasingly taking their climate convictions to the streets. From prayer-vigil blockades to hymn-sings in front of bulldozers, people of faith are employing religiously inspired acts of civil disobedience to confront the devastating machinery of environmental exploitation. In many cases, Christian eco-defenders are increasingly organizing alongside non-Christian and indigenous allies who’ve long been working on the frontlines of climate justice in America.
These grassroots, religious efforts to protect the Earth are at the heart of my research. I’ll conduct fieldwork in close collaboration with faith leaders from six selected movements that span diverse religious traditions and geographical regions. They include Roman Catholic nuns fighting a gas pipeline in Pennsylvania, indigenous elders protecting a sacred mountain in Hawaii, and African American Baptists partnering with Hindu yogis to stop construction of a gas-powered compressor station in Virginia. A book featuring these case studies, supplemented by an open-access website for classroom use, will be the primary forms of dissemination for this research.