For those of you who might be following us from outside Canada, let me begin by pointing out that Monday is Thanksgiving (or, as you might prefer to call it, ‘Canadian Thanksgiving’). This means that I will be spending the weekend back in Montreal – I’m writing this from the train, homeward bound – hanging with family, cooking, and watching the Habs open their new season. So you’ll forgive me if the mood of this post is a bit lighter than usual. I’m far too content right now to play the serious academic.
While it may be suggested, under the manifold and ever-shifting definitions of religion within academia, that environmentalism is already a tradition bearing many of the attributes associated with differing forms of religious belief, it is worth differentiating between such an outside assessment and an internal identification on the part of an individual, group, or movement. In Bron Taylor’s Dark Green Religion, various forms of established thought with regard to environmental ethics are brought together in a way which suggests that they are key elements of a religious movement in and of itself. For Taylor, to be “Dark Green” is not simply to infuse pre-existing foundational tenets of belief with environmental significance, it is to be a member of a fresh (albeit deeply rooted) religious tradition and community.
Religious Expressions of Environmental Resistance in an Increasingly Globalized and Complex World: To What End are we Defining a New Religion? – Simon Appolloni
A recent court ruling in the UK underlines an unusual phenomenon that involves both religious expression and environmental resistance, a coupling which, according to some, is on the rise. The judge, who ruled Tim Nicholson, a sustainability manager for a large company, was wrongly dismissed because of his ‘green’ views, granted him the same legal protection against discrimination for his environmental beliefs as that for a religious belief. In pronouncing his decision, the judge wrote, “A belief in man-made climate change, and the alleged resulting moral imperatives, is capable if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the 2003 Religion and Belief Regulations.” These regulations are, of course, binding legislation in the UK. When describing both his sentiments and his ‘belief’ to reporters, Nicholson stated:
A rabbi, priest, a Buddhist monk and an environmentalist travel to Copenhagen… I know it sounds like the start of a bad joke, but it’s also the basis of an ongoing and critical reflection on the role of religion and the environment.