Religion, Nature, and the Future of Religion & Nature

Negative, anthropogenic climate change has been accelerating – harming humans, disrupting the climate system, eroding biodiversity, and some aver, portending an apocalyptic end of the world. Some scholars blame religions, or some of them, for promoting environmentally destructive attitudes and behaviors, others aver that religions are beginning to, or might, come to the environmental rescue. Still others contend that indigenous traditions, or secular worldviews, or newly invented forms of religious naturalism, provide proenvironmental alternatives that, especially if they continue to gain cultural traction, could precipitate the cultural transformations necessary to avert the collapse of today’s biocultural systems (including civilization as we know it). Drawing on a comprehensive review of extant research by others, as well as my own research exploring contemporary nature spiritualities, I will conclude by speculating on the future of religion and nature, near, medium, and long-term.


Bron Taylor is an interdisciplinary environmental studies scholar whose research and writing explores, through the lenses of the sciences and humanities, the complex relationships religion, ecology, ethics, and the quest for sustainability. His books include Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (2010), Avatar and Nature Spirituality (2013), and Ecological Resistance Movements (1995). He is also editor of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2005) and the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. Taylor is Professor of Religion and Nature at the University of Florida and a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. In 2017 he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement award by the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. See also