Cymene and Dominic rediscover the Violent Femmes on this week’s podcast and that prompts a discussion of the best albums of all time. We then (18:54) welcome American U’s Evan Berry to the podcast, author most recently of Devoted to Nature: The Religious Roots of American Environmentalism (U California Press, 2015) and the PI of a Luce Foundation funded project on “Religion and Climate Change in Cross-Regional Comparison.” We start with the Pope and his views on climate change and then quickly move on to Evan’s argument that much apparently secular environmentalist thinking has deep affinities with Christian theology. We revisit Lynn White’s famous argument that Christianity devalues nature, discuss the need to move past “great man” narratives of the evolution of environmentalism, and ruminate on what 19th century Christian environmentalists considered to be the “moral salubriousness of nature.” Evan shares his thoughts on how Protestant nominalism may have informed American climate denialism over time and also about how walking as a form of “recreational salvation” became linked to the valorization of wilderness. We discuss whether American Christianity is exceptional in terms of climate morality and why American political culture has become an incubator for religious radicalism. We then turn to how climate change is now impacting religious systems across the world and how better intergenerational ethics might teach us to think collectively rather than individually. Finally, we discuss another recent book project Evan has undertaken with Rob Albro, Church, Cosmovision, and the Environment: Religion and Social Conflict in Contemporary Latin America (Routledge 2018).
- Outreach & Teaching