Questions

green spirituality and the limits to modernity

In an online report on Religious Innovation for Sustainable Future (no longer available), Nina Witoszek (Oslo University) surveys a “pastoral renaissance” taking place across the globe. This renaissance, she declares, is “not just a tide of projects and conferences, but a new-old mindset which aspires to reclaiming nature, culture and spirituality, influencing green architecture and…

religion, ecology and nationalism

Should environmentalists support conservation projects that also serve to bolster right wing nationalist agendas? This was one of the questions that was discussed last month at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion, in San Francisco. I spoke on a panel organized by the Religion and Ecology section which featured a vibrant discussion on…

what is freedom of religion for?

There is hardly a truth more sacred to the contemporary American imagination than that religion must be free from interference by the state and that the state must be free from interference from religion. Neither of these ideals holds true in China, and this fact is an enormous thorn in the side of Chinese-American relations,…

is democracy good for sustainability?

I’m teaching a course in religion and the environment this term, and my students are preparing to debate this very question: is democracy good for sustainability? By way of background, they have been reading Judith Shapiro’s book Mao’s War Against Nature, which forcefully details the way that Maoist ideology trumped scientific reason in charting China’s…

religious traditions and the future of east asia

Here’s three reasons why China’s traditional religions and cultures will play an increasingly important role in the East Asian political scene.  In mainland China, more people than ever are turning to religion. An interview with Arrianna Liu, who works in a Beijing-based NGO, reported that it’s not just the government’s attitudes that have changed. Ordinary…

what has become of china’s eco-cities?

There has been much news lately that the project to design a massive eco-city on Chongming Island near Shanghai may finally have fizzled out. The project, designed by the British engineering firm Arup, would have created a low carbon-footprint city called Dongtan, just a thirty-minute boat ride from Shanghai. In its first phase, to have…

i’m dreaming of a green christmas

By James Miller Christmas, as we all know, is the grand festival of the religion of consumerism. We pay homage to our saviour Santa Claus in the vast cathedral of the shopping mall. There we make a sizeable donation to the faltering economy and, just because it’s Christmas, cheerfully pay the GST to our non-existent…