New Environmental Movements and Implicit Religion

What faith might learn from the growth of Transition Initiatives


  • John Reader



climate change, contextual theology, Derrida, Habermas, Hopkins, Implicit Religion, New Social Movements, Peak Oil, Practical Theology, resilience, transcendence, transition initiatives


The paper revisits an earlier article which drew parallels between New Social Movements and developing contextual theologies. It argues that a contemporary form of this debate is to be found in an examination of links between the Transition Initiatives Movement and Implicit Religion. It then employs three frameworks, the first two of which come from within the academic study of Implicit Religion, those of Professor Edward Bailey and Dr Karen Lord, and then a third framework developed by the author, to determine the extent to which the Transition movement can be identified with the motivations to be found within a religious setting. It concludes that there are indeed common themes at work, as well as areas where faith can learn from the ideas and practices of this environmental discussion, but also significant differences that are to be acknowledged as those of faith engage with the Transition movement.


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Hopkins, Rob. 2008. The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience. Dartington: Green Books.

Lord, Karen. 2009. Negotiating Identity: The Christian Individual and the Secular Institution. In Blurred Encounters of Faith, Politics and Community, edited by John Reader and Christopher R. Baker, 127–142. Farnham: Ashgate.

Melucci, Alberto. 1989. Nomads of the Present. London: Hutchinson Radius.

Reader, John. 1991. Local Theology and the New Social Movements: an illuminating affinity. The Modern Churchman 32(4): 27–37.

———. 1994. Local Theology: Church and Community in Dialogue. London: SPCK.

———. 2002. The Problem of Faith and Reason after Habermas and Derrida, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Wales, Bangor.

———. 2003. The Discourse of Human Rights—a Secular Religion? Implicit Religion 6(1): 41–51.

———. 2005a. Blurred Encounters: A Reasoned Practice of Faith. Vale of Glamorgan: Aureus Publishing.

———. 2005b. Apocalyptic localism or sustainable communities? An emerging role for faith-based (religious) capital. William Temple Foundation, Manchester, Occasional paper No 33.

———. 2009. Authoritarian Capitalism. one of the papers published as part of Defining the Contours of a New Capitalism.



How to Cite

Reader, J. (2010). New Environmental Movements and Implicit Religion: What faith might learn from the growth of Transition Initiatives. Implicit Religion, 13(2), 129–140.