Sensing ‘Subtle Spirituality’ among Environmentalists

A Swiss Study


  • Irene Becci Institute of Social Sciences of Religions—FTSR University of Lausanne, Anthropole
  • Christophe Monnot University of Strasbourg
  • Boris Wernli FORS, University of Lausanne



Spiritualization of ecology, environmental activism, ecology-religion debate, Dark green religion, gender, contemporary spirituality


This article examines the emergence, in the Swiss context, of a new category of ecologically oriented ‘spiritual’ activists. The authors look at empirical studies conducted internationally on the link between religion and environmentalism and argue that ‘spiritually oriented activists’ are rarely investigated in quantitative studies. The authors then examine the findings of a case study of local milieus in two Swiss cities and nationwide data collected as part of the Swiss Household Panel (SHP). They close the gap between results coming from case studies, on the one hand, and representative studies, on the other, by introducing the variable of spirituality into quantitative research. The results suggest that an ecological milieu is emerging comprised of people who are located politically on the left, do not self-identify as religious, but nonetheless practice meditation and have holistic feelings. The forms of spirituality practiced by these ecologists are ‘subtle’ in the sense of being adaptable, located in the background, and supportive of sustainability.


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How to Cite

Becci, I. ., Monnot, C. ., & Wernli, B. . (2021). Sensing ‘Subtle Spirituality’ among Environmentalists: A Swiss Study. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 15(3), 344–367.