The Greening of Religion Hypothesis (Part Two)

Assessing the Data from Lynn White, Jr, to Pope Francis


  • Bron Taylor University of Florida
  • Gretel Van Wieren Michigan State University
  • Bernard Zaleha University of California, Santa Cruz



Lynn White, Jr, religion and ecology, religion and nature, religious environmentalism, religious naturalism, dark green religion, environmental behavior


Herein we provide a comprehensive review of research pertinent to Lynn White, Jr's contentions in 'The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis'(1967) about the negative environmental impacts of 'Judeo-Christian' ideas as well as subsequent claims that the world's predominant religions are becoming more environmentally friendly. Definitive conclusions are difficult given the complexity of biocultural systems; nevertheless, extant research has identified many themes and dynamics that hinder environmental understanding and mobilization by religious individuals, whether Abrahamic or involved in religions that originated in Asia. Some indigenous traditions, however, appear to foster pro-environmental perceptions and behaviors as do some nature-based cosmologies and value systems, which are often deeply informed by the sciences and direct experience within environmental systems. Our review overturns common misperceptions regarding the role of religion in environmental behaviors andconcludes that additional research is warranted to better understand under what circumstances, and with which communicative strategies, religious or other individuals and groups might be more effectively mobilized in response to contemporary environmental challenges.

Author Biographies

Bron Taylor, University of Florida

Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion, Nature and Environmental Ethics at The University of Florida. He is also a Carson Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center (at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munchen), and an Affiliated Scholar with the Center for Environment and Development at Oslo University. As an interdisciplinary environmental studies scholar, Taylor’s research and teaching engages the quest for environmentally sustainable and more equitable societies.

Gretel Van Wieren, Michigan State University

Assistant Professor



How to Cite

Taylor, B., Van Wieren, G., & Zaleha, B. (2016). The Greening of Religion Hypothesis (Part Two): Assessing the Data from Lynn White, Jr, to Pope Francis. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 10(3), 306–378.

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