New eco-theology book combines diverse views with best practices

Contemporary Ecotheology, Climate Justice and Environmental Stewardship in World Religions

A new volume—“Contemporary ecotheology, climate justice and environmental stewardship in the world”—is the latest of the continued fruits of the 6th International Conference on Ecological theology and Environmental Ethics, or Ecothee, which took place in September 2019 at the Orthodox Academy of Crete in Kolymvari. This volume is available for full access and download.

The 6th International Conference on Ecotheology and Environmental Ethics – Ecothee-19 – took place in September 2019 and brought together 40 academics, church leaders and activists from different parts of the world.

This book, published by Embla Akademisk, consists of articles developed in the aftermath of the conference.

This book is intended as a scientific anthology showing the diversity of ecotheology found in various religious traditions.

It is divided into three main sections: Theological and philosophical reflection, Ethics and best practices and global contributions. We are convinced that the book and its contributions will help to provide a deeper insight into the diversity that exists within global ecotheology.

The publication, edited by Louk A. Andrianos, Tom Sverre Tomren et al, is intended as a scientific anthology showing the diversity of ecotheology found in various religious traditions.

Below, Dr Andrianos, World Council of Churches consultant on Care for Creation, Sustainability and Climate Justice, shares his reflections on the book.

How does this book reflect how modern ecotheology is changing?

Dr Andrianos: The new Ecothee book (Vol. 6) reflects the contextual change of modern ecotheology in the sense that authors are not only theologians and ecologists, as it was in the beginning of Ecothee in 2008, but now include also the wider stakeholders of the global earth community ranging from lawyers, politicians, writers, scientists, sociologists, journalists, economists, indigenous and laic citizens. According to the Ecothee book, modern ecotheology should involve multi-faith and multidisciplinary concepts of the universal sustainability: “Ecological theology becomes ecotheology which englobe all concepts about/for Creation care.”

What most moves and excites you about this publication?

Dr Andrianos: This publication was prepared during the pandemic COVID-19 period when contemporary human beings faced daily the threat of death and difficult restrictions measurements (economic, ecological, social and mental uncertainties). Everyone was desperate and many were resourceless but, through God’s miraculous grace, a wonderful ecumenical collaboration between the institutions of several authors has emerged and allowed the accomplishment of the book with the best condition. This publication shows tο me that this “work/book” is the Lord’s and the triune God keeps always his promise in Romans 8:31: “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” As the principal editor, the publication of this book is a spiritual sign of God’s reassurance to continue “Ecothee” initiative in caring for his Creation.

Can you give some examples of the kinds of environmental stewardship that churches might learn about if they access this text?

Dr Andrianos: In the Ecothee book, churches can learn about the ways in which their fellow Christian churches and non-Christian churches deal with the protection of the natural environment.

From Christian churches’ perspectives, the book gives examples of environmental stewardship ranging from the reformation of church liturgies to the transformation of their source of energy to be “greener” and become “green parishes” in the Orthodox (Greece) or Protestant (Canada) or Catholic (Switzerland) perspectives, among others. Churches can also learn about practical ecotheological initiatives such as the concept of an economy of life and the “WWJD” What would Jesus do? incarnation and soteriology in the light of ecology. For instance, the book gives insights on how the Church of Norway promotes environmental ethics and how the churches from Ethiopia struggle to protect forests.

From non-Christian perspectives, the book highlights Muslim activities from the USA in tackling climate apartheid. Buddhist communities also share their environmental practices. The concerns of Buryat Shamanism in the Lake Baikal region in Russia are also striking examples of the contemporary ecotheology from the book.

Full publication: Contemporary Ecotheology, Climate Justice and Environmental Stewardship in World Religions (Free) (A download link is available on that page.)

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