Nature Religion and Cultural Identity: The Religious Environmentalist Paradigm
Asian Perceptions of Nature: A Critical Approach
Ole Bruun & Arne Kalland
In the global concern about the environment, appeals to traditional, religious values play a significant role. Throughout the world, people turn to their ancient scriptures or myths in search of ideas and values which can encourage a protective attitude towards nature.1 It is interesting to note that these efforts to recover an ancient, ecological wisdom very often have a remarkable similarity to the teachings of modern environmentalism.
How should we understand this? why is concern about the environment so often expressed in religious terms? Why do people link nature and ecology to religion when they could just as well invoke ecological science or common environmentalist recommendations? This is what I shall discuss here. I argue that the appeal to traditional, religious ideas and values - which I shall call 'the religious environmentalist paradigm' - signifies other concerns than just those about the environment and that these are concerns about cultural identity in the modern world. From this perspective, the religious environmentalist paradigm represents an example of forceful cultural creativity.
Pedersen, P. (1995). Nature Religion and Cultural Identity, The Religious Environmentalist Paradigm. In: Asian perceptions of nature: a critical approach. Eds. Ole Bruun, Arne Kalland, p. 258-273