State University of New York Press

SUNY series on Religion and the Environment

Harold Coward

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series on Religion and the Environment

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Ecotheology and the Practice of Hope

Looks at how ecotheology has created a new vision of the natural world and the place of humans within it. Is there any hope for a more sustainable world? Can we reimagine a way of living in which the nonhuman world matters? Anne Marie Dalton and Henry C. Simmons claim that the ecotheology that arose during the mid-twentieth century gives us reason for hope. While ecotheologians acknowledge that Christianity played a significant role in creating societies in which the nonhuman world counted for very little, these thinkers have refocused religion to include the natural world. To borrow philosopher Charles Taylor’s concept, they have created a new “social imaginary,” reimagining a better world and a different sense of what is and what should be. A new mindset is emerging, inspired by ecotheological texts and evident in the many diverse movements and activities that operate as if the hope imparted by ecotheology has already been realized. While making this powerful argument, Dalton and Simmons also provide an essential overview of key ecotheological thinkers and texts.

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Moral Habitat

Ethos and Agency for the Sake of Earth

Moral Habitat explores how our moral imaginations and moral norms have been shaped by and even cocreated with Earth in diverse biotic communities. Weaving together science and religion with indigenous and womanist traditions, Nancie Erhard uses examples from a variety of sources, including post-Cartesian science, the Old Testament, and the Mi´kmaq tribe of Eastern Canada. She demonstrates how each portrays the agency—including the moral agency—of the natural world. From this cross-cultural approach, she recasts the question of how we conceive of humans as moral agents. While written for “the sake of Earth,” this thought-provoking book goes well beyond the issue of ecology to show the contribution that such an approach can make to pluralist ethics on a range of timely social issues.

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