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Environmentalism, a Secular Faith

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Much of American environmentalism's passion and political power, as well as shortcomings and tactical failures, have their origin in the movement's demands for new attitudes toward nature as well as new laws and policies. A full understanding of environmentalism requires seeing it as a secular faith, movement concerned with ultimate questions of humans' place and purpose in the world. This perspective explains much about its development, its emphasis on individual action, the vehemence of its opposition, and its political failure in the last generation. Comparisons with other national environmental movements, not considered here, constitute an important topic for further research.

Keywords: environmental ethics; environmentalism; religion; secular faith; wilderness

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 2006

More about this publication?
  • Environmental Values is an international peer-reviewed journal that brings together contributions from philosophy, economics, politics, sociology, geography, anthropology, ecology and other disciplines, which relate to the present and future environment of human beings and other species. In doing so we aim to clarify the relationship between practical policy issues and more fundamental underlying principles or assumptions.

    Environmental Values has an impact factor (2014) of 1.056.
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