Climate change is among the most important of all the challenges we face. Other environmental problems—deforestation, water scarcity, soil degradation, and decreasing biodiversity—are also pressing, and intimately linked with a changing climate. Unfortunately, these challenges cannot be met by scientific data and technology alone. A sizeable portion of the U.S. population, and particularly large numbers in certain religious and political circles, are convinced that human-caused climate change is a hoax. To address this gap between scientific facts and Americans’ understanding, religious leaders, scholars, and journalists need new narratives, including stories that resonate with religious believers.
Journalist Meera Surbramanian and religion scholar Stephen Prothero are seeking to fill this gap. Subramanian has won awards for her writing and currently serves as president of the Society of Environmental Journalists, while Prothero is a New York Times best-selling author and a professor of religion at Boston University. Together they have created the Religion and Environment Forum, which will convene journalists and thought leaders to learn more about how religious communities can promote a healthy, vibrant natural environment.
With a $290,000 grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the Religion and Environment Forum aims to amplify stories about the complex interaction between environmental challenges and religious ideas, especially stories that highlight what ordinary religious people are doing at the local level to address environmental challenges in their communities.