Here is summary information; for a portfolio of work including related posts, see the author link at right.
Here is an abstract of the project, and a location map below.
Spirituality has been reflected in the story of the United States since its conception, serving as both a life-raft for those struggling as well as a justification for oppression and violent crimes against marginalized communities. Conflicting notions of spirituality has led to generations of war based upon interpretation of scripture. Despite this, is there any potential for spirituality -- primarily eco-spirituality -- can drive and support environmental activism on a broad scale? Wendell Berry, environmentalist and poet, wrote, “The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope,” (Vaughan-Lee, 2016; pg54). As the climate crisis becomes more and more undeniable, it has begun an existential crisis for many who believe in the earth’s suffering. How can eco-spirituality give support to activists, create bipartisan unity -- or can it at all? The following research explores how spirituality influences environmental politics from West Coast religious “nones” to Southern evangelical Christian attitudes through regional population studies and compared with political and spiritual world-views, historical analysis of dominant actors, and literature reviews. By the conclusion of this document, one may make their own decision on how to evaluate a nuanced understanding of positive religious rhetoric in political discourse on climate.
Framing and focus questions
The ENVS capstone is defined by key questions. Following our situated approach to interdisciplinary environmental research, these include a broad framing question that serves as general motivation for this capstone project, and a specific focus question that defines the project’s research agenda. The framing and focus questions for this capstone are below.
Framing question: How could engaging eco-spiritual perspectives change environmental discourse?
Focus question: How do the predominant personal religious and spiritual views-- which influence state governments-- impact the outcomes of United States climate policy and thus equity in environmental justice movements?
Depending on its type, the ENVS thesis results in a variety of outcomes, including a thesis (an extended scholarly manuscript), or a variety of non-thesis outcomes. Below is information on this capstone type, with links at bottom to all outcomes.
Type of capstone: Thesis (regular)
Capstone outcomes (PDF): File