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Environmental Values

Environmentalism, a Secular Faith

Thomas R. Dunlap

Environmental Values 15(2006): 321-330. doi: 10.3197/096327106778226284


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: Religion, secular faith, environmental ethics, environmentalism, wilderness

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Environmentalism: Spiritual, Ethical, Political. Michael Smith

Ethical Motivations and the Phenomenon of Disappointment in Two Types of Environmental Movements: Neo-Environmentalism and the Dark Mountain Project. Hana Librová and Vojtěch Pelikán

Green Faith? The Role of Faith-Based Actors in Global Sustainable Development Discourse. Katharina Glaab, Doris Fuchs

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