President Donald Trump and his administration have put the United States out of step with much of the world on climate change. He pulled out of the Paris climate accord in June 2017 and, just last month, announced plans to loosen regulations on power plants.
These actions sparked an outcry from environmentalists, world leaders and many people of faith. As the Trump administration shifts resources away from environmental protection, religious and spiritual groups are often doing the opposite.
There are now creation care groups affiliated with nearly all of the world’s religions. Even evangelical Christians, who are among Trump’s strongest supporters, are becoming more vocal about a biblical call to care for the Earth.
Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit, which will take place in San Francisco from Sept. 12-14, here are researchers, faith leaders and climate change experts who can help you understand the relationship between faith and environmental activism.
- Read “Catholic groups disagree with Trump EPA ‘Affordable Clean Energy’ rule” from National Catholic Reporter on Aug. 24, 2018.
- Read “Irish pastoral worker tweets Laudato Si’ to Trump, line by line” from National Catholic Reporter on July 31, 2018.
- Read “Climate change is a top spiritual priority for these religious leaders” from The Washington Post on June 26, 2018.
- Read “Meet the Faith-Based Activists From Ballard Who Are Fighting for Environmental Protection” from the June 2018 edition of Seattle Magazine.
- Read “For Christians, the green revolution is stalling — and politics may be why” from Religion News Service on Jan. 26, 2018.
- Watch “Protecting the Sacred” from CBS Religion & Culture on Sept. 24, 2017.
- Read “Faith grows greener in the era of Donald Trump” from The Economist on July 28, 2017.
- Read “Why so many white evangelicals in Trump’s base are deeply skeptical of climate change” from The Washington Post on June 2, 2017.
- Read “Religion can make us more environmentally friendly — or not” from the BBC on Feb. 7, 2017.
- Watch “Faith-Based Activism on Climate Change” from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly on June 19, 2015.
- Read “Why do religious people of color care so much about climate change?” from the Deseret News on Jan. 17, 2015.
- “The Greening of Christianity? A Study of Environmental Attitudes Over Time” from Environmental Politics on Nov. 14, 2017.
- “Religion and views on climate and energy issues” from Pew Research Center on Oct. 22, 2015.
- “Believers, Sympathizers and Skeptics: Why Americans are Conflicted About Climate Change, Environmental Policy and Science” from Public Religion Research Institute on Nov. 21, 2014.
- Buddhism: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change
- Eastern Orthodox Christianity: Encyclical of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
- Episcopal Church: Episcopal Church Eco-Justice Resolutions
- Evangelical Lutheran Church in America: Caring for Creation: Vision, Hope and Justice
- Hinduism: Bhumi Devi Ki Jai! A Hindu Declaration on Climate Change
- Islam: Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change
- Judaism: The Jewish Environmental and Energy Imperative
- Presbyterian Church (USA): The Power to Change: U.S. Energy Policy and Global Warming
- Quaker: Facing the Challenge of Climate Change
- Reform Judaism: Resolution on Climate Justice
- Roman Catholic Church: Laudato Si’ from Pope Francis
- Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church: Joint message of Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew on the World Day of Prayer for Creation
- Southern Baptist Convention: On Global Warming
- United Church of Christ: A Resolution on Climate Change
- United Methodist Church: The Natural World
- Unitarian Universalist Association: Threat of Global Warming/Climate Change
Alliance of Religions and Conservation
The Alliance of Religions and Conservation is an international secular organization that works to help religious bodies develop environmental stewardship programs. It’s based in Bath, England.
A Rocha is an international Christian organization working to care for the environment. The organization has projects in many countries around the world. The organization’s U.S. office is in Fredericksburg, Texas.
The Bhumi Project
The Bhumi Project seeks to rally Hindus worldwide in support of the environment. The organization is overseen by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in partnership with GreenFaith.
Catholic Climate Covenant
Catholic Climate Covenant is an umbrella environmental and climate change advocacy organization that includes multiple Catholic organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It organizes public letters to policymakers on environmental topics and provides training on lobbying.
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life concentrates on addressing climate change and encouraging sustainable congregations. Its national partners are the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.
Creation Justice Ministries
Creation Justice Ministries (formerly the National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Program) works in cooperation with national bodies of Protestant denominations, Orthodox communions, regional faith groups and congregants to protect and restore God’s creation.
EcoSikh educates Sikhs around the world about environmental concerns, encouraging reverence for all creation. Ravneet Pal Singh is the project manager.
Evangelical Environmental Network
The Evangelical Environmental Network is a Christian ministry dedicated to mobilizing people to care for God’s creation. The network provides resources for congregations and advocates for environmentally friendly policies.
Faith in Place
Faith in Place works with religious and spiritual leaders in Illinois on issues of environmental sustainability. It has offices in Chicago, Champaign and Waukegan, Ill.
Global Catholic Climate Movement
Global Catholic Climate Movement is an international organization that helps coordinate the work of more than 650 smaller Catholic groups and congregations concerned about the environment and climate change. They describe Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, as their founding document.
Green the Church
Green the Church works to increase environmental activism within predominantly African-American faith communities.
GreenFaith is an interfaith coalition based in New Jersey that works with houses of worship, religious schools and people of all faiths to help them become better environmental stewards. The Rev. Fletcher Harper is executive director.
Green Muslims seeks to inspire Muslims to educate themselves about the environment and be stewards of the earth. It works with mosques and Muslim student associations across the U.S.
Interfaith Power & Light
Interfaith Power & Light works to mobilize faith communities in response to global warming. The organization has affiliates in more than 35 states and is based in San Francisco. Susan Stephenson is executive director.
Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences
The Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences is an international organization that highlights a Muslim perspective on environmental issues. It is based in Birmingham, England. Fazlun Khalid is founder and director.
Mennonite Creation Care Network
The Mennonite Creation Care Network encourages the congregations in the Mennonite Church USA and the Mennonite Church Canada to engage in care of the environment and serves as a network for Mennonites engaged in that work. Jennifer Schrock heads the network, which is based in Wolf Lake, Ind.
National Religious Partnership for the Environment
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment is an alliance of major faith groups and denominations across the spectrum of Jewish and Christian communities and organizations in the United States. Its four founding partners are the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Environmental Network, Creation Justice Ministries and the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action
Young Evangelicals for Climate Action mobilizes evangelical Christians on climate change and sustainability. This organization grew out of a retreat hosted by the Evangelical Environmental Network.
E. Calvin Beisner
E. Calvin Beisner is founder and national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which describes itself as “committed to bringing a balanced Biblical view of stewardship to the critical issues of environment and development.” He is more supportive of President Donald Trump’s approach to environmental issues than other faith leaders and has been critical of the value of the Paris climate agreement. The media coordinator for the Cornwall Alliance is Megan Kinard.
The Rev. Brooks Berndt serves as the minister for environmental justice in the United Church of Christ.
The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham is an Episcopal priest who founded the San Francisco-based Regeneration Project, which sponsors the environmental organization Interfaith Power & Light. She has been active in the environmental community for decades and is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of essays by religious leaders on environmental stewardship. She is now the president emeritus of the Interfaith Power & Light board of directors. Contact Susan Stephenson with interview requests.
The Rev. Ambrose Carroll is co-founder of Green the Church and pastor of The Church by the Side of the Road in Berkeley, Calif.
Saffet Abid Catovic
Saffet Abid Catovic is a Muslim environmental leader. He co-founded Green Muslims of New Jersey and helped launch the Islamic Society of North America’s Green Masjid Task Force. In 2018, he shared his efforts to offset the carbon footprint of his pilgrimage to Mecca with Sojourners. Imam Catovic serves as Washington office director for the Islamic Society of North America. He earned a master’s in religion and society from Drew University, specializing in religion and the environment.
The Rev. John Chryssavgis is author of Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition. He taught theology at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology and serves as theological adviser to the Ecumenical Patriarch on environmental issues. Chryssavgis lives in Maine.
The Rev. Richard Cizik is president of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good. He seeks to bring evangelical Christians, researchers and policymakers together to work on issues such as climate change, economic justice and national security.
Ellen F. Davis
Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, N.C. Davis has been in the vanguard among theologians studying the biblical understanding of care for the land, and she is a sought-after speaker on topics such as the ethics of land use. She is the author of Scripture, Culture and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible.
The Rev. Sharon Delgado leads seminars and workshops on climate change, environmental justice and the relationship between spirituality and social action. She is an ordained United Methodist minister and founded the Climate Justice Action Network, which brings together Methodists interested in environmental activism.
Nana Firman is Senior Ambassador for GreenFaith, an interfaith organization that promotes environmental stewardship. She previously worked with the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia.
David Fisher is the director of Interfaith Appalachia, a nonprofit, interfaith organization that leads service-learning trips to the Appalachian region. He holds degrees in Jewish studies and environmental studies and has researched the intersection of religion, peacemaking and environmental activism.
Robert “Bud” Grant
The Rev. Robert “Bud” Grant is an environmental theology professor and Catholic priest at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa.
David Haberman is a professor of religious studies at Indiana University in Bloomington. He teaches on the subject of religion and ecology, particularly in regards to South Asian religions. His books include River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India and Understanding Climate Change Through Religious Lifeworlds.
Katharine Hayhoe is a professor of political science and co-director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is also the co-author of A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions. Hayhoe is an expert on Christian responses to global warming, and she works to reconcile science and faith in Christian communities.
The Rev. Mitch Hescox is president and CEO of the Evangelical Environmental Network. He is also the co-author of Caring for Creation: The Evangelical’s Guide to Climate Change and a Healthy Environment.
Willis Jenkins is a professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. He works at the intersection of environmental and religious ethics.
Anna Jane Joyner
Anna Jane Joyner serves as campaign coordinator for the Western North Carolina Alliance, which works to protect the state’s natural resources. She’s also co-host of No Place Like Home, a podcast on climate change. Joyner’s father is an evangelical Christian minister and she’s spoken often about what it’s like to reject her family’s environmental beliefs. She’s now a practicing Episcopalian.
Kenneth Kraft is a professor emeritus of religious studies at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa., and an expert on socially engaged Buddhism. His books include The Wheel of Engaged Buddhism: A New Map of the Path, on spiritual responses to social and environmental issues, and, as co-editor, Dharma Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism.
Victoria Loorz is pastor of the Church of the Wild in Oak View, Calif., a faith community that meets in the wilderness and focuses on encountering God through nature.
Jane Lubchenco is an environmental science and marine ecology professor at Oregon State University in Corvallis. She served as administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2009 to 2013. Additionally, Lubchenco has been the scientific co-chair for many conferences on faith-based environmental activism hosted by Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
Sarah Macias is co-director of the Green Seminary Initiative, which helps train seminary students on creation care. She also serves as an Alliance of Baptists representative on the board of Creation Justice Ministries.
Nathan Stucky is the director of the Farminary Project at Princeton Theological Seminary, which blends seminary coursework with hands-on training in sustainable agriculture.
Mary Evelyn Tucker
Mary Evelyn Tucker is a senior lecturer and research scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Divinity School and department of religious studies. She also directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology with her husband, John Grim.
Robin Globus Veldman
Robin Globus Veldman is a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University. She studies the relationship between religion and the environment, with a focus on American evangelicalism.
The Rev. Pat Watkins is the executive director of Caretakers of God’s Creation, a grassroots ministry that encourages environmental activism among Methodists. He previously served as a missionary tasked with creation care for the United Methodist Council of Bishops.
Katharine Wilkinson is a writer, speaker and climate activist who studies the intersection between environmental stewardship and personal faith. She is the author of Between God and Green: How Evangelicals are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change.
Emily Wirzba is a legislative representative on sustainable energy and the environment with the Friends Committee on National Legislation, a nonpartisan, Quaker organization.
Jessica Zimmerle is the program and outreach director for Earth Ministry, an environmental advocacy organization in Seattle. She helps lead Earth Ministry’s Greening Congregations program.
Elizabeth Bomberg is a professor of environmental politics at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She has studied faith-based activism around climate change and recently published a research study on Christian environmentalists.
Tomás Insua is the co-founder and executive director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement. Insua grew up in Argentina and now lives in Rome. He can be contacted through Reba Elliott, the organization’s communications director.
Fazlun Khalid is the founder of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, which seeks to increase environmental activism within the global Muslim community.
Jane Mellett is a parish pastoral worker in the Archdiocese of Dublin. In 2018, she tweeted every line of Laudato Si’ to President Donald Trump to protest his environmental policies.
John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan
Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan is the Metropolitan Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria. He took part in a 2018 conference on religion and the environment hosted by Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople.
Bastiaan Rutjens is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam. He studies what leads to distrust in science.
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber is director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany. He has taken part in numerous international gatherings on climate change, including a 2018 conference with faith leaders.
Yu Yang co-authored a 2018 study on the relationship between religious beliefs and environmental behaviors in China. Yu works in the department of public administration at Southeast University in Nanjing, China.