When it comes to religion and the environment, beliefs are often unjustly criticized (when it's hypocrisy that should be to blame, instead).
I am no theologian, so instead of attempting to explain each religion and its stance on environmental issues, I'm simply going to point out a variety of texts and resources which support religious and spiritual environmentalism.
In all matters moderation is desirable. If a thing is carried to excess, it will prove a source of evil. (Baha'ullah, Tablets of Baha'ullah, p. 69)
This article explores the basic principles and beliefs of the members of the Baha'i Faith and then examines how these can and are being applied to environmental and development challenges worldwide.
This statement explains how the Baha'i Scriptures view nature and our role in protecting it.
This website is a "Baha'i inspired organization addressing the environment and sustainable development".
"Aware of the suffering caused by the destruction of life, I undertake to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of people, animals, plants, and minerals." (Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist monk)
This article explains the Buddha's affinity for nature and this article demonstrates the Buddhist reverence for all of life.
But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the lord has done this. In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:7-10)
This article describes the Judeo-Christian call to be stewards over the Earth.
This site offers extensive scriptural references for this religion and environment views.
Devote thyself single-mindedly to the Faith, and thus follow the nature designed by Allah, the nature according to which He has fashioned mankind. There is no altering the creation of Allah. (Qur’an 30:30)
This paper points out the chief characteristics of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi’s philosophy and understanding of the this religion and environment.
And this article describes the role of Muslims in caring for the Earth "as a loving and caring friend".
Ahimsa or nonviolence is not only non-killing, it also means that one's attitude must be of maitri (amity) and peace. The real meaning of ahimsa is maitri. There are thought to be countless jivas, life or life forms, that populate the earth, air, water and are present all around us. How are we to behave towards these? With maitri. (Jitubhai Shah)
Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God. (Ko-ji-ki, Hachiman Kasuga of the Shinto tradition)
This publication explains the background of the Shinto faith and its suggestions on environmental preservation.
This news release describes the Shintos commitment to the preservation of sacred forests.
This book excerpt explains the background and beliefs of Shintoism in regards to ecology.
Sikh tradition begins with the simple premise that all the universe is sacred and worthy of respect. Every bush, ant and tree is, in its own way, engaged in worship. (SikhNet.com)
This paper attempts to explain the Sikh beliefs behind environmentalism and the reasons behind environmental degradation.
This website is dedicated to the Sikh community involvement in environmental preservation.
He who knows the activities of Nature lives according to Nature. (Chuang Tzu, The Book of Chang Tzu)
This article offers great insight into Daoist religion and environment protection.
This PDF describes deep ecology and the human role from a Taoist perspective.
Whoever teaches care for all these seven creations, does well and pleases the Bounteous Immortals; then his soul will never arrive at kinship with the Hostile Spirit. When he has cared for the creations, the care of these Bounteous Immortals is for him, and he must teach this to all mankind in the material world. (Shayasht ne Shayast 15:6)
This excerpt describes Zoroastrianism beliefs in regard to nature and the environment.
This article describes how the religion can be defined by its stewardship and reverence for life.
It's inspiring and encouraging to know that despite major religious differences and the strife it often causes we can still find a common thread in our lives and our care of the Earth.
Below is a collection of books to help you delve deeper into this subject.
Do you have something to add?
I'm always interested in adding to this list. If you've come across an interesting article that describes the positive influences of religion on the environment, please let me know by contacting me here.
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