Sustainability as a Global Faith? The Religious Dimensions of Sustainability and Personal Risk

By Lucas Johnston
Journal of the American Academy of Religion
, pp.1–23.
October 20, 2013

Abstract: Tracing the development of the religious dimensions of sustainability and sustainable development discourse, this article highlights the participation of religious individuals and groups in sustainability advocacy, and the manufacture of sustainability narratives which perform religious work. Since their inception, sustainability and its cognate, sustainable development, have been utilized in the public sphere to promote certain value sets and manage citizen populations. The religious dimensions of sustainability discourse have been some of the primary levers through which the social functions of sustainability have been realized. The term sustainability often acts as a shorthand reference to the core values, beliefs, and practices that particular individuals or groups would like to see persist over the long term. Focusing on the notion that it is largely the absence of conversations across these differing value structures and desirable futures that drives unsustainability, I highlight the work of nongovernmental leaders of sustainability movements who rely on what I have termed an ethic of personal risk.

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