Oxford Bibliographies: Ecology & Justice

Tara C. Trapani

As some of you may have already heard through our social media channels, Oxford recently published our complete overhaul of the Oxford Religion & Ecology Bibliography. This is more than just an update–it includes many brand new sections and hundreds of new titles. The Forum team created the original version, which was released back in 2012, and were pleased to bring you this greatly updated and enhanced version 11 years later.

Oxford Bibliographies is available by subscription only, but most academic and institutional libraries do subscribe, as well as many community libraries and schools. But we'd like to give you a taste of the Religion and Ecology Bibliography by sharing one of its many (54 to be exact) sections here–the Ecology & Justice portion of the bibliography. Please note that Oxford Bibliographies are meant to be tightly curated, not comprehensive. A maximum of 12 annotated titles are in each section. We hope this resource will be of great assistance to students and others in the field for many years to come. 

Ecology and Justice

Environmental justice is on the one hand, an academic discipline exploring theories of justice, race, and politics in relation to environmental law, sustainability, and sociology and, on the other hand, as a social movement focusing upon the fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens. The fight for ecojustice dates back to Martin Luther King’s support for the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike. The 1984 Bhopal toxic gas release and subsequent oil spills in Nigeria and the Amazon brought these issues to the international stage. The movement took further shape at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit in 1991, where delegates, including Robert Bullard—known as the father of environmental justice–laid out the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice. Religiously-engaged ecojustice, which is what we’ll be looking at here, grew out of working groups that were established by US Christian organizations in the 1980s. Religious responses to environmental injustice make up a large part of the environmental activism today. The Orbis Books Ecology and Justice Series includes works that provide in-depth analyses of environmental justice issues as related to the world’s religious traditions. Pellow and Guo 2017, part of the Routledge Handbook on Religion and Ecology, is a helpful introductory article on this topic. Rasmussen 2004, Bouma-Predinger 2004, and Cone 2000 all take on the important and challenging issue of environmental racism, and Harris 2017 also addresses environmental racism and reparations from a womanist perspective. Moe-Lobeda 2015 addresses issues of race and class from the perspective of Christian ethics. Though presenting essays from scholars across the field, Mickey 2020 takes on these topics from the starting point of Jesuit values and philosophy. Rasmussen 2017 observes that a change in cosmological outlook is the essential ingredient that will turn the tide. Hughes, et al. 2019 and Kim and Koster 2017 both call for solidarity and look at ways we can come together to address the injustice. See also the sections Indigenous>Environmental Justice and Indigenous Peoples and Ecofeminism and Ecowomanism for more related titles. 

Bouma-Prediger, Steven. “Environmental Racism.” In Handbook of US Theologies of Liberation, edited by Miguel A. De La Torre, 281-328. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2004. 

This chapter defines environmental racism in relation to environmental injustice and offers faith-based solutions oriented around justice.

Cone, James H. “Whose Earth is it Anyway?” CrossCurrents 50, no. 1/2 (Spring/Summer 2000): 36-46.

Cone connects racism and environmental degradation as he works towards a more integrated theory of justice, particularly as the two relate to the African American community. His intent is to promote solidarity between the Black liberation movement and the environmental movement.

Harris, Melanie L. “Ecowomanism and Ecological Reparations.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Ecology, edited by John Hart, 195-202. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Blackwell, 2017. 

Harris approaches the topic of environmental justice through the lens of ecowomanism. Specifically, she seeks to articulate how ecological reparations can be an option for anti-racist reparations relevant to the environment. 

Hughes, Krista E., Dhawn Martin, and Elaine Padilla, eds. Ecological Solidarities: Mobilizing Faith and Justice for an Entangled World. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019.

This volume contains essays by activists, academics, and artists exploring ecologies of interdependence as a religious framework for climate, racial, gender, and economic justice.

Kim, Grace Ji-Sun and Hilda P. Koster, eds. Planetary Solidarity: Global Women’s Voices on Christian Doctrine and Climate Justice. Baltimore, MD: Project Muse, 2017. 

Women theologians from around the world contribute to this volume at the intersection of Christian theology, gender, and climate justice. Authors discuss a variety of Christian doctrines, including creation, sin, incarnation, and anthropology. 

Mickey, Sam, ed. Integrating Ecology and Justice in a Changing Climate. San Francisco, CA: University of San Francisco Press, 2020.

The essays in this volume are located at the nexus of the climate crisis, justice, and care for the world and its inhabitants. The contributors address such topics as the intersection of Zen Buddhism and Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’; the work of Catholic priest Ivan Illich; and agricultural challenges between the global north and south.

Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia D. “Climate Debt, White Privilege and Christian Ethics as Political Theology.” In Common Good(s): Economy, Ecology, Political Theology, edited by Catherine Keller, Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre, and Elias Ortega-Aponte. New York: Fordham Press, 2015.

In this essay, Moe-Lobeda shows how climate change acts as a manifestation of white privilege, class privilege, and climate debt. She then offers a potential response founded in Christian ethics as political theology. 

Pellow, David N. and Pengfei Guo. “Environmental Justice.” In Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology, edited by Willis Jenkins, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim, 336-344. London & New York: Routledge, 2017. 

In this chapter, Pellow and Guo reflect on how the fields of environmental justice and religion and ecology might have significant intersections and be mutually generative. 

Rasmussen, Larry. “Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice: Moral Theory in the Making?” Journal for the Society of Christian Ethics 24 (2004): 3–28.

Rasmussen argues that the environmental justice movement directs the field of Christian ethics to expand the boundaries of moral community to give moral standing to all of creation. He provides substantive reflections on the nature of environmental injustice and the ways the environmental justice movement advances paradigms for social transformation.

Rasmussen, Larry. “From Social Justice to Creation Justice in the Anthropocene.” In The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Religion and Ecology, edited by John Hart, 239-255. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2017.

Rasmussen discusses the transformation in cosmology that is required for people to move from social justice to an emerging creation justice that can stretch across generations.

Tucker, Mary Evelyn, John Grim, Leonardo Boff, and Sean McDonagh, eds. Ecology and Justice Series. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

This series seeks to integrate an understanding of the Earth as an interconnected life system with concerns for just and sustainable systems that benefit the entire planetary community. Viewing the present moment as a time for responsible creativity, this series asks authors to speak to ecojustice concerns from the Christian community, from the world’s other religious traditions, from secular and scientific circles, and from new paradigms of thought and action.