The Anthropocene as an age of human ability for the destruction of the ecosystem “earth” represents a permanent secular end-time. It is the responsibility of theology to interpret such a global sign of the time in the light of the gospel, for which the categories of biblical apocalyptics are evident. But apocalypticism represents an often misused tradition and has a reputation for mythological dualism and pessimism. Authentic Judeo-Christian apocalyptic, however, represents a political prophetic theology of its present. It reflects the possibility of hope in situations of catastrophic gradient. It is astonishingly current and inspiring in the discourse around experiences of powerlessness and the impossibility of a “right life in the wrong one.” In the face of climate catastrophe, it teaches a discernment of spirits between optimism for progress and a resistant practice of hope.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has set itself the goal of empowering adolescents to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) proclaimed by the UN. The following article discusses the extent to which Religious Education can be linked to ESD. It is shown that ESD sometimes does not make conflicts of interest or ideological blind spots transparent, which need to be critically analyzed by Religious Education. This reveals dilemmas that a politically oriented religious ESD has to deal with. How these dilemmas can be dealt with in Religious Education is finally illustrated by an example.
The urgency of the climate crisis is becoming increasingly visible in far-right politics in the United States and Europe, as ecological themes are rearticulated through nationalist visions of ethnic and racial identity and connected to issues like global migration. While these shifts connect to a well-established history of right-wing ecological discourse, including ecofascism, the outsized influence of climate change denialism on the right and the common association of environmentalism with progressive aims have tended to obscure these worrying trends. This contribution to theological cultivation of climate justice is primarily diagnostic—an account of fast-moving political developments that merit attention from theologians who are committed to struggles against racism, xenophobia, and Christian supremacy in efforts toward planetary transformation.
Liberating theologies focus primarily on the poor and the relationship between reality and faith perspectives. The editors of this volume present their shared views while sticking to their different theoretical approaches regarding universality and particularity, epistemology, culture and economy. Taking reality and particularly climate issues seriously as well as the consequences for the poor, different social actors, including academia are seen in their different roles in the engagement for a world the humans share with other kinds of being.
This article traces the changing, multifaceted use of the term climate justice on the basis of documents from international relations. It elaborates that climate justice is conceptually and practically characterized by a double tension: particularity and universality as well as stabilization and contestation. With these characteristics, climate justice represents a normative principle, a binding agent of climate policy, as well as a tool for its critique. It opens spaces of negotiation not only for efficient but also for just climate protection measures.
For a theological vision of the mutual participation of all created, the stewardship paradigm as a description of a constructive relation between humankind and nature is acknowledged but deemed as insufficient. After a meditation on the framing of David Attenborough’s film A Life on the Planet in which the wild is envisioned as mending humanity’s destructiveness, the discourse of the Rights of Nature is discussed as an appreciation of nature’s subjectivity, a subjectivity that is affirmed in various indigenous theologies as well, not least in Scandinavian Sámi theology. In conversation with this theology, the Swedish bishops’ letter on the climate, the papal encyclical Laudato Si’, and various eco-theologians, this article goes beyond the stewardship paradigm and argues for the necessity to accord nature its own voice.
In Western canonical Christian theology rationalist, abstract perspectives are prevailing. An alternative approach to Climate Justice in order to nourish practically informed ecotheology allows appreciating narrative structures in concrete experiences. Through biographical conversations with elderly Bolivian farm-wives their sets of values have been analyzed. The rich data material offers insights on: relationship and experience of nature, nature as a source of life and a commodity, natural spirituality, cyclic or teleological experience of nature. Finally, there is an outline and discussion of ecofeminist strands with the conflictive findings in the fully lived theologies of Grandmothers’ University.
The theme of ecology has been strongly debated in various social, political and religious spheres. In Christianity, the theme gained a greater dimension with Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (2015), where the care for Nature is presented as a humanizing element and as a meeting point of God with the human being. In the light of Christian theology and in line with Laudato Si’, this article defends the need for an ecology of Hope so that greater climate justice is possible. The argument follows three fundamental points: The ecological demands to be human, the ecology in view of the future and the urgency of the ecology of relationships. The development of these sub-themes will support the thesis of the urgency and need to create an ecology of Hope, so that it becomes the essence of an integral ecology both with regard to the human being and with regard to his relationship with creation.
In this article we seek to question assumptions about territorial ownership and nation-state sovereignty over the use and exploitation of land as a first step towards doing environmental justice, turn to Christian sources prompting fresh thinking about land and human relationship to the natural environment, bring biblical and patristic thought into conversation with two contemporary Christian environmental justice responses calling us back to our creaturely connection to land, and, finally, rationalize an eco-theology and its implications for an ethic in which right relationship with God and neighbor demands a right and just relationship with the creation.
The fantasies of limitless economic growth are putting the lives of today’s most vulnerable members of humankind and future generations in peril. The mainstream of current economic, political, and public debates around sustainable development and climate policy focus on the idea of addressing climate change and other environmental challenges by means of ecologically friendly technologies and “green growth”. Scholarly approaches by Niko Paech, Doris Fuchs and Antonietta Di Giulio make strong cases for the necessity of absolute reductions in material and energy use, as do the works of liberation theologians Ignacio Ellacuría and Jon Sobrino as well as Pope Francis. At the intersection of all four approaches, a common theme emerges: economic reductions and limitations do not necessarily reduce quality of life but rather have the potential to generate liberating effects.