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The Greening of Religion: Ethics and the Environment

Daytime Program

Noon Lecture/Seminar

Friday, October 2, 2020 - 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1A0115
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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NOTE: This program has a rescheduled date (recently September 28, 2020).


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • For multiple registrations, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses.

Over the past half-century, from historian Lynn White's influential 1967 essay attributing many of the causes of the ecological crisis to Latin Christianity to Pope Francis's 2015 addresses to Congress and the United Nations about the need to combat climate change, the Christian churches—and to some extent the other world religions—have made a momentous shift toward incorporating environmentalism into their teachings. The change is evident in the emergence of ideas such as integral ecology in Catholicism, eco-kashrut in Judaism, and green Buddhism, as well as various forms of religious environmental activism.

Ethicist and author William Barbieri explores how and why these religious traditions have adapted their teachings in response to ecological challenges, and comments on what we can learn from this process regarding the role of religions in the modern world. Barbieri discusses the ethical ramifications of the greening of Christianity, as well as other models of ecological spirtuality and ethics.

Barbieri is associate professor of ethics in the School of Theology and Religious Studies and director of the Peace and Justice Studies Program at Catholic University of America.

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This event is presented as part of the Smithsonian Earth Optimism Initiative.

Earth Optimism at Smithsonian