Protecting Nature, Saving Creation. Ecological Conflicts, Religious Passions, and Political Quandaries

Edited by Pasquale Gagliardi, Anne Marie Reijnen, & Philipp Valentini. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

This book is drawn out of a 'Dialogue', held in Venice at the Cini Foundation in September 2010, aimed at exploring the relationship between ecology and theology. The meeting involved experts from different disciplines (theologians, anthropologists, ecologists, economists, philosophers, and historians), sharing the awareness that the gamut of passions mobilized by ecology so far has not reached the level or intensity required for the huge task facing humanity today concerning the fate of the Earth. Can religions help us tackle the ecological crisis we are now facing? Can we redefine our relationship with the Earth, giving spiritual depth to ecological issues? How to mobilize the notions, cosmologies and rituals characterizing some religious traditions without overlooking the conflicts underlying the ecological debate and the essential role of politics?

"Why is it proving so frustratingly difficult to determine and implement the measures necessary to protect our planet from the ravages of exploitation? Can the god of technology save us from the destruction we ourselves unleash, or must we turn to traditional religions for the passion to energize and mobilize constructive ecological policies? These urgent questions were recently examined by leading academics at a multi-disciplinary conference held in Venice, their deliberations faithfully recorded in this unusual and illuminating book. Privileged to eavesdrop on their conversations, we see more clearly than before why the achievement of consensus in political ecology is so very elusive."

- John Hedley Brooke, Emeritus Professor of Science & Religion, University of Oxford, UK


"For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" The Gospel of Mark's reflection provides the inspiration for this remarkable collection of essays and dialogues that tackles nothing less than the future of our planet. Gathering together an internationally renowned collection of philosophers, sociologists and theologians, Protecting Nature, Saving Creation is a passionate, sometimes conflicted, yet always urgent, and absolutely essential account of the vital questions facing the relations between religion, nature, ecology and theology for our century. Celebrating the best scholarly traditions of the dialogue between art and science, religious and secular life, this collection provides compelling new directions for the humanities and social sciences'."

- Jerry Brotton, author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps Professor of Renaissance Studies, Queen Mary University of London, UK

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