May 25 2018

by Melanie L. Harris, Texas Christian University

The image of black women’s bodies stretched along roads in North Carolina to block toxic waste dump trucks from carrying hazardous soil into their gardens stays with me each time I teach environmental ethics. As James Cone reminds us in his essay “Whose Earth Is it Anyway?,” these brave black churchwomen began a protest against soil contamination in Warren County in 1982. The protest would attract thousands to the streets and land hundreds in jail. While jail time is all too familiar to those engaged in justice movements in the South, it is important to remember that fighting for justice often has a cost. Holding up the banner for racial, economic, gender, sexual, and earth justice is a complex job that can leave marks — even in the college classroom.

by Pankaj Jain, University of North Texas

An eminent scholar recently came to our university campus and spoke about the role of the diverse religious communities of the world and their attitudes toward the environment. He showed examples from several indigenous communities from North America, South America, Africa, and Asia. Yet when he referred to the traditions of India, he used these words: “India has the most bizarre culture in the world, where even a cobra is worshipped. This is a bit of an overshoot.” It amazes me that even in this supposedly globalized world, India continues to mystify scholars.

by Sandra B. Lubarsky, Appalachian State University

In the modern Western world, the link between beauty and sustainability remains underappreciated. If the dominant preoccupation of our culture has been science, our most marginal concern may be aesthetics — so much so that we often think of the two as antithetical. Science has embraced the idea that reality is value-neutral. It has cultivated an epistemological method of detached knowing. Aesthetics, by contrast, is a minefield of value. It demands engagement, subjectivity, and personality.

Pages

Subscribe to Religious Studies News RSS