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Religion & Climate Change

March 18, 2021


As the pandemic dominated Americans’ attention in 2020, another crisis—climate change—worsened with alarming speed. The year 2020 brought the most active Atlantic hurricane season ever, the West Coast’s worst fire season, and the hottest global temperatures (tied with 2016). All of this unfolded even as the Trump administration, in alliance with evangelical climate-change deniers, continued to thwart policies that would combat global warming. Now, with the election of Joe Biden, the U.S. has rejoined the Paris climate accord and environmentalism is regaining political momentum. What is religion’s role in this new environment, and how does it shape Americans’ understanding of climate change? What questions should scholars be pursuing on religion and climate? Join our expert panelists as they reflect on these and related questions.


Amanda J. Baugh, California State University, Northridge

Amanda Baugh is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Cal State Northridge.  She specializes in religion and the environment, with particular attention to race, ethnicity, and class.  Her first book, God and the Green Divide: Religious Environmentalism in Black and White (California, 2016), seeks to decenter religious environmentalism as mainly the product of white elites, a story she continues in her current project, Rethinking Religious Environmentalism.


Evan Berry, Arizona State University

Evan Berry is Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities and Senior Sustainability Scholar in the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation at Arizona State University in Tempe.  He is the author of Devoted to Nature: The Religious Roots of American Environmentalism (California, 2015), which traces the influence of Christian theology on the environmental movement in the U.S.  He is president-elect of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.



Lisa H. Sideris, Indiana University, Bloomington

Lisa H. Sideris is Professor of Religious Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Religion and the Human at IU Bloomington.  In fall 2021, she will join the faculty of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara.  An environmental ethicist who studies the interface of science and religion, she is the author of Consecrating Science: Wonder, Knowledge, and the Natural World (California, 2017), and Environmental Ethics, Ecological Theology, and Natural Selection (Columbia, 2003), and is co-editor of Rachel Carson: Legacy and Challenge (SUNY, 2008).


Peter J. Thuesen, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Peter J. Thuesen is Professor of Religious Studies, co-editor of Religion and American Culture: A Journal of Interpretation, and Director of Humanities Research in the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at IUPUI.  His latest book, Tornado God: American Religion and Violent Weather (Oxford, 2020), traces how religious views of weather and climate disasters have evolved from the colonial era to Donald Trump.  His other books include Predestination: The American Career of a Contentious Doctrine (Oxford, 2009), and In Discordance with the Scriptures: American Protestant Battles over Translating the Bible (Oxford, 1999).

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