Patricia K. Townsend, Ph. D.
Environmental Fellow of the
Society for Applied Anthropology
Draft--Comments invited to firstname.lastname@example.org
May 27, 2000
This bibliography is not intended to be exhaustive. It does not attempt
to include all of the large literature on environmental justice or another
large body of literature on creation theology and the stewardship of creation.
From those topics I have sampled only a few representative works of particular
relevance to my concern with faith-based groups and hazardous waste sites.
Many of these references do not deal directly with Superfund sites, although
all contribute something to understanding the conditions under which faith-based
groups minister to Superfund communities.
Arp, W. and K. Boeckelman (1997). “Religiosity: a source of Black environmentalism
and empowerment?” Journal of Black Studies 28(2): 255-268.
This study examines the environmental activism of respondents to door-to-door personal interviews in the industrial corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Communal environmental activism (writing letter, signing petition, attending a hearing, etc.) was correlated with church attendance for blacks but not for whites, Income was also positively correlated with environmental activism for blacks.
Ball, J. G. (1997). Evangelical Protestants, the ecological crisis and
public theology, Ph. Dissertation, Drew University.
The author is Executive Director of the Evangelical Environmental Network, the evangelical participant in the National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) along with Reform Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Mainline (NCC) streams. He earlier worked for the Union of Concerned Scientists on climate change. He is ordained as an American Baptist minister. His concept of public theology is particularly helpful. His dissertation reviews Evangelical Protestant literature from 1970 through 1995 as it relates to the ecological crisis. He proposes that a public theology to enable constructive involvement of Evangelicals in environmental policy-making needs to be based on their relationship to Christ and that of Christ to the cosmos (Colossians 1:15-20). Changes in individual consumption are insufficient since the problems are systemic.
Beaulieu, D. (n.d.). “It's easy being green: Six ways your parish can
help save the earth.” Salt of the Earth, reprinted as http://salt.claretianpubs.org/issues/envir/beaulieu.html.
Practical suggestions for Catholic parishes to be involved in environmental issues, giving case studies of parishes, including some who worked to defeat legislation weakening a state superfund law as well as others encouraging lifestyle changes. Tone is cautious, stressing that "stewardship" is less threatening than the more radical term "environmentalism."
Bhagat, S. P. (1990). Creation in crisis : responding to God's covenant.
Elgin, IL, Brethren Press.
The author is staff person for Eco-Justice and Rural Concerns of the Church of the Brethren. Because he holds degrees in agriculture and agronomy in addition to being an ordained minister, one might expect neglect of urban issues, but on the contrary, this statement gives explicit attention to hazardous wastes. He discusses Woburn, Massachusetts, at length as a model for church involvement in the eco-justice arena. There the Reverend Bruce Young, rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, ministering to parishioners whose children died from leukemia, joined with them to organize FACE (For a Cleaner Environment), and testified in the Senate hearings that led to the passage of CERCLA in 1980.
Brown, P. (1993). “Popular epidemiology challenges the system.” Environment
The events in Woburn, Massachusetts, are analyzed as a case study of the phases through which laypeople go in detecting and acting on environmental hazards and diseases. The author, a sociologist, develops the concept of "popular epidemiology," a concept of great utility for work with Superfund sites. The differences between popular epidemiology and traditional epidemiology are not those between shoddy and respectable science, indeed they may reach the same conclusions through very similar methods. Popular epidemiology emphasizes social structural factors in the chain of causes, and challenges some basic assumptions of public health, including the level of statistical significance needed to take action to protect public health. While the Woburn example began with the lay investigation of a childhood cancer cluster, it eventually led into several other studies that suggested other health effects from exposure to contaminated water. The author takes a positive view of popular epidemiology both for its potential in educating the public and for its potential as a corrective to institutionalized science that is too ready to defend the status quo.
Brueggemann, W. (1997). Theology of the Old Testament : testimony, dispute,
advocacy. Minneapolis, Fortress Press.
One of the few theologians to deal explicitly with toxic wastes and nuclear wastes, Brueggeman considers them to be the modern analogue of the disorder that is addressed in Leviticus. In Leviticus, childbirth, bodily discharges, corpses, and food are the sources of pollution that require ritual regulation. The specific threats to order may be different at different times in history, but the holiness tradition is still meaningful as a way of dealing with them, he claims. In this line of thinking Brueggemann is influenced by anthropologist Mary Douglas.
Bullard, R. D. (2000). Dumping in Dixie : race, class, and environmental
quality. Boulder, Westview Press.
Sociologist Robert D. Bullard is both activist and analyst of the environmental justice movement. His book has gone into a third edition, with updated references to organizations and contacts throughout the South. In his 5 case studies of environmental justice movements, membership in voluntary associations was concentrated in the black church, which he regards as an institution important in mobilizing opposition to environmental injustice. Church membership was highest in Emelle (Alabama), Alsen(Louisiana), and Northwood Manor (Houston)-- all above 80%. It was lower in West Dallas (68.3%) and Institute (West Virginia) (49.5%)
Capek, S. M. (1993). “The "environmental justice" frame: a conceptual
discussion and an application.” Social Problems 40(1): 5-24.
The Carver Terrace neighborhood of Texarkanas, Texas, was constructed on a creosote-contaminated site that was named to the NPL in 1984 as the Koppers Texarkansas Superfund Site. Through legal action, the African American residents won some out-of-court settlements, but through continuing protest they eventually won buyouts and relocation. The author, a sociologist specializing in social movements, discusses the role of national groups in helping residents to frame the issue as one of environmental justice. The Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church was significant as one of the chemical "hot spots," the location of the 1989 environmental justice conference that brought in national activists. It was the home church of Jeter Steger, head deacon, whose 1987 suit for severe health problems had provided the test case that disillusioned residents about getting a hearing through the legal system.
Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (n.d.). To till and to
tend: A guide to Jewish environmental study and action. New York, Coalition
on the Environment and Jewish Life.
This resource for synagogues contains fact sheets on environmental problems, theological essays, resources, and references. The largest section is a series of activities for different age groups ranging from advocacy to direct action, education, and rituals. The explicit treatment of environmental justice, toxic pollution and hazardous wastes (pp. 15-20) is unusual, compared with comparable packets from the Christian denominational bodies, in its emphasis on pollution in the Soviet Union and Israel, rather than the United States.
Devall, B. (1992). Deep ecology and radical environmentalism. American
environmentalism: The U. S. environmental movement, 1970-1990. R. E. Dunlap
and A. G. Mertig. Philadelphia, Taylor & Francis: 51-62.
While Devall comes just short of calling deep ecology a religion, preferring to speak of "philosophy," he traces relationships between deep ecology and radical environmental movements that parallel the public theologies constructed by other religions that foster their public environmental actions. If for no other reason, this topic needs to be explored in order to appreciate the fear of evangelicals, in particular, that their environmental concern will be interpreted as support for the position of deep ecology, with its rejection of anthropocentrism.
Dewitt, C. B. (1998). Caring for creation: responsible stewardship of
God's handiwork. Washington, DC, Center for Public Justice (and Baker Books).
DeWitt is professor at the University of Wisconsin and Director of the Au Sable Institute in Michigan. He is a leader of the evangelical involvement in environmentalism, mobilizing support from the Evangelical community for the Endangered Species Act in 1995 and 1996, the first occasion on which evangelicals united to play a conspicuous role in seeking to influence public policy on an environmental issue. While he does not deal at length with toxics, as a biologist he emphasizes that living beings have no previous experience of the synthetic chemicals. Of DeWitt's many publications on the topic of environmental stewardship, this published lecture is a good introduction that reveals some distinctive elements of an evangelical approach, such as the focus on Jesus Christ. His discussants, while supportive, raise the main objections anticipated in the conservative, evangelical community, including protecting rights to private property and exercising caution about coalitions with radical environmentalists who may regard animals as more important than humans.
DiPerna, P. (1985). Cluster mystery : epidemic and the children of Woburn,
Mass. St. Louis, C.V. Mosby.
Detailed account of the Woburn, Massachusetts, cluster of childhood cancer, by an investigative journalist. Gives prominence to the organizing role of the Rev. Bruce Young, minister of Trinity Episcopal Church, together with his parishioners whose children died, after his initial skepticism that contaminated well water could be causing the illness. Their testimony was signficant in the Senate passage of the Superfund Act.
Eckberg, D. L. (1996). “Christianity, environmentalism, and the theoretical
problem of fundamentalism.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Included here as representative of a literature using survey research methods to relate religion and environmental attitudes in the U. S. Review of this literature suggests contradictory and confusing findings from studies with methodological differences and problems. Authors point out that fundamentalism's hostility to environmentalism may stem not from religious beliefs but from politicization of the issues and the linkage of "green" positions with religious liberalism.
Edelstein, M. R. (1988). Contaminated communities : the social and psychological
impacts of residential toxic exposure. Boulder, Westview Press.
Primarily deals with Legler, New Jersey, whose 150 families were notified in 1978-9 that their water was polluted by organic chemicals but also considers other communities in order to generalize about the social and psychological aspects of toxic contamination. Faith -based organizations are not discussed, but the author notes (p. 92) the importance of personal religious belief as "an important palliative coping tool" in Legler and every other contaminated community he has observed (cf. Kroll-Smith and Crouch).
Fouke, C. (1998). Women gather for unique national environmental training,
National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.
A press release archived at www.wfn.org and several denominational sources reports on a conference for 50 women held in Columbia, Mississippi, April 30-May 30, 1998. The event brought together environmental justice advocates from ten denominations and secular non-profits. It was sponsored by the Eco-Justice working group of the NCC. Columbia was chosen because of the Superfund site (Reichhold Chemical plant) and the host was the local group, Jesus People Against Pollution. The primary site for training was the Mississippi Rural Center of the United Methodist church.
Fowler, R. B. (1995). The greening of Protestant thought. Chapel Hill,
University of North Carolina Press.
Reviews the emergence of a broad consensus in support of environmental action in American Protestant thinking between 1970 and 1990. While there is diversity on specifics of theology, there is remarkable agreement between theological liberals and evangelicals and between elites, institutions, and the wider membership on the existence of an ecological crisis and the Christian responsibility to care for creation. This development has been largely ignored by secular environmentalists, though there are some signs that this is changing. Gives no specific attention to hazardous waste, though he briefly (pp. 165-167) expresses some surprise at the wide and unquestioning acceptance among green Protestants of the assumption that government regulation is a major means by which environmental change may be achieved.
Freeze, R. A. (2000). The environmental pendulum : a quest for the truth
about toxic chemicals, human health, and environmental protection. Berkeley,
University of California Press.
That rare phenomenon, an engineer who can write engaging prose, Freeze has been a consultant hydrologist at numerous Superfund sites (as well as comparable sites in Canada). While this annotated bibliography is not concerned with the engineering aspects of remediation, I include this the most helpful and current of the reading I did to orient myself to technical matters. The author's use of anecdotes about sites he has worked on and his "good news/bad news" approach to the trade-offs involved in remediation make for a readable account that can be recommended to social scientists and activists.
Goldman, B. and L. Fitton (1997). Toxics waste and race revisited. Washington,
D. C., Center for Policy Alternatives, NAACP, and UCC Commission for Racial
This study updates the landmark 1987 UCC study, Toxic wastes and race in the United States. The study focuses on 530 commercial toxic waste sites. It uses U. S. Census data on racial and socioeconomic characteristics of communities (by ZIP codes). The racial disparity was statistically significant in 1980 and in 1993 and has increased during that period. The socioeconomic disparities between communities with and without toxic waste sites are not as pronounced as the racial disparities. (It should be noted that there is a large literature concerning methodological questions about how best to measure environmental injustice that is not covered in this annotated bibliography.)
Gore, A. (1992). Earth in the balance: ecology and the human spirit.
Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.
In his book (then) Senator Gore is clear about the Christian roots of his environmentalism. He is a seminary dropout (Vanderbilt) who remains active as a Protestant layman. He played a prominent role in Congressional hearings on Superfund legislation and subsequently, as Vice-President, in legitimating the environmental justice movement .
Granberg-Michaelson, W. (1984). A worldly spirituality : the call to
redeem life on earth. San Francisco, Harper & Row.
A noted evangelical spokesperson on ecological theology, Granberg-Michaelson is currently denominational executive of the Reformed Church in America, after serving on the staff of the World Council of Churches. He wrote this book and several others in the same vein, calling the church to assume responsibility for environmental protection, during the years he spent on the journalism faculty at the University of Montana. He directed the New Creation Institute in Missoula, a non-profit group eventually subsumed in the AuSable Trails Environmental Institute in Michigan. Prior to moving to Montana he had been chief legislative assistant to Senator Mark Hatfield.
Hall, C. F. (1997). “The Christian Left: Who are they and how are they different from the Christian Right?” Review of Religious Research 39(1): 27-45.
This study surveyed opinions on social issues among a sample of members of organizations selected selected on the basis of their typical concern with liberal or conservative issues to represent a the Christian Left (Sojourners, Bread for the World, Evangelicals for Social Action, and Justlife) and others to represent the Christian Right (Focus on the Family, Prison Fellowship, Americans for the Republic, and Concerned Women for America). Except for a shared opposition to abortion, members supported two distinct ideological packages with respect to issues such as poverty, women's rights, homosexuality, and sex education in the schools. Of interest to this project, not surprisingly, the Christian Left is significantly more likely than the Right to support the position that "more environmental protection is needed." Both groups are high in religious commitment and they are demographically similar to a remarkable degree (income, age, gender, education, occupation).
Hessel, D. T. (1996). Where were/are the U. S. churches in the environmental
movement? Theology for Earth Community: A Field Guide. D. T. Hessel. Maryknoll,
New York, Orbis Books: 199-207.
For many years the author was within the denominational bureaucracy of the Presbyterian Church USA from where he provided leadership in denominational social justice initiatives, including those of eco-justice. Subsequently, he has led efforts to make ecojustice part of the curriculum in theological institutions. He reviews mainline, ecumenical involvement with environmentalism as falling into five phases since the 1960s: 1) awakening to ecotheology and ecoethics, 2) sustainable food systems, 3) energy issues (from 1974), 4) fostering the environmental justice movement (from 1987) 5) leadership development for eco-justice (including the work of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment in the 1990s). He sees religious involvement in environmentalism as still being quite anthropocentric, and is perplexed by the failure of the churches to formalize institutions around environmental concerns to the same extent as other concerns (e.g. peace) in the same period.
Hoffmann, M., Ed. (1987). Earthcare: lessons from Love Canal--a resouce
& response guide. Niagara Falls, Ecumenical Task Force of the Niagara
Largely devoted to a 15 step guide to organizing an inter-faith response to hazardous waste problems, based on a decade of work at Love Canal and holding workshops at other locations. Some inspirational essays on "What we learned," from several people in the religious community involved at Love Canal. Now primarily of historical interest, but a forerunner of works such as the National Council of Churches 1999 manual.
Jackson, B. P. and R. D. Bullard (1998). From plantations to plants:
Report of the emergency national commission on environmental and economic
justice in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Cleveland, Ohio, United Church
of Christ, Commission for Racial Justice. 2000.
This Commission was established at the request of the St. James Citizens for Jobs and the Environment, a grassroots organization formed to stop the siting of a Shintech polyvinyl chloride plant in an area already heavily impacted by chemical companies. The report is concerned not only with stopping a single plant siting but more broadly with development issues in the Lower Mississippi Industrial Corridor. The United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice continues to play a leading role in environmental justice, as indicated by its publication of this report. However, in the decade separating its 1987 report from this one, the long list of co-sponsoring organizations indicates the amount of organization- and coalition-building that has gone on in the area of environmental justice. The coalition that produced this work included leading members of national church, labor, and environmental organizations and provides some sense of what resources can now be mobilized by a grassroots group with a compelling cause.
Johnson, G. S. (1996). Toxins! Tocsin: The North Hollywood Dump in Memphis,
Tennessee: a community's struggle against environmental racism. Ph. D.
Dissertation in Sociology. University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The author conducted 50 face-to-face open-ended interviews over a period of nine months with key informants concerning the North Hollywood Dump Superfund site. At the time of the research the dump was no longer much in the news as remediation was nearing completion. Indeed most controversy over the site ended in 1984, a decade earlier. About one-third of those interviewed were residents of the Hollywood community, others were politicians, officials, and professionals living elsewhere in Memphis. The dissertation presents these as anonymous "voices" with liberal direct quotations from recorded interviews. The author concludes that there was little organized response (including that from religious organizations) by the community to the toxic waste but much anger at environmental racism and lack of community participation in environmental decision-making. Several respondents are noted to be active church members or ministers.
Johnson, T. (1998). “The second creation story: redefining the bond
between religion and ecology.” Sierra(Nov/Dec).
This keynote article and related articles in the same issue are a landmark in mainstream environmental organization publications on the forming of coalitions with faith-based groups. It opens with a prayer offered by an African-American minister on a "toxic tour" of the New Orleans-Baton Rouge corridor organized by the National Council of Churches of Christ.
Kaza, S. and K. Kraft, Eds. (2000). Dharma rain: sources of Buddhist
environmentalism. Boston, Shambhala.
An anthology of writings on Buddhist environmentalism by both Asian and American writers. The work of poet Gary Snyder and Joanna Macy is especially well represented. While not directly concerned with toxic waste, this volume is included as a reminder of the fact that Buddhist thought has been more influential among American environmentalists than the mere distribution of practicing Buddhists would suggest. Also, not yet explored to any great extent are environmental justice issues in relation to recent Southeast Asian immigrants to the United States.
Ketcham, J. (1999). The "silent" disaster: People of faith respond to
technological disasters, National Council of Churches of Christ in the
USA, Resource Unit on Technological Disasters; Church World Service, Emergency
Educational piece prepared the NCCC for congregations faced with human-caused disasters, whether acute or chronic. These are defined to include impoundment failures (such as leaking dumpsites), transportation and handling accidents, and "sick" buildings. The centerpiece is detailed advice on how to organize a faith-based task force for action in response to such disasters. The study resource includes scriptural references, a primer of terminology related to toxic substances and a summary of relevant legislation. Extensive resources referenced include books for adults and children, web sites, and names, addresses, and phone numbers for both government (USEPA Regional Offices) and denominational/ecumenical contacts as of press time (6/99).
Kroll-Smith, J. S. and S. R. Couch (1987). “A chronic technical disaster
and the irrelevance of religious meaning: The case of Centralia, Pennsylvania.”
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 26(1): 25-37.
The underground coal mine fire that has slowly destroyed the community of Centralia, Pennsylvania, is described as a chronic technical disaster. Unlike natural disasters, this type of disaster does not evoke religious definition of the problem or the assignment of religious meaning to the suffering caused by the event. Because the disaster was caused by humans and technical intervention by humans was seen as the solution, residents saw their religious culture as irrelevant. Parishioners did not desire that clergy have more than minimal involvement.
Kroll-Smith, J. S. and S. R. Couch (1990). The real disaster is above
ground : a mine fire & social conflict. Lexington, Ky., University
Press of Kentucky.
Though dealing with a mine fire rather than a hazardous waste site, this long term study by two sociologists is an model for case studies dealing with chronic technological disasters and the destructive community conflict they may produce. A series of seven different grassroots groups was organized over three years, each with different goals and strategies. A minor point of relevance to Superfund sites is their description of how a grant from a religious denomination to one of these citizens' groups exacerbated the conflict. The granting organization has also made grants to Superfund communities.
Levine, A. (1982). Love Canal : science, politics, and people. Lexington,
Mass., Lexington Books.
The author, a sociology professor at the State University of New York at Buffalo, engaged in two years of participant observation and interviewing in the Love Canal neighborhoods with several graduate students from August 1978, when the crisis was first seen on local television broadcasts. This is the classic study of grassroots organization around a Superfund site in its most intense and stressful stage for local residents. The author subsequently was consulted by those seeking to study other sites (e.g. the Johns Hopkins group designing a health study for the North Hollywood Dump neighborhood in Memphis). Regarding the involvement of interfaith organizations, she perceives the Ecumenical Task Force as late on the scene but professionally-led in their involvement and capable of filling useful, but slightly different, role than that of neighborhood residents .
Lowry, S. and D. Swartz (1999). Spirituality Outreach Guide: A guide
for environmental groups working with faith-based organizations. Madison,
Wisconsin, The Biodiversity Project.
This guide was developed primarily for secular environmental organizations to assist them in developing communication and coalitions with faith-based groups, mostly Jewish and Christian groups. The stated rationale for such coalition building is that religious traditions have already been present in conservation concerns, providing language for talking about the value of biodiversity that transcends strictly utilitarian arguments, that policy makers are likely to listen to the voice of the religious community (more than to the stereotypical environmentalist), and that a large segment of the general public links environmental values to spirituality. The guide is not likely to be fully satisfying to anyone, but it does helpfully warn of pitfalls. It gives a current list of contacts with environmental offices of faith-based organizations including many web-sites (but note that many of the organizations listed have web-sites that are not listed here--so use of a search engine is recommended).
Miller-Travis, V. (2000). Social transformation through environmental
justice. Christianity and ecology: seeking the well-being of earth and
humans. D. Hessel and R. R. Ruether. Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard
University Press: 559-572.
The author has been engaged with toxic waste and environmental justice issues since 1986 when she was hired as principal research assistant on the UCC Commission for Racial Justice project on toxic injustice (see also UCC 1987 in this bibliography). She reflects informally on her experiences, including the struggle of her own West Harlem neighbors against noxious effects of a sewage plant.
Oelschlaeger, M. (1994). Caring for creation : an ecumenical approach
to the environmental crisis. New Haven, Yale University Press.
Of the many works on the Judeo-Christian theology and the environment, this one is perhaps the broadest and boldest. Broadest, in that Oelschlager's ecumenical approach encompasses all branches of Christianity and Judaism; boldest, in the suggestion that only the power of sacred story, freshly interpreted, is sufficient for the cultural and policy changes needed to address the ecological crisis. This is so because science, even conservation ecology, is permeated by the utilitarian individualism that is also the cause of the crisis.
Pulido, L. (1996). Environmentalism and economic justice : two Chicano
struggles in the Southwest. Tucson, University of Arizona Press.
While dealing with grazing and farm-worker exposure to pesticides rather than with a Superfund site per se, Pulido's book is useful for its attention to the importance of religious symbols in Hispanic Catholic communities.
Regan, R. and M. Legerton (1990). Economic slavery or hazardous wastes?
Robeson County's economic menu. Communities in economic crisis : Appalachia
and the South. J. Gaventa, B. E. Smith and A. W. Willingham. Philadelphia,
Temple University Press: 146-157.
The authors are a Native American Baptist minister and a UCC minister who is Executive Director of the Center for Community Action (formerly Clergy and Laity Concerned) in Lumberton NC. They discuss the CCA's organizing efforts against a proposed GSX hazardous waste treatment facility rather than a Superfund site. Excellent coverage of the different types of activities that involved of churches, including Lumbee Indian churches.
Reko, H. K. (1984). Not an act of God: the story of Times Beach. St.
Louis, Lutheran Family and Children's Services.
The Ecumenical Dioxin Task Force that was formed in 1983 to assist residents in the Times Beach, Missouri, crisis drew explicitly on the model of the Ecumenical Task Force at Love Canal, employing paid staff to provide pastoral care and advocacy for the victims of toxic pollution. Funding came from a dozen denominations and ecumenical agencies. Reko was the Lutheran pastor who was employed part-time on the staff. He discusses the role that the Task Force played in relation to residents and agencies, acknowledging that part of their role was to absorb some of the anger created by inappropriate or conflicting government policies. Events sponsored by the Task Force including a Christmas in July, for those who had missed Christmas due to flooding, and a memorial service, for those grieving the loss of their community. The Times Beach site became one of the initial group of Superfund sites and residents were relocated.
Schwab, J. (1994). Deeper shades of green : the rise of blue-collar
and minority environmentalism in America. San Francisco, Sierra Club Books.
Eight case studies of blue-collar and minority environmental activism, mostly against siting new hazardous waste facilities. Unusual among journalistic accounts in not being blind to church involvement, e.g. of Rev. Adolph Coleman in Robbins, Illinois. The author attended some ecumenical conferences and interviewed church folks. Also judging from his list of sources, he may have links to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Shibley, M. A. and J. L. Wiggins (1997). “The Greening of Mainline American
Religion: A sociological analysis of the environmental ethics of the National
Religious Partnership for the Environment.” Social Compass 44(3): 333-348.
The first article in a planned research project to follow the new environmental activism of the mainline religious denominations in the United States in the 1990s, beginning with the formation in 1993 of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, a coalition involving Catholics, Jews, and liberal and conservative Protestants. The NRPE was initially a 3-year $4.5 million project for the "greening" of 53,000 congregations. This paper analyzes the publication packets made available to congregations for education and suggested actions. Of the three underlying religiously-based environmental ethics (see Kearns), all emphasize the stewardship ethic to some extent (Jewish and evangelical materials almost exclusively so), and only the National Council of Churches materials make eco-justice the principal ethic. None fully embrace creation spirituality, and most refute it to a varying extent.
Somplatsky-Jarman, W., W. E. Grazer, et al. (2000). Partnership for
the environment among U. S. Christians: Reports from the National Religious
Partnership for the Environment. Christianity and ecology: seeking the
well-being of earth and humans. D. Hessel and R. R. Ruether. Cambridge,
Massachusetts, Harvard University Press: 573-590.
Report on the current state of inter-faith collaboration on environmental issues through the NRPE from three of its four participant groups: Mainline, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians (the fourth, Judaism, was not represented because the conference was on Christianity and Ecology).
Szasz, A. (1994). Ecopopulism : toxic waste and the movement for environmental
justice. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.
Szasz's analysis of the formation of political icons and television's iconography of hazardous waste is essential to research on this topic. He is also notable among social scientists for not editing out evidence of religious participation and motivation in leaders of grassroots organizations, e.g. p.92 Sue Greer's comment about praying before getting involved with landfill issues in her community of Wheeler, Indiana.
Tinker, G. E. (1996). EcoJustice and justice: an American Indian perspective.
Theology for Earth community : a field guide. D. T. Hessel. Maryknoll,
N.Y., Orbis Books: 176-185.
Tinker's contribution is one of the papers presented at the October 1994 conference on "Theology for Earth Community" held at Union and Auburn Seminaries in New York. He includes ecojustice concerns of North and South American Indians, with primary emphasis on ecologically devastating extraction of mineral and petroleum resources on indigenous lands. The author is a professor at Iliff School of Theology (UCC).
United Church of Christ, C. f. R. J. (1987). Toxic wastes and race in
the United States. New York, Commission for Racial Justice, United Church
The study that put environmental justice on the public policy table by using census data on minorities and EPA data on toxic releases to demonstrate a pattern of environmental racism. Commissioned by a church group, it led to major changes in national government policy. It also led to minority groups re-framing environmental issues as civil rights issues.
Wallace, M. I. (2000). The wounded spirit as the basis for hope in an
age of radical ecology. Christianity and ecology: seeking the well-being
of earth and humans. D. Hessel and R. R. Ruether. Cambridge, Massachusetts,
Harvard University Press: 51-72.
The author, a professor of religion at Swarthmore College, relates environmental justice issues at Chester, Pennsylvania, to more general theological issues. This paper is one of the few in this thick volume of conference papers that contributes to the discussion of toxic wastes--additional confirmation that conservation of wilderness is an easier topic for theologians to deal with than urban pollution.
Whiteley, P. and V. Masayesva (1998). The Use and Abuse of Aquifers:
Can the Hopi Indians survive multinational mining? Water, culture, and
power : local struggles in a global context. J. M. Donahue and B. R. Johnston.
Washington, D.C., Island Press: 9-34.
Springs, water, and rain are central in the religious thought and ritual of the Hopi of northeast Arizona. They attribute the drying up of their springs to the extravagant use of water by the Peabody Western Coal Company. Peabody's Black Mesa-Kayenta Mine is the only mine in the United States that transports its coal by slurry, moving it through a pipeline to a Nevada power plant that supplies electricity to Southern California. Complicating matters, the Hopi Tribal Council is heavily dependent on coal royalties and water lease fees from Peabody. While this paper does not deal with a Superfund site, the EPA did critically review Peabody's draft environmental impact statement for the Black Mesa Mine. The paper is a model for studies of the relationship of Native American spirituality to contemporary environmental issues.