Ecological Conversions: Environmental Crisis and Ethical Change among German and Kenyan Catholics
What is the role of religion in mitigating anthropogenic environmental change? How can religious commitments motivate people to develop environmentally friendly ways of life? What are the differences and similarities of religious environmentalisms in the Global North and South? Based on ethnographic field research in Germany and Kenya, the Ecological Conversions project (ECO) will develop an empirically rich account of the world’s largest organized religious response to the global environmental crisis: Catholic environmentalism. In times of accelerated global change, research on religious and cultural responses to socio-ecological problems is needed to complement the search for political and technological solutions. Roman Catholicism is interesting because environmental protection has recently become the church’s focal topic. Following Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, 1.3 Billion Catholics are called upon to strive for an ‘ecological conversion’: a profound change in consciousness and lifestyle aimed at responding to 'the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor'. ECO will investigate comparatively how Catholics differently affected by environmental change have responded to the pope’s ecological vision. With a focus on how Catholics work to reshape their own and others’ way of thinking, feeling, judging, and acting, the project will develop a better understanding of religious environmentalism as a quest for ethical change.
- Projektleitung: Dr. Julian Jasper Sommerschuh