Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

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Spirituality After Darwin: "Dark Green" Nature Religion as a New, Global Religious Movement

Lecture by RCC Fellow Bron Taylor

22.05.2012 16:00  – 18:00 

Location: Institut für Ethnologie, Room 131, Oettingenstr. 67, Munich

Speaker: Bron Taylor, Professor of Religion and Environmental Ethics, University of Florida

New Religions come and go, but some persist and become major global forces. In this presentation Professor Taylor presents evidence that, especially since Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859, a new, global, earth religion has been rapidly spreading around the world. Whether it involves conventional religious beliefs in non-material divine beings, or is entirely naturalistic and involves no such beliefs, it considers nature to be sacred, imbued with intrinsic value, and worthy of reverent care. Those having affinity with such spirituality generally have strong feelings of belonging to nature, express kinship with non-human organisms, and understand the world to be deeply interconnected. In a recent book Taylor labeled such phenomena "dark green religion," noting that its central ethical priority is to defend the earth’s bio-cultural diversity. Taylor provides a wide variety of examples of new forms of religious (and religion-resembling) cultural innovation among those promoting such nature spirituality, from individuals (including artists, scientists, filmmakers, photographers, surfers, and environmental activists), to institutions (including museums, schools, and the United Nations). By tracking these, Taylor provides an opportunity to consider what such spirituality may portend for the religious and planetary future.

Taylor is a professor of religion and environmental ethics at the University of Florida, USA and a Carson Fellow at the RCC. Read more about him here.