From the "Psalms" in the Bible to the sacred rivers in Hinduism, the natural world has been integral to the world's religions. John Grim and Mary Tucker argue that today's growing environmental challenges make the relationship ever more vital. In this concise primer, they illustrate religion's role in sustaining people and the planet. The authors explore the history of religious traditions and the environment, illustrating how religious teachings and practices both promoted and at times subverted sustainability. Subsequent chapters examine the emergence of religious ecology, as views of nature changed in religious traditions and the ecological sciences. Yet the authors argue that religion and ecology are not the province of institutions or disciplines alone. They describe four fundamental aspects of religious life: orienting, grounding, nurturing, and transforming. Readers then see how these phenomena are experienced in a Native American religion, Orthodox Christianity, Confucianism, and Hinduism. Ultimately, Grim and Tucker argue that the engagement of religious communities is necessary if humanity is to sustain itself and the planet.
They recount exemplary stories of groups and individuals who are inspired by their religion to work towards a healthy community of life.