Faith-based climate action in the Christian congregations: Mobilization and spiritual resources

Elizabeth Bomberg, Alice Hague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article seeks to explain how and why church congregations mobilise on environmental issues and what – if anything – is distinctive about that mobilisation. Building on and adapting Resource Mobilisation Theory (RMT), we develop the idea of “spiritual resources” to help explain how a collection of spiritual identities, values, symbols and narratives can facilitate distinctive collective action on environmental issues. Our analysis draws on data derived from an in-depth case study of climate active groups in Scotland. It includes content analysis of websites, news stories as well as ethnographic observation of selected church and secular groups engaged in climate activity. We find church groups do enjoy a distinct set of resources – comprising tradition, rituals and symbols shaped by theology and doctrine – which are not wholly captured by other explanations of climate mobilisation. While these spiritual resources do not directly translate into specific environmental or climate action they can, especially when combined with other resources, lead to environmental activities distinctly motivated, and distinctly practised at the individual and community level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-596
Number of pages15
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number5
Early online date26 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • resource mobilization theory
  • spiritual resources
  • faith-based
  • community
  • climate change
  • Christianity and politics


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