Reformed Protestantism and the origins of modern environmentalism

Michael Northcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The question I investigate in this essay is why it was individuals and regions with a Reformed Protestant religious background - rather than say Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhist or Taoist - which pioneered environmental campaigns and efforts to set aside national parks and rare species for conservation. Subsidiary questions discussed are two: 1. What might be the roots of an affinity between Protestantism and an ecological orientation to the word? 2. If there was this affinity in the nineteenth century origins of ecological conservation, why is it not more widely acknowledged in contemporary scholarship and in the public mind?
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-33
JournalPhilosophia Reformata
Issue number1
Early online date19 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Protestantism
  • romanticism
  • origins of environmentalism
  • nature conservation

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