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Faith-Based Climate Action in the Christian Congregations: Mobilization and Spiritual Resources

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)582-596
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number5
Early online date26 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


This article seeks to explain how and why church congregations mobilize on environmental issues and what- if anything- is distinctive about that mobilization. Building on and adapting Resource Mobilization 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 mobilization. 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 practiced at the individual and community level.

    Research areas

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

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