Faith Communities and Environmental Activism: ECEN Consultation to take place in Edinburgh

The European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN), together with The University of Edinburgh and United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council, is hosting a three-day symposium on the relationship between faith communities and environmental activism. The event takes place in Edinburgh from 18 to 20 May and brings together faith-based environmentalists and researchers to discuss the beliefs, cultures, and traditions that propel action for social change.

Dialogue between faith-based actors and academics, as well as cooperation among different groups addressing challenges of environmental degradation and climate change are of growing importance. “The contributions of churches and other faith-based actors and underlining of their specific voice are increasingly critical for combatting worldwide nature depletion and climate change,” remarked ECEN Secretary Peter Pavlovic. “These voices are an essential corrective to widespread consumer culture and the accompanying economics of limitless growth.”

The conference continues in the decades-long tradition of church engagement with environmental issues. From at least the 1960s, churches in Europe have played a strong advocacy role in protecting open spaces, clean water and air, and endangered species. Much of this good work emerged from the grassroots level and is developing, especially in light of international climate change treaties such as the Paris Agreement. Through the activities of the conference, those gathered will develop a better understanding of the evolving relationship between faith communities and their activities in this area.
Highlights of the programme include an opening keynote by Professor Michael Northcott, “Earthy Time and Environmental Justice,” where he will present research findings from the ancestral time project on Scottish Ecocongregations. The conference will open a space for panel discussions and sharing of contributions addressing such diverse issues as divestment, care for creatures, and environmental leadership. Participants will also enjoy an immersion experience with Alan Werrity on the theme of “Deep Time and Sacred Space.” Werrity will guide a nature walk in the vicinity of the conference venue, including Edinburgh’s famed Arthur’s Seat.

For more about the Edinburgh gathering, please consult the conference website