EdenKeeper seeks to foster communication and connection between religious/spiritual people and the environment.


EdenKeeper is the result of an experience I had ten years ago as a lobbyist for forest protection in the South.

I was hired by a nonprofit to stop President George W. Bush from rolling back the Roadless Rule — a rule designed to conserve pristine forests and grasslands from logging and road construction. I traveled to New Orleans with idealism and a very, very, very small salary. My plan was to form a coalition of environmentalists, students, hunters, and religious organizations. Together we would have the strength to get politicians to uphold the Roadless Rule.

But I was surprised and disappointed when the only religious organization to return my calls was the Unitarian Church. My calls to other churches went unanswered. They wanted nothing to do with me even though I was only advocating for environmental stewardship.

This experience prompted me to do some research. Was it wrong for me to think Christian religious groups in the South would care about forests? Was I missing something?

It turns out that the connection between environmentalism and spirituality is more complicated than I realized.

There are plenty of religious groups like Alliance of Religions and Conservation and the Regeneration Project that work to deepen the religious connection with the environment. Evangelicals are speaking out about climate change. Pope Francis urged Brazilians to treat the Amazon with respect and protection and asked priests to drive humble carsThe Eco Muslim is a wonderful site full of resources connecting Islam to environmentalism. Vandana Shiva relies on Hinduism to explain why globalization and GMO foods are bad. And Rabbi Ellen Bernstein helped pioneer Jewish environmentalism in the United States.

People are using art, literature, and film to examine and glorify nature. New discoveries in science are only making creation appear more amazing. Through my research I’ve only seen how much the environment/nature means to people regardless of political affiliation or background.

But there still remains a disconnect. Leaders of the religious right like Ted Cruz, Michele Bachman, and Rick Perry, have dismal environmental records. Religious, conservative groups like the Cornwall Alliance, are outspoken climate denialists. People often think of the environment in terms of economics or politics, instead of spirituality. And if they do think about environmental spirituality, they think that environmentalists all worship nature instead of just wanting to protect it for their kids.

But there doesn’t need to be a disconnect. I believe information and communication is all we need to facilitate a relationship between religious/spiritual people and people who care about the environment. We all want a healthy family, clean water and air, beautiful forests and beaches to admire, and money in our pocket. And I think that we all believe that with the right values we can attain everything we want.

Our love for the environment — Mother Nature, God’s Creation, our Sacred Land — is an important value for us all to remember.

Keep up to date with all the eco-spirituality news here on EdenKeeper. Subscribe to our newsletter to never miss a story.

  • GLad to have found your site. As an Orthodox Christian, all created matter is deeply sacred. God’s fingerprint is everywhere. Fortunately we have a rich and thriving monastic community worldwide in league with this truth (see the 60 Minutes special from a few years ago on Mt. Athos, to see what the monks have to say) and several activist bishops and hierarchs. I hope to inspire laypeople in my church to “go green” locally this year.

    Another tack to reach people is to connect the environment to the economy. Hasn’t anyone calculated the economic cost of climate change (and thus the cost of climate change denial)? This calculation should be updated annually.

    I was blessed to be able to hear the venerable Sen. Gaylord Nelson speak to a small luncheon gathering hosted by a local environmental center, about a year before his death. I’ll never forget his state: “The entire human economy is a wholely-owned subsidiary of the environment.” From clean water to oxygen through photosynthesis to fertile arable land, there is no human activity that can ever hope to replicate what God’s living green earth does to support life. This planet and the amazing intricacies of life, all genetically connected to one another, is a great gift which we either protect and pass along or steal from our children.

  • Thank you so much for your comment Laurel! I have been so impressed by the environmental commitment inherent in the Orthodox faith. The Church’s fight against the Pebble Mine in Alaska is truly remarkable.

    I agree that the rhetoric needs to change to discuss both our religious responsibility for creation, as well as the economic benefits of environmental reform. In fact, I just wrote an article about this: “How To Talk To a Conservative About the Environment.” Right now it seems that environmentalists are just preaching to the converted.

    Please keep me informed of your efforts to help the laypeople in your church go green. It’s very important work and the planet thanks you for doing it!

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