Bron Taylor

Bron Taylor- Professor of Religion at The University of Florida and an Affiliated Scholar with the Center for Environment and Development at Oslo University. He is one of the world’s leading scholars focusing on the complex relationships between the diverse environments people inhabit and their religious beliefs and practices, and he focuses especially on environmental values and the quest for environmental sustainability. Editor of the award-winning Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, founding President of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, editor of its affiliated quarterly Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture. His most recent book, upon which he draws for this presentation, is Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future (University of California Press, 2010). For further information about his research, initiatives, and teaching see http://www.brontaylor.com.

Title of UFCSH talk: “Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future”
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Weaving sound, images, moving pictures, narrative, and analysis, including of the motion picture Avatar, which serves as an important recent example, this presentation explores “dark green religion.” This is the name professor Taylor invented in his recently published book to describe individuals and groups that consider nature to be sacred and intrinsically valuable, and that are based, in part, on an evolutionary/ecological understanding that everything is interconnected and mutually dependent.  Those with affinity for such spirituality generally also have animistic and/or pantheistic perceptions, strong feelings of belonging to nature, and felt kinship with other organisms grounded in an understanding that all life shares a common ancestor.  From such perceptions and feelings flow a conviction that our species should treat all other life forms with reverence and defend the earth’s bio-cultural diversity.

Taylor provides examples of individuals (including artists, scientists, filmmakers, photographers, surfers, and environmental activists), and institutions (including museums, schools, and the United Nations), which are promoting such spirituality.  Dark green religion is spreading rapidly around the world and is becoming increasingly influential in both local and international environmental politics, Taylor contends, and it is also influencing the world’s predominant religions and becoming an important part of the religious landscape. The presentation and discussion will provide an opportunity to consider whether dark green religion will decisively shape the future of religion and planet Earth, promoting the health and well being of all living things, or if such religion is actually politically, spiritually, and morally perilous.