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Comparing Religious Environmental Ethics to Support Efforts to Achieve Local and Global Sustainability: Empirical Insights Based on a Theoretical Framework

Dipartimento di Scienze per la Qualità della Vita, Università di Bologna, C.so d’Augusto 237, 47921 Rimini, Italy
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2590; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072590
Received: 7 February 2020 / Revised: 20 March 2020 / Accepted: 21 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethics and Sustainability)
This paper develops a theoretical framework to assess the feasibility of environmental sustainability solutions, at local and global levels, based on the religious environmental ethics of several key religions: Hinduism (including Jainism), Buddhism (including Confucianism and Daoism), Judaism, Christianity (Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Protestantism), and Islam. Solutions are defined in terms of consumption (measured by GDP), environment use (measured by the ecological footprint), and welfare for representative individuals. Empirical insights for alternative religious environmental ethics focus on the relative importance attached to the consumption of goods (α) vs. involvement in a (local/global) community, and on the importance attached to the environment within the (local/global) community (μ). In terms of feasibility for national environmental problems (i.e., pairs of α and μ achieving sustainability, in countries where the religion is a majority) and consistency (i.e., coherence with the religion’s precepts) of policies for national environmental problems: Hinduism=Buddhism>Islam>Judaism. Christianity produced no feasible solutions. In terms of effectiveness for global environmental problems (i.e., pairs of α and μ achieving global sustainability, if inequalities among nations are reduced in the future) and replicability for local environmental problems (i.e., pairs of α and μ achieving sustainability in countries where the religion is a minority): Hinduism=Buddhism>Judaism>Islam.
Keywords: environmental ethics; religion; sustainability; mathematical model; statistical analysis environmental ethics; religion; sustainability; mathematical model; statistical analysis
MDPI and ACS Style

Zagonari, F. Comparing Religious Environmental Ethics to Support Efforts to Achieve Local and Global Sustainability: Empirical Insights Based on a Theoretical Framework. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2590.

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