Special Issue "Religion and Planetary Climate Crisis"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 May 2023 | Viewed by 602

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Todd Jared LeVasseur
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Environmental Studies Program, Yale National University Singapore College, Singapore 138527, Singapore
2. Environmental and Sustainability Studies, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC 29424, USA
Interests: religion and nature/ecology; religion and (sustainable) agriculture/food; climate change; animal ethics; environmental ethics; critical race theory; environmental justice; sustainability and resilience

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to contribute to a Special Issue with the theme of Religion and Planetary Climate Crisis, where this crisis is understood to be biogeochemical, especially in geological time frames, but also political, economic, technological, ethical, and therefore, biocultural.  This opens up the need for humanities scholars to rapidly address rapid global heating in their research and teaching, and thus, the requirement for the field of religious studies/theology to rapidly do the same.

No religious production has ever happened on a planet with 420+ ppm CO2, such that rapid climate change is the evolutionary and biogeochemical carrier within which all future religious production will by definition occur (LeVasseur 2021a).  Therefore, this Special Issue aims to look at how theology may be responding to imminent climate regime shifts; how the sociology of religion may inform readers on how human groups are (or are not) using religion to organize around climate change; to investigate how religious actors are influencing cultural and social discourses around rapid climate change and “dwelling” (Ingold 2022) practices within shifting bioecologies of place (Haberman et al. 2021); how concepts of religious health within religious communities may (or may not) be responding to the negative health impacts of runaway climate change; and how religious ethics may (or may not) be changing to address the normative elements of runaway climate chaos.

Possible themes and article submissions, whether written alone or with co-authors, may address any of the following topics:

  • Offering a 25-year retrospective on David Loy’s 1997 Religion of the Market article, written in the context of rapid global heating events as witnessed in 2022 across Europe, China, Pakistan, and the US;
  • Analyzing the April, 2022 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change both as a dark green religious text (Taylor 2009); and/or the implications of the report, for future religious production, including especially its recognition of the role of colonialism in creating the climate crisis;
  • Reflecting on the failure, to date, of religious studies to engage seriously with the more-than-human world outside of a few subgroups within the field (LeVasseur 2021a, 2021b) and the normative implications of what climate change and possible collapse may mean to the teaching of religion (LeVasseur 2021c), and to questions of being human, broadly (Wirzba 2021);
  • Conducting biographies of climate change activists, to explore the religio-affective-ethical reasons for such activism (Witt 2016), including in multispecies and posthuman material spaces (Bray, Eaton et al. 2023; LeVasseur 2021a; Bird Rose et al. 2017) and with a focus on minoritized (Harris 2017) and Global South (Spivak 1988) activist voices;
  • Analyzing the role energy has and will continue to play in the formation of religion (LeVasseur 2021a; Berry 2022; Jones 2016), as well as geoengineering responses to energy/climate issues (Clingerman 2014);
  • Theorizing, or generating ethnographic or textual data, on how rapid climate changes are influencing apocalyptic imaginings (Globus Veldman 2012; Keller 2021);
  • Using an adaptive resilience lens (Sundstrom and Allen 2019) to see how religion may function as an adaptive or maladaptive presence (Rappaport 1999; Lansing 2007) at ecosystem-levels, especially within future climate regimes that will be much hotter and drier than those that existed in the now-past Holocene. 

I  look forward to receiving your contributions.


Berry, Evan, ed. 2022. Climate Politics and the Power of Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Bird Rose, Deborah et al. 2017. Extinction Studies: Stories of Time, Death, and Generations. New York: Columbia University Press.

Bray, Karen, Heather Eaton et al. 2023. Earthly Things: Immanence, New Materialisms, and Planetary Thinking.  New York: Fordham University Press.

Clingerman, Forrest. 2014. “Geoengineering, Theology, and the Meaning of Being Human.” Zygon. 49.1: 6-21.

Globus Veldman, Robin. 2012. “Narrating the Environmental Apocalypse: How Imagining the End Facilitates Moral Reasoning Among Environmental Activists.” Ethics & the Environment 17.1: 1-23. 

Haberman, David, ed. 2021. Understanding Climate Change Through Religious Lifeworlds. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press.

Harris, Melanie, ed. 2017. Ecowomanism, Religion and Ecology. Leiden: BRILL.

Ingold, Tim. 2022. The Perception of the Environment: Essays on Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. New York: Routledge.

Jones, Christopher. 2016. “Petromyopia: Oil and the Energy Humanities.” Humanities 5.36.

Keller, Catherine. 2021. Facing Apocalypse: Climate, Democracy, and Other Last Chances. Maryknoll: Orbis Books.

Lansing, Stephen. 2007. Priests and Programmers: Technologies of Power in the Engineered Landscape of Bali. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

LeVasseur, Todd. 2021a. Climate Change, Religion, and our Bodily Future. New York: Lexington Books.

LeVasseur, Todd. 2021b. https://religiondispatches.org/dispatches-from-the-rhodian-shore-a-tough-love-letter-to-religious-studies/.

LeVasseur, Todd. 2021c. “Activism, Religious Studies, and Embodied Teaching.” Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 25.1: 1-16.

Loy, David. 1997. “The Religion of the Market.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 65.2: 275-290.

Rappaport, Roy. 1999. Ritual and Religion in the Making of Humanity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1998. “Can the Subaltern Speak?” In Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, eds. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. London: Macmillan: 24-28.

Sundstrom, Shana and Craig Allen. 2019. “The Adaptive Cycle: More Than a Metaphor.” Ecological Complexity 39. 

Taylor, Bron. 2009. Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wirzba, Norman. 2021. This Sacred Life: Humanity’s Place in a Wounded World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Witt, Joseph. 2016. Religion and Resistance in Appalachia: Faith and the Fight Against Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.


Dr. Todd Jared LeVasseur
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • climate change
  • activism
  • collapse
  • religion
  • ethics
  • resilience
  • adaptation
  • global warming
  • theology

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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