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  • Discipline(s): Environmental Studies Religion
  • Available: Spring Semester 2025
  • Course Type: Standard Courses
  • Taught in: English
  • Course Fee: TBD
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Travel: No


Neto Leão, Ph.D.

ENV/REL 345: Spiritual Ecologies

Course Description

In this course, we will explore the influence of religious traditions on human interactions with the natural world, and conversely, on how the environment can shape religious beliefs. We will delve into how religions have influenced our perception and connection with other species and the level of care or indifference we exhibit towards the natural environment. The course will offer a concise overview of the teachings of prominent religions regarding nature, as well as an examination of contemporary discussions and scholarly research from the late 20th and 21st centuries. These discussions will focus on the role of religion in either contributing to the environmental crisis or providing potential solutions to it.
To comprehend the significance of religion in addressing and resolving environmental problems, this course examines the diverse religious interpretations of the environment, ecology, and nature. It explores the historical, cultural, and spiritual aspects of various belief-systems pertinent to the environment and evaluates the reactions of different religious communities to present-day environmental challenges. By examining religious worldviews, we may find a way to correct the disenchantment and commodification of nature, viewing it instead as a source of inspiration and reverence.


Learning Outcomes and Assessment Measures 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. understand how religious beliefs and practices contribute (positively, negatively, or neutrally) to society’s relationship with its ecological niche. To what extent are they likely to be “complicit” in or “responsible” for environmental crises?;
  2.  deepen the answers to “what religion is” and how it has changed in today’s globalized world;
  3. compare religious beliefs and practices that can offer alternatives to today’s environmental problems; 
  4. explore the ways in which different religious groups deal with environmental issues today;
  5. analyse how the environmental movement itself can be considered a religious movement.


Course Materials

All readings will be linked through Umbra’s Learning Management Syst

Course Fee