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It’s not hard to understand that Americans’ opinions regarding climate change and the environment are as vast as their religious beliefs, or lack thereof, in some cases. So, how do religion and the environment intersect, in terms of Americans’ beliefs? Well, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center (PRC), results vary; many United States citizens who are Christians promote responsibility for the Earth and all its inhabitants, although there are quite a few in the faith who also exhibit Climate change skepticism.
The PRC surveyed 10,156 American adults in April of 2022, and the survey was aimed at being representative of all ethnicities, genders, political affiliations, races, religious affiliations, and more. The questions asked of the participants were varied, and one such question asked individuals how big of a problem they believed “global climate change” to be; 31% saw this as an “extremely serious problem,” 26% saw it as “very serious,” 22% saw it as “somewhat serious,” 13% saw it as “not too serious,” and 8% saw it as “not a problem.” Also, 53% of participants agreed that the Earth is getting warmer [primarily] as a result of “human activity such as burning fossil fuels,” although only 17% said that conserving energy is “extremely important.”
In addition, among those surveyed, 36% claimed to be “somewhat religious” and a whopping 90% say they believe in God or in some sort of higher power. And, according to the PRC’s report, those with the highest religious commitments completely or mostly agree that God provided humans with a duty to care for and protect the Earth. Overall all, though, extremely devout individuals are less likely to be concerned with Climate change than their less religious counterparts, mainly because these devout people are more closely aligned with the Republican Party — the party that is replete with Climate change skeptics and all-out deniers.
The most religious among those who were surveyed seem to think that there are bigger problems in our world today and that God will take care of Climate change. Also, super-religious Americans have concerns about “the potential consequences of environmental regulations,” which could include fewer jobs, higher energy prices, and the loss of individual freedoms. There has long been a noticeable connection between environmentalism and religion, which some individuals and projects have studied in great detail. One such project, the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, was founded in 1998. Their mission is to “inform and inspire people to preserve, protect, and restore the Earth community,” by identifying the ecological perspectives inherent in various faiths’ contemplative practices, rituals, and scriptures. As a result, they aim to “cultivate dialogue” in these spiritual/religious communities and to partner with scientists experienced in Climate change.
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