American environmentalism historically has been associated with the interests of white elites. Yet religious leaders in the twenty-first century have helped instill concern about the earth among groups diverse in religion, race, ethnicity, and class. How did that happen and what are the implications? Building on scholarship that provides theological and ethical resources to support the “greening” of religion, God and the Green Divide examines religious environmentalism as it actually happens in the daily lives of urban Americans. Baugh demonstrates how complex dynamics related to race, ethnicity, and class factor into decisions to “go green.” By carefully examining negotiations of racial and ethnic identities as central to the history of religious environmentalism, this work complicates assumptions that religious environmentalism is a direct expression of theology, ethics, or religious beliefs.
Amanda J. Baugh is Assistant Professor of Religion and Environment at California State University, Northridge.
"Baugh convincingly argues that scholars have ignored how theology and ethics on earth stewardship play out in people’s lives by sensitively mapping the various ways in which dynamics of race, class, and religion are expressed on the urban streets of Chicago. A long overdue and welcome addition that seeks to shift the discussion to grassroots expressions of environmentalism in urban contexts."—Sarah M. Pike, author of Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves: Contemporary Pagans and the Search for Community
"God and the Green Divide is a major contribution that explains the racial dynamics of religious environmentalism by focusing on a specific Chicago organization. The result is an insightful analysis that unearths the intersection of religion, race, and environmentalism."—Sylvester Johnson, author of African American Religions, 1500–2000: Colonialism, Democracy, and Freedom