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Reshaping the worldview: case studies of faith groups’ approaches to a new Australian land ethic
chapterposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Justin LawsonJustin Lawson, Kelly MillerKelly Miller, Geoffrey WescottGeoffrey Wescott
This study aimed to highlight the praxis of various mainstream and alternative faith traditions in Australia with relation to environmental sustainability issues. A mixed methods approach (surveys, interviews, site visits) was used to investigate the levels of awareness and involvement of faith communities on issues including biodiversity protection, water conservation, energy efficiency, waste management and cultural property heritage. The aim of this chapter is to highlight a theme of integration (or lack thereof) that arose out of the interviews which formed a critical part of the participants’ worldview. A brief overview of the relationships of attitudes and behaviours to environmental issues and the importance placed on values and worldviews is provided. Individuals from 40 faith groups participated in the study; in this chapter, individuals and case studies from ten different groups are highlighted. These range from the conventional, mainstream Christian traditions to alternative Christian and Eastern traditions as well as the new age movement. The study found that mainstream traditions were making important attempts at integrating their worldview into appropriate environmental management strategies; however, the impact was marginal overall. The lesser known and alternative traditions, however, were at a significant leading edge of integrating praxis; yet, because these traditions are viewed with an element of suspicion, their efforts were marginalized by members of other faiths and the public. Thus, there are several points of convergence and divergence that faith traditions have with regard to environmental sustainability.