The temptation of proposing a solution

As a recap, I’m writing about the link between climate change and Judeochristian religions. Specifically, I want to figure out if any human-centric school of thought can truly align with an environmental mindset.

One of the first pieces I read on this topic is called “Environmental Theology – A Judeo-Christian Defense.” Written by scholar P.J Hill, this piece, like many others I’ve read, takes a strong stance and is solution-oriented. Hill argues that the anthropocentric (human-centric) nature of Judeochristian theology is in fact useful for tackling climate change. His main point is that climate change is a human problem, and thus demands a human solution; we need uniquely human voices to advocate for uniquely human policies that operate within our societal structures.

I appreciate Hill’s focus on practicality – i.e, if we want to make actual progress, here’s what we need to do – but it’s made me wonder how solution-oriented I want my piece to be. My original plan was to focus more on the fundamentals (what about the Old Testament/Torah is anthropocentric, and philosophically, what that means for environmental action). However, I’m realizing much of what informs religious people’s actions is not the text itself, but the personal biases and political beliefs that influence their textual interpretations. I’m not sure operating exclusively on a fundamental level will be useful; I need to think about how these mindsets can translate into climate action, and how religious people can “reconcile” their faith with their views on climate change. There’s something inherently solution-oriented about my project.

So, how far into the solution do I want to go? I’m not approaching this on the defensive, like Hill does; I’m more of an observer. But I do need to keep parts of my project very tangible and action-based because that’s the nature of the issue. I’m feeling very conflicted about how to approach this. My plan is to begin by comparing and contrasting different “calls to action” – like Hill’s. Perhaps by critiquing a few ideas, I’ll be able to ask of myself and readers, where do we go from here?

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