Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

Environmental Theology–Byron Smith’s Contributions

I hope one day to write something significant concerning environmental theology and ethics.  In the meantime, Byron Smith, an Australian doing doctoral work in theology at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), has written some excellent series that you should read on his blog, Nothing New Under the Sun.  Each of the links below is to the first post in a series.  They are worth your time and attention.

Jesus and Climate Change

.Would Jesus Vote Green?

Peak Oil and the End of Suburbia

And these are single postings that should not be missed:

Corporate Growth: What is Wrong with the World?

Copenhagen and Climate Change: Hope and Hopelessness

What do we do with what we know? A story

Comments should be directed to Byron at his blog, of course. He blogs on much else that is worthwhile and I think it a public  service to make his blog known to any of my readers who haven’t discovered him.

February 23, 2010 - Posted by | blog, blog series, environmental ethics, environrnmental theology, ethics, theology


  1. Hey Michael,

    I’m doing research, trying to develop a prospectus, for a dissertation on Baptists and environmentalism. If you happen to know of any Baptists who have engaged this topic in a book, article, as an activist or through an organization, let me know. I’m especially interested in particular African-American Baptists involved in Environmental Justice. Trying to get annuals of the African-American denominations loaned to me. Not sure if Black Baptists as a whole every addressed environmental justice through their conventions.

    I’m going to the American Baptist Historical Society later this week to begin doing research on National Ministries/Home Mission Society, Jitsuo Morikawa and the Eco-Justice Working Group.

    I’ve also heard that Clarence Jordan has somewhere written about conservationism in the context of intentional community, etc. Will be looking into that.

    So, if you ever stumble onto the name of someone or a book, shoot me a message on my blog or facebook!

    Comment by BDW | February 23, 2010 | Reply

    • I only know of 2 Baptists in the U.S. who addressed this–both white. (The enviro-justice movement was started by UCC pastor, Ben Chavis. I’m sure he must have recruited some Black Baptist participation since Baptists are the largest group of African-American Protestants, but I don’t know any.) The first was Eric C. Rust, Nature: Garden or Desert? : An Essay in Environmental Theology (Waco: Word Books, 1971). Rust, as you probably know, was a former British Baptist theologian and philosopher who had degrees in science as well and who taught for decades at SBTS.

      The other was his colleague at SBTS, Henlee H. Barnette, The Church and the Ecological Crisis (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972). Barnette needs to be given credit for making “environmental stewardship” a widespread paradigm–inadequate and anthropocentric as we’d now say that is. Prior to Barnette, “stewardship” was used only of money matters in churches, not of care for the earth.

      More recently, Tony Campolo wrote a few works in environmental theology. And Glen Stassen and David Gushee have a chapter on it in Kingdom Ethics.

      Jordan was aware of ecological problems, and encouraged sound practices at Koinonia, but if he did anything more than that, I’m unaware of it.

      Al Gore, of course, is Baptist, but I don’t think we could say that “Earth in the Balance” or “An Inconvenient Truth” are works of theological ethics, much less environmental justice perspectives.

      I wish I could be of more help.

      Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Hi, I am from Melbourne.

    Please check out these 2 related references on the non-human inhabitants of this mostly non-human world. Altogether the author points out that we need to re-green the world. He also points out that what he calls the Green Domain was and is here first and that we have reached a potentially catastrophic environmental/ecological tipping point.



    Comment by John | February 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. Somehow, I missed this post until now. Thanks (belatedly!) for the kind words and links.

    Comment by Byron Smith | February 5, 2012 | Reply

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