@ -8,11 +8,14 @@ For the past two years, I've been synthesising and presenting my research into C
### First, the publications and a bit of summary:
In each case, I'd highly recommend that *you read the whole study (links below) but have included some summary here that might be helpful if you're not familiar with the various scholarly fields I'm engaging with:*
- Jeremy H. Kidwell, ["Mapping the Field of Religious Environmental Politics"](https://jeremykidwell.info/publication/2020_mapping_env_politics/) in *International Affairs*, Volume 96, Issue 2, March 2020, Pages 343–363, https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iiz255.
Much of my research work has involved engagement with executives of NGOs and charities as well as policymakers at various local and National levels. One result of this is that I've gotten to experience first-hand, some of the gaps in knowledge and stereotypes relating to religious environmental activism, particularly Christian earth care. In this article, I try to fill in the gap with a synthesis of my research with Christian activists around the structures of Christian environmentalism. In the article, I try to provide a map (policy folks and scholars love a good diagram!) of the various organisational spaces where action happens, and unpack some of the ways that those spaces inter-relate. In the article, I suggest that "effective high-level engagement with REMO (religious environmental movement organisation) groups will be greatly enhanced by a nuanced understanding of the many different shapes that these groups can take". In particular, I observe that religious leaders and laypeople at the grassroots are often working in relative independence from one another. This means that it isn't necessarily safe to assume that either can serve as a proxy for understanding the other. This is a particularly sharp problem give the ways that (usually white and male) religious leaders are drawn into policy discussions as representatives of their faith community. I also suggest that denominations are not necessarily the best unit to focus on to get a representative sample of difference within Christian environmentalism.
- Christopher D. Ives, Jeremy H. Kidwell, [“Religion and social values for sustainability”](https://jeremykidwell.info/publication/2019_religion_social_values/) in *Sustainability Science*, Volume 14, Feb 2019.
*You should read the whole study (link above!) but here's a quick summary that might be helpful if you're not familiar with the scholarly field we're interacting with:*
I've been delighted to take up a new research collaboration with Christopher D. Ives who has a tremendous level of experience within environmental sciences, particularly environmental management, but also an awareness of human geography. Chris and I are trying to identify what features are unique about religious environmentalism – particularly Christian environmentalism with which we're both most familiar – and then communicate that to a broader policy-focussed (and secular) scholarly audience across environmental and political science and probably also environmental economics. There is a lot of very important translation work that needs to be done - in many cases, neither policymakers, social scientists or Christians at the grassroots themselves have a clear sense of how their work is unique in comparison to other kinds of environmental movements. In this article, we survey the field of environmental values, where economists and environmental scientists have been attempting for several decades now, to crystallise how we might ascribe value to the natural world. You can see this in the development of an [ecosystem services](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem_services) model which crystallised in 2006 in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. This kind of model has proven very helpful in public policy circles in affirming the hidden and potentially quantifiable value of seemingly extravagant measures such as ecosystem conservation. However, it ends up being, in practice, quite difficult to make all the intangible aspects into tangible and quantifiable measurements. Environmental scientists are well aware of this and have been working to develop ever more sophisticated versions of value models, resulting in a recent boom in "cultural values" and "social values" and by extension, we argue, explicitly religious values. A blunt way to put this is that "theology matters" and "churches matter" when it comes to caring for the earth. We highlight a few specific ways this is the case in our article, particularly in providing persons and communities with a matrix for the upholding of altruistic values, which seems to be increasingly difficult in the contemporary public sphere, so all the more important when we can find places where this is the case. However, as I've already suggested, it's not just a matter of distilling all the components of theological understanding into a simplistic model. As we argue, "values are embedded" and not easily extracted from their contexts. Further, the mobilisation of Christian belief is also complex. Popular stereotypes suggest that when Christian leaders put out a public statement (whether this is the Pope or Billy Graham) their people just fall into line obediently. We take the example of Pope Francis' recent encyclical Laudato Sí to highlight ways that top-down dissemination doesn't always work in predictable ways, particularly in Christian church hierarchies. Finally, we highlight ways that theological worldviews are complex and layered. Our identities as people of faith draw on a number of different sources. We argue that if researchers are to engage with people of faith in a meaningful way, their methods will need to work on such a level which can capture the full web of values within a worldview and represent the significance of theology in the midst of it.