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Watershed Discipleship: Communicating Climate Change Within a Christian Framework: A Case Study Analysis

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Part of the Climate Change Management book series (CCM)

Abstract

Christians in the United States are perhaps better known as climate deniers than as environmentalists, and Western Christians bear the valid critique of Lynn White, Jr. (1967) regarding an unhealthy anthropocentrism and dualistic view of humanity over nature. A growing network of theologians, ministers, and lay people, however, is working to communicate a different narrative. The field of ecotheology has articulated an environmental ethic based on the Christian worldview. The challenge has been moving ecotheology out of the academy and into the values and behavior of the average Christian. The present study will be useful for those interested in communicating climate change to a Christian audience leading to pro-environmental behavior change. It surveys relevant literature regarding what does and does not work in communicating climate change to American Christians, then provides a case study of the communication strategies of six watershed discipleship practitioners who are reclaiming traditional ecological knowledge and themes of “creation care” within the Christian sacred text. Watershed discipleship communicates climate change utilizing the rhetoric and symbols of Christian tradition, and catalyzes pro-environmental behaviors at the individual, community, and ecosystem scale.

Keywords

  • Case study
  • Christian
  • Climate change
  • Communication
  • Creation care
  • Ecosystem services
  • Ecotheology
  • Environmental justice
  • Grounded theory
  • Liturgy
  • Place-based theology
  • Pro-environmental behavior change
  • Rhetoric
  • Social-ecological memory
  • Social-ecological systems
  • Symbolic action
  • Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK)
  • United States of America
  • Watershed discipleship

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Correspondence to Cherice Bock .

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Bock, C. (2018). Watershed Discipleship: Communicating Climate Change Within a Christian Framework: A Case Study Analysis. In: Leal Filho, W., Manolas, E., Azul, A., Azeiteiro, U., McGhie, H. (eds) Handbook of Climate Change Communication: Vol. 3. Climate Change Management. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-70479-1_10

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