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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Religion and the Environment

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May 20, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Religion and the Environment

Books about environmentalism

Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about the cross-section of religion and ecology.

Earth Gospel: A Guide to Prayer for God’s Creation (by Sam Hamilton-Poore, $18, Upper Room Books, 2008): A day-by-day, week-by-week guide to praying for the Earth, this Christian book offers hundreds of peace-inducing hymns, reflections, and blessings, from scripture and by luminaries such as Mother Teresa, John Muir, and Catherine of Siena to praise and protect what the author calls “the creation that God loves.”

God in the Wilderness: Rediscovering the Spirituality of the Great Outdoors with the Adventure Rabbi (by Rabbi Jamie S. Korngold, $12, Doubleday, 2008): The author wisely opens with Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth,” reminding her mostly Jewish readers that the very first sentence of Judeo-Christian scripture identifies the earth as god’s creation and that nature is, as she puts it, “where our religion was created.” The rest of the book, written in easy-to-read first-person, interprets pieces of the Old Testament while interspersing stories of the outdoors and tips for treating the planet better.

The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-First Century (by Thomas Berry, $23, Columbia University Press, Sept. 2009): Though written by a Catholic priest, this sophisticated and wide-spanning book should appeal to anyone interested in an intellectual discussion of general spirituality and how it applies to how we relate to the natural world.

What Would the Buddha Recycle? The Zen of Green Living (by Rosemary Roberts, $12, Adams Media, 2009): This chatty little volume addresses consumer choices as seen through the prism of Buddhist beliefs. Though it’s written a bit more on the trendy, pop-culture (as opposed to the spiritual) side of things, the author does invoke, among others, the principles of karma, right action, and negative energy when recommending practical green-living tips like how to clean green and eat ethically.

--Avital Binshtock

Tell us: What books do you recommend that are about religion and the environment?

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