Does Secularism Impede a Religious Contribution to Climate Change Policy Making?

By Angela J. Thomson.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Unification and solidarity within all sectors of a globalised society is extremely important when it comes to such matters as accessing solutions to climate change. Economic, scientific, and technological discussions are important, but they are not the only factors to consider. An ethical perspective is also necessary, and one that must be addressed with as much dynamism and deference as other components at the negotiating table. As the world’s religious faiths may be envisaged as treasure troves of wisdom in which common ethical principles may be garnered, it makes sense to utilise this wisdom in our search for a better world for this and future generations. The aim of this paper, therefore, is to analyse the relationship between religion and law, and to decide whether, in important social issues such as climate change, they should and/or could unite.

Keywords: Secularism, Secularisation, Law, Religion, Climate Change, Policy, Church and State

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.51-72. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 327.161KB).

Angela J. Thomson

PhD Candidate in International Environmental Law, Faculty of Law, University of Auckland, Auckland, North Island, New Zealand

I graduated from the University of Auckland in 2008 with a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and a Master of Laws (LLM, Hons) in 2009. I was admitted to the Bar in 2009. I am currently a PhD candidate within the Law Faculty of the University of Auckland. My research interests lie within the area of the ethical and international dimensions of environmental law. I am particularly interested in how ethical considerations may be integrated into legal principles in the area of climate change law. I believe global society requires new, ethical values that aim to create a more just, healthy and equitable world for present and future generations. Religion can help to strengthen the ethical framework for action on climate change, as it can educate about values and global responsibility, create motivation for change, and encourage the necessary sacrifices to enact those changes.