Population, Consumption, and the Environment

Religious and Secular Responses

Edited by Harold Coward

Subjects: Religion, Environmental Studies, Comparative Religion
Paperback : 9780791426722, 328 pages, November 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426715, 328 pages, November 1995

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents


1. Introduction

Harold Coward

Part I: Baseline Analysis

2. The Natural Background

F. Kenneth Hare

3. The Human Context

Anne Whyte

Part II: Religious Responses

4. Aboriginal Spirituality, Population, and the Environment

Daisy Sewid-Smith

5. Judaism, Population, and the Environment

Sharon Joseph Levy

6. A Christian Response to the Population Apocalypse

Catherine Keller

7. Islam, Population, and the Environment: A Textual and Juristic View

Nawal H. Ammar

8. Hinduism, Population, and the Environment

Klaus K. Klostermaier

9. Buddhist Resources for Issues of Population, Consumption, and the Environment

Rita M. Gross

10. Chinese Religions, Population, and the Environment

Jordan Paper and Li Chuang Paper

Part III: Secular Responses

11. Prescriptions from Religious and Secular Ethics for Breaking the Impoverishment/Environmental Degradation Cycle

Michael McDonald

12. Projected Population Patterns, North-South Relations, and the Environment

Mahendra K. Premi

13. Environmental Degradation and the Religion of the Market

A. Rodney Dobell

14. Ethics, Family Planning, Status of Women, and the Environment

Jael M. Silliman

15. International Law, Population Pressure, and the Environment

Elizabeth A. Adjin-Tettey

16. The Northern Consumption Issue after Rio and the Role of Religion and Environmentalism

Yuichi Inoue

Part IV: Conclusions

17. Conclusions and Recommendations

Harold Coward

About the Contributors


Shows how the major world religions view the environmental problems of over population and excess resource consumption, and how they approach possible solutions.


This book concentrates on the different ways in which the major world religions view the problems of overpopulation and excess resource consumption and how they approach possible solutions. After examining the natural background and the human context, the book moves on to consider both religious and secular approaches.

It analyzes how a particular religion's scriptures comment on the nature of people, the environment, people's place in the environment, and their roles and responsibilities. The historical dimension is derived from reviewing a particular religion's record in teaching about these issues, often demonstrating how broader issues are addressed. Practical lessons are learned from religious guidelines that deal with current problems and offer solutions.

The authors consider Aboriginal spirituality, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Chinese religions. The secular approaches include secular ethics, North-South relations, market forces, the status of women, and international law.

Harold Coward is Director of the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University of Victoria. He is the author of Derrida and Indian Philosophy and Jung and Eastern Thought; editor of Modern Indian Responses to Religious Pluralism; and co-editor of Derrida and Negative Theology and Hindu Ethics: Purity, Abortion, and Euthanasia, all published by SUNY Press.