Publication Date

2009

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Larissa Snorek-Yates

Abstract

This capstone examines how the motivations and lifestyles of conservative Christians (CCs) who embrace green living can be used to heal the cultural divide in the U.S. Based on an extensive literature review and in-depth interviews with members of an evangelical Christian fellowship in southeastern Connecticut, this paper investigates the green attitudes and behaviors adopted by CCs, their motivations, and how they experience the mainstream environmental movement. Phenomenological analysis reveals that neither the Christian faith nor conservatism predisposes a person from exhibiting environmental concern or action. In fact, both encourage responsible stewardship of the Earth, as is reflected in the participants’ lives. Motivations vary, but access to information has a significant influence on behavior. In a time where issues are highly politicized, CCs may be offended by or wish to keep their distance from a liberal Democratic movement. Environmental messages are most effective if presented in a way that demonstrates rigorous, thorough research, and is respectful enough to leave room for individuals to draw their own conclusions. CCs want to know how an individual can do their part, believe that advocacy belongs in the context of established relationships and, above all, that a person’s lifestyle must reflect their personal beliefs.

Disciplines

Sociology of Culture

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