The religio-spiritual and sacred dimensions of climate-induced conflicts: A research agenda

Joram Tarusarira, Damaris Parsitau

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    This chapter charts a research agenda that transcends established perspectives of responding to climate-related conflicts by arguing for the interrogation of how religion, spirituality, and the sacred influence violence and conflicts that are induced by climate change. In what follows, we first discuss the relationship between climate change and violence. We then consider the current scholarly, practical, and policy responses, and the place of religion in them, before pointing out the lacunae in the existing literature, as well as in practical and policy responses. After exposing these gaps and their scholarly and practical implications, we bring religion, spirituality, and the sacred into the discourse on climate change and violent conflict. To ground our discussion, we focus on African indigenous communities, especially the Shona in Zimbabwe, and their sacred relationship with their natural environment to distil the cognitive, emotional, and moral meanings that emerge from that relationship and show how they mediate climate-related conflicts. Drawing on our findings, we conclude by re-stating the need for a research agenda that critically considers how religion and spirituality or any similar phenomena, such as traditional knowledge of ecological systems, mediate climate-induced conflicts. We argue that marginalizing the influence of religious, cultural, spiritual, and moral orders not only results in a failure to comprehend why some climate-induced conflicts become intense, impassioned, and intractable, it also hinders the development of locally grounded sustainable peace-building and conflict transformation strategies. This chapter contributes to advancing SDG13: Take urgent action to combat climate and its impacts. We argue that addressing SDG 13 should not only be about mitigation and adaptation, but also about the consequences such as climate-induced conflicts when climate change exceeds adaptive capacities of the communities.
    Originele taal-2English
    TitelAfrican Perspectives on Religion and Climate Change
    RedacteurenEzra Chitando, Ernst M Conradie, Susan M Kilonzo
    Plaats van productieLondon
    Aantal pagina's17
    ISBN van geprinte versie9780367616076, 9781003147909
    StatusPublished - 2022

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