What spiritual or religious values and traditions underscore concern for environmental
health? Discuss the role of spiritual or faith-based institutions in environmental
stewardship. How have these spiritual or ministerial efforts supported local public health
initiatives? What collaborative efforts have been made in environmental health, both
locally and globally, with regard to spiritual or faith-based collaboration?
Religious values and environmental Health
Almost all religious traditions in the world perceive environmental elements such as
Rivers Mountains and forests as sacred. Notably, modern conservative groups have begun to use
religious and spiritual believes to address the problems of environmental stability. It is thought
that integrating religious values such as purity and holiness with environmental sustainability
will make people more concerned about their ecosystem. Indeed, many people respect their
religious beliefs and hence would respect the environment if it is made part of their religious
values. Many scholars have evidenced this claim by pointing out to the river Ganges in India
which is now respected as a sacred sight (Levin, 2016). Though the environmental risk is a
complex process, there is evidence that perceiving the environment as sacred will lead to
A religious organization should lead the environmental conservative movement. Many
people put their faith and trust their religious leaders and hence would do anything as long as
their spiritual leader approves. Thus, the role of these institutions is to integrate religious
teachings with environmental sustainability. This way, their followers will perceive the
environment as sacred and thus work towards eliminating pollution (Levin, 2014). For instance,
RELIGIOUS VALUES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH 2
the bible states that God is holy and thus we also should be holy to receive his favor. Such verses
can be used to emphasize people on the needs of a clean environment.
In the past, the UN environment has collaborated with various religious institutions to
promote environmental health. In fact collaboration between medical sectors and spiritual-based
institutions has existed for centuries. Such efforts can be evidence in the promotion of the
Ganges River which has been polluted for more than 500 years. The river is thought to cleanse
the souls of Hindu believers and is named after the Indian goddess Ganges. Health institutions
and religious entities have collaborated for decades to prevent the pollution of this holy river.
Such efforts have been fruitful and have contributed to the cleaning of the river.
RELIGIOUS VALUES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH 3
Levin, J. (2014). Faith-based partnerships for population health: challenges, initiatives, and
prospects. Public Health Reports, 129(2), 127-131.
Levin, J. (2016). Partnerships between the faith-based and medical sectors: implications for
preventive medicine and public health. Preventive medicine reports, 4, 344-350.