Handbook of Research on Development and Religion
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Handbook of Research on Development and Religion

Edited by Matthew Clarke

With eighty percent of the world’s population professing religious faith, religious belief is a common human characteristic. This fascinating and highly unique Handbook brings together state-of-the-art research on incorporating religion into development studies.
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Chapter 13: Moral power at the religion–development–environment nexus

Cynthia Moe-Lobeda and Frederica Helmiere


To the Catholic Maryknoll sisters of Northern Luzon, in the Philippines, the connection between religion and ecology is robust, self-evident, and urgent. Situated outside of smog-ridden Baguio City, the sisters have witnessed the environmental degradation of the city resulting from urban and economic development. Their response? Convert the convent school into a center for alternative environmental education, start a biodynamic garden, create the ‘Stations of the Earth’ and reconnect local Filipinos and visitors with an earth-centered spirituality. The Maryknoll sisters exemplify an emerging nexus between development, religion, and the environmental dimensions of development theory and practice. But how exactly is it that these three fields speak to one another? And why might development studies require a deeper understanding of religion’s intersection with environmental concerns? The questions lead into confounding, uncharted, and shifting terrain.

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