Religion and Science

Preaching to the Choir: Trees and Spirituality 

Over 80% of humans on Earth identify themselves as being religious or spiritual, a far greater proportion than those who consider themselves as scientists or conservationists. One avenue to promote science and conservation is to link the ecological values of nature and the spiritual and religious values of nature. Nalini approached churches, synagogues, and temples with the offer to provide a guest sermon on the topic of trees and spirituality. She emphasized both the universal spiritual symbolism of trees and the ways that trees and forests are portrayed in the sacred writings of particular religions.
religion and science
science and religion

Since 2004, I have given over 35 talks in places of worship of many faiths, and have been able to insert conservation and ecological messages with the spiritual discourse. Contrary to my preconceptions, I learned that audiences in places of worship are receptive to sustainable stewardship of the environment. Using a spiritual perspective to gain access to the many people who practice formal religion is a powerful tool that could be used by the scientific and conservation communities.

Nalini Nadkarni is profiled on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for her long-time public engagement work to find common ground between science, conservation, and faith-based communities. You can find her profile here.

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