Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

Kurk Dorsey


The Evangelical Climate Initiative (ECI) argues that climate change is real and human-induced and represents a moral challenge for Christians to which an urgent response is required. The ECI demonstrates that there is common ground between conservatism and environmentalism. The actions of the ECI fit within an "environmental conservatism" whose elements have historical precedence. We find the seeds of parallel ideas in the writings of the Southern Agrarians in the 1920s and 1930s---ideas that were brought to full flower by Richard Weaver, an important figure in the development of a post-World War II traditional conservatism. We also find a similar environmental conservatism in the ideas of Aldo Leopold, a leader of the wilderness preservation movement and conservationist whose ideas influenced the modern environmental movement. These ideas together form a framework of thought that anticipates the ECI and other conservative expressions of concern about the environment.