The combined contributions of science and religion to resolving environmental problems are far greater than each could offer working in isolation. Scientific findings are central to understanding the impact of human populations on the environment, but a more ecologically sustainable future will require radical changes in values, lifestyle choices, and consumption patterns -- a revolution that falls squarely within the domain of the religious community.Consumption, Population, and Sustainability is an outgrowth of a conference sponsored jointly by the Boston Theological Institute and the American Association for the Advancement of Science that brought together more than 250 scientists and people of religious faith to discuss the environmental impact of consumption patterns and population trends, and to consider alternative and more equitable value systems, economic arrangements, and technologies that will be necessary for achieving a more sustainable future. The book: provides a brief history of the dialogue between science and religion on environmental issues outlines potential contributions of the religious community to the debate about global sustainability offers a science-based assessment of issues such as carrying capacity, sustainability indicators, and the environmental impacts of consumer-based lifestyles considers religious and theological perspectives on consumption and population from a variety of viewpoints including Roman Catholic, Jewish, Greek Orthodox, and Islamic examines the ethical and policy dimensions of reorienting today's consumer society to one more focused on values, spiritual growth, and relationships.Both the scientific and religious communities can makeimportant contributions to understanding and responding to the impact of population growth and consumption patterns on environmental sustainability. This volume represents a significant step in establishing an ongoing dialogue between the communities, and provides a thought-provoking overview of the issues for scientists, theologians, and anyone concerned with the future of global sustainability.
Audrey R. Chapman, a social scientist and religious ethicist, directs the Program of Dialogue Between Science and Religion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C.