Amy Erica Smith F'19

Amy Erica Smith
Associate Professor
Political Science
Iowa State University
last updated: 10/1/2019

Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs 2019
Associate Professor
Political Science
Iowa State University
Religion and Climate Change in Brazil: The Deluge and the Desert

Two parallel trends are transforming the developing world: climate change and the growing demographic importance of Pentecostalism and conservative Protestantism. As environmental degradation reshapes the physical environments in which humans live, citizens interpret the changes and respond through frames shaped by their religious communities. Focusing on a Brazilian case study, this project demonstrates the diverse ways religion molds citizens’ explanations of and responses to climate change. Contrary to theories focusing on developed countries such as the United States, Brazilian evangelicals and Catholics tend to interpret religious doctrine in ways that promote environmental concern. However, religious institutions vary greatly in the extent to which they take action based on their environmental theologies. Through print journalism, this project will leverage current connections with reporters in the United States and Brazil, while connecting with current climate change communication efforts to promote a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between religion and the environment.