Why Climate Activism Resembles a Religious Movement…

Bhagwat, Shonil A; Economou, Anastasia and Thornton, Thomas F (2016). The Idea of Climate Change as a Belief System: Why Climate Activism Resembles a Religious Movement. GAIA – Ecological Perspectives for
Science and Society pp. 94–98.


The idea of climate change has been enforced by its similarities with belief systems. It may come
as a surprise to scientists, the media and climate activists participating in climate change discussions
that they are unconsciously following models rooted in belief systems. These models include an emphasis on existential anxiety and the public expression of commitments. The discussions around the severity of climate change and individual sacrifices through everyday moral choices, however, show that addressing climate change may require a shift of focus from political leadership to more grassroots activism.