What he discovered, in trying to sketch the first principles of prophecy, was the religious nature of modern environmentalism.
This is not to say that fearing for the future of the planet is irrational in the way supernatural belief arguably is, just that in its myths of the Fall and the Apocalypse, its saints and heretics, its iconography and tithing, its reliance on prophecy, even its schisms the green movement now exhibits the same psychology of compliance as religion.
Dr. Orrell is no climate-change denier. He calls himself green. But he understands the unjustified faith that arises from the psychological need tomake predictions.
The track record of any kind of long-distance prediction is really bad, but everyones still really interested in it. Its sort of a way of picturing the future. But we cant make long-term predictions of the economy, and we cant make long-term predictions of the climate, Dr. Orrell said in an interview. After all, he said, scientists cannot even write the equation of a cloud, let alone make a workable model of the climate.
Formerly of University College London, Dr. Orrell is best known among scientists for arguing that the failures of weather forecasting are not due to chaotic effects as in the butterfly that causes the hurricane but to errors of modelling. He sees the same problems in the predictions of the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which he calls extremely vague, and says there is no scientific reason to think the climate is more predictable than the weather.
Models will cheerfully boil away all the water in the oceans or cover the world in ice, even with pre-industrial levels of Co2, he writes in Apollos Arrow. And so scientists use theoretical concepts like flux adjustments to make the models agree with reality. When models about the future climate are in agreement, it says more about the self-regulating group psychology of the modelling community than it does about global warming and the economy.
In explaining such an arcane topic for a general audience, he found himself returning again and again to religious metaphors to explain our faith in predictions, referring to the weather gods and the images of almost biblical wrath in the literature. He sketched the rise of the gospel of deterministic science, a faith system that was born with Isaac Newton and died with Albert Einstein. He said his own physics education felt like an indoctrination into the use of models, and that scientists in his field, like priests feel they are answering a higher calling.
If you go back to the oracles of ancient Greece, prediction has always been one function of religion, he said. This role is coveted, and so theres not very much work done at questioning the prediction, because its almost as if you were going to the priest and saying, Look, Im not sure about the Second Coming of Christ.
He is not the first to make this link. Forty years ago, shortly after Rachel Carson launched modern environmentalism by publishing Silent Spring, leading to the first Earth Day in 1970, a Princeton history professor named LynnWhite wrote a seminal essay called The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis.
By destroying pagan animism [the belief that natural objects have souls], Christianity made it possible to exploit nature in a mood of indifference to the feelings of natural objects, he wrote in a 1967 issue of Science. Since the roots of our trouble are so largely religious, the remedy must also be essentially religious, whether we call it that or not. It was a prescient claim. In a 2003 speech in San Francisco, best-selling author Michael Crichton was among the first to explicitly close the circle, calling modern environmentalism the religion of choice for urban atheists a perfect 21st century re-mapping of traditional JudeoChristian beliefs and myths.
Today, the popularity of British author James Lovelocks Gaia Hypothesis that the Earth itself functions as a living organism confirms the return of a sort of idolatrous animism, a religion of nature. The recent IPCC report, and a weeks worth of turgid headlines, did not create this faith, but certainly made it more evident.
It can be felt in the frisson of piety that comes with lighting an energy-saving light bulb, a modern votive candle.
It is there in the pious propaganda of media outlets like the, Toronto Star, which on Jan. 28 made the completely implausible claim that, The debate about greenhouse gas emissions appears to be over.
It can be seen in the public ritual of cycling to work, in the veneer of saintliness on David Suzuki and Al Gore (the rush for tickets to the former vice-presidents upcoming appearance crashed the server at the University of Toronto this week), in the high-profile conversion (honest or craven) of GeorgeW. Bush, and in the sinful guilt of throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage.
Adherents make arduous pilgrimages and call them ecotourism. Newspapers publish the iconography of polar bears. The IPCC reports carry the weight of scripture.
John Kay of the Financial Times wrote last month, about future climate chaos: Christians look to the Second Coming, Marxists look to the collapse of capitalism, with the same mixture of fear and longing The discovery of global warming filled a gap in the canon [and] provides justification for the link between the sins of our past and the catastrophe of our future.
Like the tithe in Judaism and Christianity, the religiosity of green is seen in the suspiciously precise mathematics that allow companies such as Bullfrog Power or Offsetters to sell the supposed neutralization of the harmful emissions from household heating, air travel or transportation to a concert.
It is in the schism that has arisen over whether to renew or replace Kyoto, which, even if the scientific skeptics are completely discounted, has been a divisive force for environmentalists.
What was once called salvation is now known as sustainability, a word that is equally resistant to precise definition. There is even a hymn, When the North Pole Melts, by James G. Titus, a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is not exactly How Great Thou Art, but serves a similar purpose.
Environmentalism even has its persecutors, embodied in the Bush White House attack dogs who have conducted no less than an Inquisition against climate scientists, which failed to bring them to heel but instead inspired potential martyrs. Of course, as religions tend to do, environmentalists commit persecution of their own, which has created heretics out of mere skeptics.
All of this might be fine if religions had a history of rational scientific inquiry and peaceful, tolerant implementation of their beliefs. As it is, however, many religions, environmentalism included, continue to struggle with the curse of literalism, and the resultant extremism.
Maybe Im wrong, but I think all this is wrapped up in our belief that we can predict the future, said Dr. Orrell. What we need is more of a sense that were out of our depth, and thats more likely to promote a lasting change in behaviour.
Projections are useful to provoke ideas and aid thinking about the future, but as he writes in the book, they should not be taken literally.
The fundamental danger of deterministic, objective science [is that] like a corny, overformulaic film, it imagines and presents the world as a predictable object. It has no sense of the mystery, magic, or surprise of life.
The solution, he thinks, is to adopt what the University of Torontos Thomas Homer-Dixon calls a prospective mind an intellectual stance that is proactive, anticipatory, comfortable with change, and not surprised by surprise.
In short, if we are to be good, future problem solvers, we must not be blinded by prophecy.
I think [this stance] opens up the possibility for a more emotional and therefore more effective response, Dr. Orrell said. Theres a sense in which uncertainty is actually scarier and more likely to make us act than if you have bureaucrats saying, Well, its going to get warmer by about three degrees, and we know whats going to happen.
Religion and environmentalism is an emerging interdisciplinary subfield in the academic disciplines of religious studies, religious ethics, the sociology of religion, and theology amongst others, with environmentalism and ecological principles as a primary focus.
Crisis of values
This subfield is founded on the understanding that, in the words of Iranian-American philosopherSeyyed Hossein Nasr, "the environmental crisis is fundamentally a crisis of values," and that religions, being a primary source of values in any culture, are thus implicated in the decisions humans make regarding the environment.
Burden of guilt
HistorianLynn White, Jr. first made the argument in a 1966 lecture before the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, subsequently published in the journal Science, that Western Christianity, having de-sacralized and instrumentalized nature to human ends, bears a substantial "burden of guilt" for the contemporary environmental crisis. White's essay stimulated a flurry of responses, ranging from defenses of Christianity to qualified admissions to complete agreement with his analysis.
Eastern religions and indigenous peoples
Some proposed that Eastern religions, as well as those of indigenous peoples, neo-pagans, and others, offered more eco-friendlyworldviews than Christianity. A third, more obscure camp, argued that while White's theory was indeed correct, this was actually a benefit to society, and that thinning the populations of weaker plant and animal species via environmental destruction would lead to the evolution of stronger, more productive creatures. See Kaitiaki in Māori religion.
Religion and ecology
By the 1990s, many scholars of religion had entered the debate and begun to generate a substantial body of literature discussing and analyzing how nature is valued in the world's various religious systems. A landmark event was a series of ten conferences on Religion and Ecology organized by Yale University professors Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim and held at the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions from 1996 to 1998. More than 800 international scholars, religious leaders, and environmentalists participated in the conference series. The conferences concluded at the United Nations and at the American Museum of Natural History with more than 1,000 people in attendance. Papers from the conferences were published in a series of ten books (The Religions of the World and Ecology Book Series), one for each of the world's major religious traditions.
From these conferences, Tucker and Grim would form The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. The Forum has been instrumental in the creation of scholarship, in forming environmental policy, and in the greening of religion. In addition to their work with the Forum, Tucker and Grim's work continues in the Journey of the Universe film, book, and educational DVD series. It continues to be the largest international multireligious project of its kind.
An active Religion and Ecology group has been in existence within the American Academy of Religion since 1991, and an increasing number of universities in North America and around the world are now offering courses on religion and the environment. Recent scholarship on the field of religion and ecology can be found in the peer-reviewed academic journal Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology and in reference works such as the encyclopedia The Spirit of Sustainability.
Religion and nature
Other landmarks in the emerging field was the publication of the Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature in 2005, which was edited by Bron Taylor. Taylor also led the effort to form the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, which was established in 2006, and began publishing the quarterly Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture in 2007.
Religions and the environment
The best asset religion offers is the moral framework by which practitioners must abide. Since many environmental problems have stemmed from human activity, it follows that religion might hold some solutions to mitigating destructive patterns. Buddhism idealizes and emphasizes interconnection, thereby creating a mindset that creates a productive and cooperative relationship between humans and nature. That all actions are based on the premise of interconnection makes the Buddhist mindset effective in cultivating modesty, compassion, and balance among followers, which may ultimately mitigate the harm done to the environment.
One benefit of the Buddhist interconnected mindset is the inevitable humility that ensues. Because humans are entwined with natural systems, damage done upon the Earth is also harm done to humans. This realization is quite modifying to a human race that historically pillages the Earth for individual benefit. When rational humans minimize the split between humanity and nature and bridge the gaps, only then will a mutual respect emerge in which all entities coexist rather than fight. Buddhism maintains that the reason for all suffering comes from attachment. When release from the tight grasp humanity has on individuality and separateness occurs, then oneness and interconnection is realized. So rather than emphasizing winners and losers, humanity will understand its existence within others; this results in a modesty that ends egoic mind.
Another benefit of Buddhist practice to the environment is the compassion that drives all thinking. When humans realize that they are all connected, harm done to another will never benefit the initiator. Therefore, peaceful wishes for everyone and everything will ultimately benefit the initiator. Through accepting that the web of life is connected—if one entity benefits, all benefit—then the prevailing mindset encourages peaceful actions all the time. If everything depends on everything else, then only beneficial events will make life situations better. Acceptance of compassion takes training and practice, which is also encouraged by Buddhist moral conduct in the form of mediation. This habitual striving for harmony and friendship among all beings creates a more perfect relationship between humanity and nature.
Lastly, Buddhist mindset relies on taking the middle road or striving for balance. Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, spent his life searching for the outlet of human suffering, eventually concluding that a balance must be established between self-destruction and self-indulgence. While modern, industrial humans emphasize economic and social aspects of life and lastly environmental aspects, this view is lopsided. When human preferences are leveled with environmental preferences—giving a voice to natural systems as well as human systems—then can balance and harmony be realized.
Therefore, using this idealized and disciplined framework that Buddhism has to offer can create lasting solutions to amending the broken relationship between humanity and nature. What ensues is an ethic, rather than a short-term policy or technological fix. When never-ending consumption patterns cease for the betterment of the world as a whole, then all systems will harmoniously interact in a non-abusive way. Without needing to adopt a new religion, just recognizing and accepting this mindset can help to heal the environmental injuries of the past.
Buddhists today are involved in spreading environmental awareness. In a meeting with the U.S Ambassador to the Republic of India Timothy J. Roemer, the Dalai Lama urged the U.S to engage China on climate change in Tibet. The Dalai Lama has also been part of a series on discussions organised by the Mind and Life Institute; a non profit organisation that specializes on the relationship between science and Buddhism. The talks were partly about ecology, ethics and interdependence and issues on global warming were brought up 
Main article: Christianity and environmentalism
Christianity has a historic concern for nature and the natural world. At the same time, ecological concerns operate in tension with anthropocentric values, such as the Biblical notion of human dominion over the Earth. (Gen 1:28) A broad range of Christian institutions are engaged in the environmental movement and contemporary environmental concerns.
Latter Day Saint movement
Mormon environmentalists find theological reasons for stewardship and conservationism through biblical and additional scriptural references including a passages from the Doctrine and Covenants: "And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion" (D&C 59:20). The Latter Day Saint movement has a complex relationship with environmental concerns, involving not only the religion but politics and economics. In terms of environmentally friendly policies, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a history of utilizing elements of conservationist policies for their meetinghouses. The church first placed solar panels on a church meetinghouse in the Tuamotu Islands in 2007. In 2010, the church unveiled five LEED certified meetinghouse prototypes that are that will be used as future meetinghouse designs around the world, the first one having been completed in 2010 in Farmington, Utah.
In Hinduism, practitioners and scholars find traditional approaches to the natural environment in such concepts as dharmic ethics or prakrti (material creation), the development of ayurveda, and readings of vedic literature. Hindu environmental activism also may be inspired by Gandhian philosophy and practical struggles, such as the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan  and Chipko resistance to forestry policies in Uttar Pradesh, India. Mahatma Gandhi played a major role in Indian environmentalism, and has been called the "father of Indian environmentalism". Gandhi's environmental thought parallels his social thoughts in that environmental sustainability and social inequalities should be managed in similar fashions. His non-violent teachings left a lasting impact, even agriculturally. Contemporary agrarian practices use the Bhagavad-Gita to establish practices that are deemed non-violent.
See also: Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science
Through the tradition from the Quran and the prophets, the environment was made sacred. It is believed that God did not create the environment for a random reason, but rather a reflection of truth. One can gain profound knowledge from nature thus, human beings are to preserve it and look after it. Many chapters in the Quran, refer to the beauties of nature as well as the headings of many chapters indicating the importance of it, such as: "The Sun", "Dawn", and "Morning Hours". Thus man is God's representative on this planet, if he is not charged with sustaining it, then at least he must not destroy it.
In Islam, the concept of a hima or "inviolate zone" refers to a piece of land that has been set aside to prevent cultivation or any use other than spiritual purposes.
Main article: Judaism and environmentalism
In Judaism, the natural world plays a central role in Jewish law, literature, and liturgical and other practices. Within the diverse arena of Jewish thought, beliefs vary widely about the human relation to the environment, though the rabbinic tradition has put Judaism primarily on an anthropocentric trajectory. However, a few contemporary Jewish thinkers and rabbis in the USA and Israel emphasized that a central belief in Judaism is that the Man (Ha Adam - האדם whose root comes from Haadama (earth) - האדמה, in Hebrew language), should keep the Earth in the same state as he received it from God, its eternal and actual "owner" (especially for the land of Israel), thus the people today should avoid polluting it and keep it clean for the future generations. According to this opinion, Judaism is clearly in line with the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development.
In Jewish law (halakhah), ecological concerns are reflected in Biblical protection for fruit trees, rules in the Mishnah against harming the public domain, Talmudic debate over noise and smoke damages, and contemporary responsa on agricultural pollution. In Conservative Judaism, there has been some attempt to adopt ecokashrut ideas[clarification needed] developed in the 1970s by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. In addition, Jewish activists have recruited principles of halakhah for environmental purposes, such as the injunction against unnecessary destruction, known as bal tashkhit.
In contemporary Jewish liturgy, ecological concerns have been promoted by adapting a kabbalisticritual for the holiday of trees, Tu Bishvat. Biblical and rabbinic texts have been enlisted for prayers about the environment, especially in Orthodox Judaism and Jewish Renewal movements.
In the U.S., a diverse coalition of Jewish environmentalists undertakes both educational and policy advocacy on such issues as biodiversity and global warming. Jewish environmentalists are drawn from all branches of religious life, ranging from Rabbi Arthur Waskow to the Orthodox group Canfei Nesharim. In Israel, secular Jews have formed numerous governmental and non-governmental organizations to protect nature and reduce pollution. While many Israeli environmental organizations make limited use of Jewish religious teachings, a few do approach Israel's environmental problems from a Jewish standpoint, including the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, named after Abraham Joshua Heschel.
Taoism offers many ideas that are in line with environmentalism, such as wu wei, moderation, compassion and Taoist animism. Parallels were found between Taoism and deep ecology. Pioneer of environmentalism John Muir was called "the Taoist of the West". Rosenfeld wrote 'Taoism is environmentalism'. 
In Jainism, the ancient and perhaps timeless philosophical concepts, like Parasparopagraho Jivanam, were more recently compiled into a Jain Declaration on Nature, which describes the religion's inherent biocentrism and deep ecology. ("Parasparopagraho Jivanam". Wikipedia. )
- ^Tucker, Mary Evelyn; Grim, John (2013). Ecology and Religion. Washington: Island Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-59726-707-6.
- ^"Religions of the World and Ecology: Archive Of Conference Materials". Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- ^"The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology".
- ^"Welcome - Journey Of The Universe".
- ^“Religion and Ecology Group.” American Academy of Religion. https://papers.aarweb.org/content/religion-and-ecology-group Accessed July 28, 2016.
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- ^ abTucker, M.E. & Williams, D.R. (Eds.). (1998). Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
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- ^On Climate, Ethics, Cow Burps and the Dalai Lama October 21, 2011 NYT
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- ^"Mormon Belief and the Environment", by George B. Handley in Patheos September 15, 2009.
- ^(1998) New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community Editors: Terry Tempest Williams, Gibbs M. Smith, William B. Smart ISBN 978-0-87905-843-2
- ^"Timeline of Construction Practices".
- ^Taylor, Scott (28 April 2010). "Mormon Church unveils solar powered meetinghouse".
- ^Tribune, The Salt Lake. "Utah Local News - Salt Lake City News, Sports, Archive - The Salt Lake Tribune".
- ^Jain, Pankaj (2011). Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability. Ashgate Publishing.
- ^Chappl and Tucker, ed. (2000). Hinduism and Ecology: The intersection of earth, sky and water. Harvard University Press.
- ^Sanford, Whitney. Gandhi's Agrarian Legacy: Practicing Food, Justice, and Sustainability in India. Journal for the Study of Religion, March 2013, p. 67.
- ^Sanford, Whitney. Gandhi's Agrarian Legacy: Practicing Food, Justice, and Sustainability in India. Journal for the Study of Religion, March 2013, p. 68.
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- ^See "About COEJL". Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, New York. Retrieved 2008-01-08. and the Jewcology map of Jewish environmental initiatives.
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- ^Dr Zai, J. Taoism and Science: Cosmology, Evolution, Morality, Health and more. Ultravisum, 2015.
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- ^J. Baird Earth's Insights: A Multicultural Survey of Ecological Ethics from the Mediterranean Basin to the Australian Outback Callicott
Religions of the World and Ecology Book Series:
- Buddhism and Ecology: The Interconnection of Dharma and Deeds. Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997.
- Christianity and Ecology: Seeking the Well-being of Earth and Humans. Dieter T. Hessel and Rosemary Radford Ruether, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
- Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Berthrong, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.
- Daoism and Ecology: Ways Within a Cosmic Landscape. N. J. Girardot, James Miller, and Liu Xiaogan, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.
- Hinduism and Ecology: The Intersection of Earth, Sky, and Water. Christopher Key Chapple and Mary Evelyn Tucker, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000.
- Indigenous Traditions and Ecology: The Interbeing of Cosmology and Community. John A. Grim, ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.
- Islam and Ecology: A Bestowed Trust. Richard C. Foltz, Frederick M. Denny, Azizan Baharuddin, eds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003.
- Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life. Christopher Key Chapple, ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
- Judaism and Ecology: Created World and Revealed Word. Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002.
- Shinto and Ecology. Rosemarie Bernard, ed. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.
- Tucker, Mary Evelyn. Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter Their Ecological Phase. Chicago: Open Court, 2003.
- Merritt, Jonathan (2010). Green like God: unlocking the divine plan for our planet. New York: FaithWords. ISBN 978-0-446-55725-2.
- Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis in Modern Man. Rev. ed. Chicago, Ill.: Kazi Publishers, 1997 .
- Lynn White, Jr., "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis," Science 155 (1967): 1203-1207.
- Richard Foltz, ed., Worldviews, Religion, and the Environment: A Global Anthology, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2002.
- Anand Veeraraj, Green History of Religion. Bangalore, India: Centre for Contemporary Christianity, 2006.
- Sarah McFarland Taylor, "What If Religions Had Ecologies?: The Case for Reinhabiting Religious Studies." Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture. Vol. 1.1 (Spring 2007).
- Bron Taylor, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature (2 volumes) London: Continuum International Publishing Group;
- Elsergany, Ragheb. "Environment Rights in Islamic Civilization". english.islamstory.com.
- Watling, Tony (2009). Ecological imaginations in the world religions : an ethnographic analysis. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-1-84706-428-8.
- Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture
- Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
- http://www.audubonmagazine.org/currents/currents1005.htmlAudubon (magazine)
- Buddhism, Virtue and Environment. David Edward, Edward Cooper, and S.P James. Ashgate Publishing, 2005.
- Dhrama Rain: Sources of Buddhist Environmentalism. Stephanie Kaza and Kenneth Kraft, eds. Shambhala, 2000.
- The Ethics of Nature. Celia E. Deane-Drummond John Wiley & Sons, 2004.