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Which is greener: secularity or religiosity?

Image: George Hodan, Praying hands, Public Domain Pictures, Public domain
Image: George Hodan, Praying hands, Public Domain Pictures, Public domain

A survey of Canadians finds that a high level of dedication to Christianity is negatively correlated with monetary donations to environmental causes, while being a believer without an affiliation to organised religion is positively correlated to such donations. However, being very religious was positively correlated with volunteering for environmental causes, while being strictly secular or nominally religious were negatively correlated with such volunteering.


Using a large, nationally representative Canadian survey (N = 12,922), this paper investigates how religiosity associates with environmental philanthropy. Based on the degree of religiosity, the population is divided into five mutually exclusive segments of very religious, average religiosity, nominal affiliate, unchurched believer, and strictly secular. The analysis shows that the individuals identified as very religious contribute the least amount of money to environmental causes, while the unchurched believers are the most generous. The investigation also shows that among various dimensions of religiosity, only religious attendance is statistically significantly associated with environmental philanthropy. The effect of religious attendance is, however, negative for monetary contribution and positive for volunteerism. Finally, the contribution of money to religious organizations negatively associates with environmental giving, while donation to secular causes predicts a higher level of monetary giving to environmental organizations. Various implications are discussed.



Dilmaghani, M., 2018. Which is greener: secularity or religiosity? Environmental philanthropy along religiosity spectrum. Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, 20(2), pp.477-502.

Read the full paper here. See also the Foodsource resource What about the relationship between food, culture, ethics and social norms?

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