Townsend, “Energy Policy in American Faith Communities”

Townsend, Patricia K. 2013. Energy Policy in American Faith Communities: “The Power to Change.” Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment 35(1):4-15.

Abstract: This paper traces the development of energy policy in the mainline churches beginning with Margaret Mead and René Dubos’s 1974 commission to prepare a report to the National Council of Churches on the use of plutonium as a commercial fuel. The report stirred a controversy and a broader examination of energy ethics that culminated in the adoption in 1979 of a National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. policy paper and encouraged constituent denominations to make their own studies of energy policy. The development and implementation of these policies is followed from 1980 to the present, using the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as a representative mainline denomination. This turn to ethical reasoning to support change in U.S. energy policy is a hopeful development, given the stalemate in such discussion when framed in scientific or political terms.