Cyberseminar on Culture, Beliefs and the Environment
15 May 2017 to 19 May 2017
Cyberseminar outcomes

An article based on this cyberseminar appears in Journal of Religion and Demography. The full citation is:

Skirbekk, V., de Sherbinin, A., Adamo, S. B., Navarro, J., & Chai-Onn, T. (2020). Religious Affiliation and Environmental Challenges in the 21st Century, Journal of Religion and Demography, 7(2), 238-271. doi:

Invited Experts

Vegard Skirbekk (Columbia Aging Center and Norwegian Institute of Public Health)

Raya Muttarak (IIASA)

Richard Wilk (Department of Anthropology, Indiana University)

Tom Dietz (Department of Sociology, Michigan State University), Rachael Shwom (Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University)


This cyberseminar featured a webinar hosted by Future Earth.  The webminar summarized the background paper, and introduced the themes being addressed by the other expert panelists.

This Population-Environment Research Network (PERN) cyberseminar focuses on culture, belief systems, values, and the environment. The world is facing dramatic demographic shifts, and these are associated with different cultural values and belief systems that have implications for the environment. Industrialized countries face rapid aging while developing countries have large children and youth populations. These different patterns, and the cultural values and beliefs associated with them, have implications for population dynamics and how societies relate to the environment and how they are impacted by environmental changes and hazards. This relatively little studied area of the population-environment nexus is ripe for new discoveries.
Culture, belief systems and values are central to environmental decision making and behavior and to how people perceive and respond to risks and crises. Census, survey, focus group and other demographic data collection methods are central to understanding belief systems as they relate to the demographic makeup of society, including racial and ethnic groups, age and sex distribution, education attainment, and geographic factors. The cyberseminar will address a number of topics, including: (1) cultural attitudes and values as they relate to perceptions of the environment; (2) culture, belief systems, values and environmentally significant consumption patterns; (3) religious beliefs and their implications for age structure and population growth; (4) how religious and other beliefs vary by population composition; and (5) vulnerability and perceptions of risk as they relate to different demographic groups. 

This cyberseminar is co-organized with the Columbia Aging Center.