Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds
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Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds

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How can religion help to understand and contend with the challenges of climate change?

Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds, edited by David Haberman, presents a unique collection of essays that detail how the effects of human-related climate change are actively reshaping religious ideas and practices, even as religious groups and communities endeavor to bring their traditions to bear on mounting climate challenges.

People of faith from the low-lying islands of the South Pacific to the glacial regions of the Himalayas are influencing how their communities understand earthly problems and develop meaningful responses to them. This collection focuses on a variety of different aspects of this critical interaction, including the role of religion in ongoing debates about climate change, religious sources of environmental knowledge and how this knowledge informs community responses to climate change, and the ways that climate change is in turn driving religious change.

Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds offers a transnational view of how religion reconciles the concepts of the global and the local and influences the challenges of climate change.

Introduction: Multiple Perspectives on an Increasingly Uncertain World
Recombinant Responses
1. Climate Change Never Travels Alone
2. Climate Change, Moral Meteorology and Local Measures at Quyllurit'i, a High Andean Shrine
3. Religious Explanations for Coastal Erosion in Narikoso, Fiji
Local Knowledge
4. "Nature Can Heal Itself"
5. Maya Cosmology and Contesting Climate Change in Mesoamerica
6. Anthropogenic Climate Change, Anxiety, and the Sacred
Loss, Anxiety, and Doubt
7. The Vanishing of Father White Glacier
8. Loss and Recovery in the Himalayas
Religious Transformations
9. Angry Gods and Raging Rivers
10. Recasting the Sacred
Conclusion: Religion and Climate Change
List of Contributors



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Date de parution 04 mai 2021
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780253056016
Langue English
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5. Maya Cosmology and Contesting Climate Change in Mesoamerica
6. Anthropogenic Climate Change, Anxiety, and the Sacred
Loss, Anxiety, and Doubt
7. The Vanishing of Father White Glacier
8. Loss and Recovery in the Himalayas
Religious Transformations
9. Angry Gods and Raging Rivers
10. Recasting the Sacred
Conclusion: Religion and Climate Change
List of Contributors

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Introduction: Multiple Perspectives on an Increasingly Uncertain World / David L. Haberman
PART I . Recombinant Responses
1. Climate Change Never Travels Alone: Oceanian Stories / Cecilie Rubow
2. Climate Change, Moral Meteorology, and Local Measures at Quyllurit i, a High Andean Shrine / Guillermo Salas Carre o
3. Religious Explanations for Coastal Erosion in Narikoso, Fiji / Amanda Bertana
PART II . Local Knowledge
4. Nature Can Heal Itself : Divine Encounter, Lived Experience, and Individual Interpretations of Climatic Change / Georgina Drew
5. Maya Cosmology and Contesting Climate Change in Mesoamerica / C. Mathews (Matt) Samson
6. Anthropogenic Climate Change, Anxiety, and the Sacred: The Role of Ecological Calendars in the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia / Karim-Aly S. Kassam
PART III . Loss, Anxiety, and Doubt
7. The Vanishing of Father White Glacier: Ritual Revival and Temporalities of Climate Change in the Himalayas / Karine Gagn
8. Loss and Recovery in the Himalayas: Climate-Change Anxieties and the Case of Large Cardamom in North Sikkim / Mabel Denzin Gergan
PART IV . Religious Transformations
9. Angry Gods and Raging Rivers: The Changing Climate of the Central Himalaya / David L. Haberman
10. Recasting the Sacred: Offering Ceremonies, Glacier Melt, and Climate Change in the Peruvian Andes / Karsten Paerregaard
Conclusion: Religion and Climate Change: An Emerging Research Agenda / Willis Jenkins
FOR SOME FIFTY YEARS, SCHOLARS from the humanities and social sciences have sought to better understand the role of religion in ecological issues. Research in this field has tended to cluster around a set of conventions that crystalized early in the formation of the field: debates have tended to focus on whether religion generally or particular religious traditions are good or bad for the environment, and the bulk of published literature has tended to concentrate on North Atlantic societies and especially on the forms of Christianity predominant in the United States, Canada, and Western Europe. These foci have remained as constraints on the emerging body of scholarship on religion and climate change.
Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds , along with its companion volume Climate Politics and the Power of Religion (edited by Evan Berry), are outcomes of a research project that aimed at broadening the conversation about religion and climate change by expanding the geographic frame of reference, thinking comparatively, and emphasizing ethnographic scholarship. Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation s Religion and International Affairs Program and managed by American University s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS), this project was called Religion and Climate Change in Cross-Regional Perspective. Although they do not appear extensively in the pages that follow, Toby Volkman, Luce Foundation program officer, Eric Hershberg, director of CLALS, and Rob Albro, CLALS research associate professor, played vital roles in shaping the conversations that formed the basis of this book.
Religion and Climate Change in Cross-Regional Perspective began with a focus on three highly visible forms of environmental vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The project hypothesized that religious communities around the world are confronted by similar environmental pressures and that their adaptive responses might afford comparative insight about the ways religion matters for climate-change issues. Specifically, the project was structured around a series of workshops, each of which foregrounded cases from one frontline impact of climate change. A 2016 workshop at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, India, concentrated on urban water scarcity and the challenges faced by megacities in South Asia and South America as they struggle with issues of supply and sanitation. The second workshop was held at Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya in Lima, Peru, in 2017 and focused on glacial melt and the ecological precarity of high-elevation communities in the Andes and in the Himalayas. The final workshop, convened at the University of the West Indies, in St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, in 2017, was dedicated to the special challenges facing small island developing states in the Caribbean basin and in the South Pacific, namely sea-level rise and storm intensification. The workshops provided space for contributors to share, refine, and recalibrate their scholarship in conversation with experts from other disciplinary and regional contexts.
Exchange among project contributors was further facilitated by a provisional framework for the role of religion: conversations were organized into three streams, each representing one important mode of engagement between religion and climate change. In the first, contributors examined the significance of religious actors, including faith-based organizations, religious leaders, and institutionalized systems of religious mobilization. The second explored religious frames of reference, seeking knowledge about the ways religious beliefs, perceptions, and vocabularies shape the way human communities articulate and engage the phenomena invoked within the perhaps too comprehensive term climate change . The final stream imagined the relationship between religion and climate change differently, asking whether, when, and how environmental changes precipitate religious changes.
These are complex questions with no easy answers. The roughly two dozen scholarly essays that emerged from the Religion and Climate Change in Cross-Regional Perspective project suggest some of the many ways intersections between the issues can be seen and understood, hopefully in ways that evoke sympathy and humane policy responses.

Multiple Perspectives on an Increasingly Uncertain World
I FIND IT DIFFICULT TO get a bead on climate change as it appears in the comparative perspective of global occurrences and diverse cultural experiences. Moreover, thinking about climate change provokes an unsettling anxiety-at least for me. I recently finished a book on interaction with a sacred mountain and its stones in northern India (Haberman 2020). Although understood in radically different ways within human cultures, stones are solid-it s easier to get a grip on them. But climate change is a different matter altogether. A classic distinction between fear and anxiety is that fear has a clear object or understandable threat, whereas anxiety does not. Climate change certainly does not present itself as an obvious object or easily comprehendible threat, nor is it localized like a particular sacred mountain. It appears to be everywhere, yet nowhere. Sometimes it s an idea; at other times it s a phenomenon. Climate change poses a problem so all-encompassing that it seems to absorb all other environmental challenges and becomes a category of its own. It s vast and vague, present here and now, yet threatening in ways that stretch far into an uncertain future. Furthermore, as the essays in this volume make evident, there is a diversity of perspectives on what climate change even is about and what causal forces are involved with it. A multiplicity of climate changes emerge in this collection of studies of the manner in which so-called climate change is interpreted and experienced as well as in the range of responses that various communities around the world call for.
There appears to be no one-size-fits-all perspective or solution. In addition to addressing climate change as a global phenomenon, greater attention needs to be given to local cultural explanations of it, which are often articulated in terms of the mythic, ritual, and theological traditions of a particular place. This is one of the chief aims of Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds . It seeks to deepen our understanding of the relationship between religion and climate change across multiple regions of the world, for a deeper understanding of climate change requires comprehending the ways in which religion is involved in human experiences and reactions. Also featured here are the complex nature of religion in the context of climate change and some transformations it is undergoing in face of climate-related challenges. In many ways, the field of religion and climate change is a new and emerging field; this volume is intended as an introductory contribution to this emergence.
The subfield of religious studies known as religion and ecology, which appeared in the latter decades of the twentieth century, involves the examination of religious worldviews for how they shape human attitudes and behavior toward nonhuman entities and the environment as a whole. This subfield also queries the role of religion in the environmental crisis and tracks how environmental challenges are now changing religions around the globe. The subfield of religion and ecology often traces its history back to a seminal publication by Lynn White Jr., a medieval historian based at UCLA who, along with other scholars, was concerned with the mounting environmental crisis in the late 1960s. In the article The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis, White (1967) asserted, What people do about their ecology depends on what they think about themselves in relation to things around them. Human ecology is deeply conditioned by the beliefs about our nature and destiny-that is, by religion (1205). Here White articulates a foundational idea: that religious beliefs influence human understandings and treatment of the natural world and therefore need to be given serious consideration in the environmental crisis. 1 The conversation White and others began in the late 1960s has certainly continued; although the field of religion and ecology is still in many ways in early stages, it has established a firm foothold in academic circles.
Perhaps strongest evidence of this in the US academy is a remarkable series of ten conferences-organized by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim-on the major religions of the world and ecology that took place at Harvard University s Center for the Study of World Religions from 1996 through 1998. These conferences brought together more than eight hundred international scholars representing a variety of disciplines to explore the important roles religions play in environmental issues. Harvard University Press published ten volumes resulting from these conferences in the series Religions of the World and Ecology. The conferences also led to the formation of an ongoing academic organization known as the Forum on Religion and Ecology, now based at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Moreover, courses in increasing numbers are being offered in the area of religion and ecology in religious studies and anthropology departments in colleges and universities around the country, and there is growing recognition in environmental studies programs and research centers that religion is a significant factor in thinking about the environmental crisis (Gardner 2002). These efforts also helped spawn a new academic society in 2005 under the leadership of Bron Taylor-the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, which has a growing membership with regular international conferences and a journal ( Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture ). Where and how the field of religion and climate change fits into the subfield of religion and ecology is an open question. Some view it as a part of this subfield, whereas others regard climate change as so far-reaching that it overwhelms all other environmental issues and therefore deserves a distinct rubric of its own.
The word religious in the title of this volume evokes the place of religion in the anxious exercise of deliberating on climate change. Climate change is frequently labeled a scientific or economic issue but rarely a religious one. A strong contention in this volume of essays, however, is that religion matters in considerations of climate change and needs to have a seat at the tables around which climate change is being discussed. And this presence must include a wide range of religious perspectives, wherein a multitude of religious responses is taken seriously. The Christian stewardship model, for example, does not fit all religious contexts, especially religions of embodiment that regard the divine as embedded in the world. This volume aims to contribute to a better understanding of religion s impact on climate change as well as climate change s impact on religion. Climate change is causing religious leaders and communities to reexamine the very place and purpose of the human in the world. Climate change affects such strong influence on human life and compels considerable enough reassessment of the human that some scholars not only have called for new religious expressions but also have suggested that climate change has already begun shaping them (e.g., Latour 2017). Essays in this volume add ethnographic support for further deliberation of such claims.
What does it mean that climate change is a problem? For many religious communities, it is regarded as an ominous sign of a significant rupture between the human and divine that is articulated in a particular and local idiom. Global discussion of climate change is often a foreign discourse for such communities. Religious worldviews provide a specific framework for comprehending and responding to challenging events. Religion will therefore be important in finding ways of translating the global discourse into more locally understandable forms. Words the deep ecologist Arne Naess (1973) wrote are still quite relevant: The global approach is essential, but regional differences must largely determine policies in the coming years (100). It may also be the case that local or indigenous religious perspectives have important insights to contribute to global discourse about climate change and offer suggestions for possible solutions. What would a productive exchange between global science and local religion look like? It may be that in certain respects they are mutually supportive. Although science and technology have an important role to play in addressing climate change, many have maintained that their contribution alone will be incomplete. Because climate change has occurred within a particular historical framework that has been shaped by certain cultural developments, a scientific approach by itself will not be sufficient. Reflection on culture is required-including religion, one of its key components. In addition to the burning of fossil fuels and the spewing of toxins into our soils and water, scholars of religion and ecology advocate adding particular conceptions of the self and views of the world to the list of major drivers of climate change. Scientists have not engaged in this kind of reflection and, moreover, have tended to believe that facts and graphs would motivate people to action. This unfortunately has not turned out to be the case, leading many to assert that, until climate disruption is seen as a moral challenge related to ultimate concerns, the response will be insufficient in scale and speed. But religion can provide the principled support for the action called on by scientists. People tend to take extraordinary measures to protect what they regard as supremely valuable or sacred. What, indeed, is the sacred? The involvement of religions may be indispensable for a sustainable future for the planet. Such notions have caused some to call for a partnership between religion and science around climate change (e.g., Tucker 2015).
But, in addition, religion also has a powerful role to play in areas untouched by science and technology, such as questioning the worldviews that have led to the climate-change crisis, dealing with anxiety, loss, and hopelessness, positing and prioritizing high values, aiding fruitful motivation, and providing potentially transformative practices. Climate change requires more creative solutions than technology alone can deliver, and religion can have much to contribute here. Scientific discourse on climate change often leaves little space for understanding the rich complexity of human life in responding to climate-change-related events. How might religious worldviews and cosmologies expand our understanding of climate change and allied environmental issues? What would knowledge of religious practices, ontologies, and cultural identities add to attempts to better grasp and address the various causes of climate change? How might religion bolster communities to stand strong in the face of rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and dramatic seasonal variations? Science alone has little to offer the affective dimension of the climate crisis; religion, on the other hand, is at home in this milieu. It seems that science has expertise in some areas and religion in others. Hope is considered by many to be a necessary ingredient in humanity s quest for constructive ways to address the climate-change crisis. Religious communities occupy an advantageous position not only for taking care of people vulnerable to climate disturbances but also for providing them with hope.
In addition to bringing greater understanding to the general public, this volume aspires to help educate climate researchers, social scientists, and policy makers about the complex nature of religion that emerges from a careful examination of local case studies and to provide access to a different source of knowledge that might contribute beneficially to policy strategies and decisions. For a truly global endeavor toward addressing the challenges of climate change to be successful, nonsecular worlds need be taken seriously. Not all people occupy secular worlds; therefore, secular approaches alone to climate change will not work in many parts of the world. Effective action that does not alienate a local community but rather engages it on its own terms must take into account the religious dimension of human experience, which includes local perceptions of the world or nature. It may even be worth asking, if a society has a narrative that functions productively to help them understand and prepare for events related to climate change, is explicitly scientific knowledge even necessary? What are the best ways of working with a community that is questioning whether Mother Nature or mountain deities are becoming more aggressive or are increasingly victims of human abuse?
Climate change is already dramatically altering environmental conditions on the planet and affecting human livelihood in ways that elicit religious responses. The disruption to local communities is further exacerbated by the fact that traditional ways of dealing with dramatic disturbances are being eroded by new forms of global economic development. This volume aims to provide materials to expand current discussions of religion and climate change-which have tended to focus on positive or negative contributions of religious ideas and actors to climate-change policy-to generate a more dynamic, multidimensional conversation reflective of the diverse and complex ways that religion intersects with anthropogenic global warming and to track the various ways in which climate change affects particular cultural traditions and religious communities. It materialized out of a multiyear project, Religion and Climate Change in Cross Regional Perspective, funded by the Henry Luce Foundation and sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University, which sought a deeper understanding of the relationship between religion and climate change across multiple regions of the world.
Previous studies of religion and climate change exist, but for the most part, they have been focused on Christian responses in North America and northern Europe. Observing this limitation in a recent survey of the scholarly literature on religion and climate change, the authors noted the need for greater attention to the relationship between religion and climate change in the societies of the global South (Jenkins, Berry, and Kreider 2018). In contrast to most previous studies, this volume focuses on the global South, with special attention to Latin America, South Asia, and the South Pacific-vulnerable regions where climate change dramatically precipitates religious response. Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds explores the kinds of adaptive and interpretive responses to climate change that emerge from within local communities in these regions. Whereas previous studies have tended to promote normative theological positions based on textual readings, this volume features anthropological field studies. The case studies presented in this volume take up a variety of themes related to the cultural and ethical complexities of collective action, especially the ways in which communities conjoin scientific, religious, and moral discourses in their understandings of and responses to climate change. This approach differentiates it from more abstract theological studies, such as the one offered by Michael Northcott (2013), or books that concentrate on the predominately Christian societies of the North Atlantic region (Gerten and Bergmann 2013; Wilkinson 2012; and Deane-Drummond, Sigurd Bergmann, and Markus Vogt 2017).
The editors of the informative book How the World s Religions Are Responding to Climate Change (Veldman, Szasz and Haluza-Delay 2014) focus on the question of whether religion functions as an obstacle or a resource for addressing climate change globally: The social roles of religions and spiritualities vary tremendously among the peoples of the world, but what they say and do about climate change-whether they encourage attention to the issue or discourage it; whether they help their adherents recognize and cope with the challenge or persuade them to ignore or deny it-could decisively impact how societies all over the world respond to it (3). They argue that religions are well positioned to mobilize millions of people on the issue of climate change (5). This is a very valid and important question to raise, but is it the only one that arises in a comparative perspective that focuses on challenges of climate-change-related disturbances in the global South? Whether it promotes attention to global climate change or resists doing so, religion seems also to be a way of addressing the stress, anxiety, uncertainty, loss, hopelessness, and disempowerment related to the challenges caused by the increasing global temperatures, such as rising sea levels, melting glaciers, vacillating seasons, and unprecedented storms. We might therefore also ask, how are religious traditions being reshaped by climate change? What role is climate change playing in emerging ethical reevaluations? How is climate change affecting reconsiderations of human-nonhuman relationships? What are the levers of change that emerge from a serious examination of religion and climate change? Moreover, many assume that climate change is an it for all cultures to deal with. But is such a homogeneous agreement really to be found? One of the major contributions of Understanding Climate Change through Religious Lifeworlds is its presentation of a wide range of interpretations of what is often referred to as climate change. The ethnographic studies in this volume make a case for cultural plurality in this context.
The case studies are presented in four clusters: recombinant responses; local knowledge; loss, anxiety, and uncertainty; and religious transformations.
Recombinant Responses
The three authors in this section explore the complex relationships between scientific discourse on climate change and local religious views and between imported Christianity and indigenous traditions. Cecilie Rubow tells three ethnographic stories from Oceania that together give strong indication of how seemingly incompatible versions of climate change meet and mix in a variety of Christianities and indigenous notions in different local cultural contexts. Guillermo Salas Carre o analyzes how pilgrims with diverse backgrounds of indigenous traditions and Christianity interpret the retreat of the sacred Qulqipunku glacier in the Peruvian Andes and respond with changing religious practices associated with the pilgrimage. Amanda Bertana offers an ethnographic study of the manner in which biblical accounts and scientific discourse on climate change mingle and come into play in the encounter with rising sea levels by the residents of a village in the South Pacific island nation of Fiji.
Local Knowledge
One of the assertions of this volume is that climate change is experienced in local ways that rely on local systems of knowledge. Georgina Drew investigates the way an Indian shopkeeper and ritual specialist in the central Himalayan town of Uttarkashi interacts with particular devata s, or deities of the land, in her portrayal of a local understanding of climate change. Matt Samson presents a study of a Guatemalan spiritual guide and environmental activist to show how a local environmental movement to preserve forests and water sources is informed by Maya religion. Karim-Aly Kassam conducts a study of ecological calendars as developed in the Pamir Mountains of Central Asia that provide a very specific sense of time for a particular place, arguing that they offer a valuable source of hope for dealing with climate change at the local level.
Loss, Anxiety, and Uncertainty
At the very time when they are most needed, it may seem that traditional ways are either disappearing or becoming increasingly ineffective. The result is greater anxiety and uncertainty, the very thing that certain traditional rituals aim to alleviate. Karine Gagn and Mabel Gergan examine two such situations in northern India, the first studying interactions with glaciers in the northwestern region of Ladakh, high on the Tibetan Plateau, and the second studying reactions to the collapse of cardamom cultivation in the eastern region of the Himalaya in the state of Sikkim.
Religious Transformations
Religion is not only engaging climate change in a variety of ways, it is also undergoing a multitude of changes under the effects of climate change. David Haberman tracks how climate-change-related disasters in the Char Dham pilgrimage region of the central Himalaya of India are initiating theological changes in which gods and goddesses once sought for their blessings are now increasingly understood to be angry and punishing. Karsten Paerregaard examines how the melting of glaciers from climate change in the Peruvian Andes has brought about changes in the practice of making offerings to the high mountain glacial deity of Huayatapallana.
Willis Jenkins brings this volume to a conclusion by examining the volume s contributions to the emergence of a new academic field of religion and climate change, with an eye toward articulating an agenda for future research.
Beyond global prescriptive considerations of climate change, and the characteristic focus on religion as either an obstacle or aid in addressing it, other significant themes emerge from the various local responses to the challenges of climate change. Many arose and came into focus as the American University project unfolded during encounters between dozens of international scholars in a series of workshops held in Washington, DC, in the United States; New Delhi, India; Lima, Peru; and Port of Spain, Trinidad. A comparative examination of the multiple responses suggests that something may be happening in the aggregate. More case studies need to be produced in other cultures and regions of the world, but this volume collectively gives indication that the aggregate has at least the following ten characteristics. I have cited specific chapter authors in parentheses in what follows, but most of the themes are found in nearly every chapter of this volume.
1. Complicating Best Practices
Discourse about religion and climate change frequently includes the question of best practices. What are the best practices any given religious tradition models for effective mitigation of climate change? It might be worth complicating this question, however, by asking what the question assumes. What is the nature of the problem and goal the question presumes? Is there a singularity shared by everyone? Best practices might include those that lead not only to a reduction of the use of fossil fuels but also something like getting a ritual right (Gagn and Gergan), or reestablishing more mutually beneficial relationships with the gods of the land (Drew, Haberman, Paerregaard, and Samson), or giving greater attention to proper moral conduct (Bertana and Rubow). Is the query about best practices for mitigation even the right question? There is a need to remain open to other questions while examining multiple perspectives on interpretive and behavioral responses to climate change. A major question that seems to emerge from these case studies is, Do these chapters document strategies that augment adaptation and mitigation in the face of the new challenges of climate change? Or are they records of how people are simply struggling to cope in a new and overwhelming situation with no viable solution in sight? Perhaps the answer is some combination of both, but in its extreme the latter view may suggest that there is no such thing as best practices, for we are doomed. At this point, nothing is certain. But in either case, religion continues to engage people in the big questions of life.
2. Double Agency
A double agency appears in many religious accounts of the causes of climate change, or at least of what are often labeled climate-change-related weather events and disasters, though, of course, the double agency is articulated in different ways. The first is some negative type of human contribution (e.g., immoral behavior, environmental destruction), and the second a certain negative type of divine contribution (e.g., the punishing anger of the gods). The second type of agency is typically missing from secular climate-change discourse, wherein climate change is considered anthropogenic, or caused by human beings. How does one attend to this difference? This is an important question if more effective ways are to be found in working with local communities. Is a hybrid discourse on climate change possible? Clearly there are great differences between scientific approaches to climate change and religious perspectives, but in some cases, there also seems to be significant overlap that is worthy of further attention. Both religious and secular scientific discourses on climate change, for example, promote a moral imperative that calls for a more harmonious relationship with the other-than-human world. Words about the need for living in better harmony with nature are not out of place in scientific discourse on climate change, but they tend to remain well within secular limits. 2
Religious discourse, on the other hand, is inclined to postulate a deified presence and agency in nature. Although it is expressed in terms of what I am calling the double agency in religious discourse as opposed to more scientific discourse (improving the moral character of the community and reestablishing beneficial relationships with the gods of the land versus reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon), in certain cases there appears to be some similarity when it comes to concrete action. Both discourses urge greater attention to our treatment of the more-than-human world. Sin is often regarded in sexual terms within Christianity (Bertana), but other religious traditions view sin more in terms of egoistic obsessions, excessive consumerism, disrespecting earth deities, and environmental abuse-especially those that see divinity embedded in the land itself, such as the indigenous and embodied religions of Himalayan Hinduism (Drew and Haberman), Andean religion (Paerregaard and Salas Carre o), and Mayan shamanism (Samson). Here are points of connection that could be developed; indeed, some of the essays in this volume document how this development is already taking place.
3. Diminished Relationship with the Gods of the Land
A general religious concept that appears in the majority of the chapters of this volume is what I would label the gods of the land (Gagn , Haberman, Salas Carre o, Samson; although the concept appears in almost all the chapters). This relates to some of the work being produced in anthropology that is identified with the ontological turn; examples would include Marisol de la Caneda (2015) and Eduardo Kohn (2013). There is a deep connection between these gods of the land or earth deities, human moral values, and the environment. These are divinities embedded in natural entities such as rivers, mountains, glaciers, springs, and trees or those linked with entire landscapes. Whether it be receding glaciers, raging rivers, or rising sea levels, the causes of these dramatic changes are frequently considered to be a divine response to a changing and problematic moral order and disregard for the sacredness of the land by humans. From a certain religious perspective, the problems that manifest with climate change are due to the breakdown of favorable relationships between humans, gods, and the land. This collapse of kinship with the gods of the land is understood to be both the cause of the problem and a sign of our inability to deal with it in any effective manner. The solution often expressed, then, is to repair the triangular relationship, reestablishing a reciprocal balance or a harmony with nature. We see here, then, that in addition to providing causal accounts of climate change, the double agency described earlier also involves notions of resolution and solvency. In some cases, the modes and practices through which communities restore their relationship to the gods of the land are likely to run parallel with efforts to lighten our environmental footprint.
In that the cause of climate-change disasters is often understood to be that the gods of the land have been disrespected, ignored, lost, or forgotten, the remedy involves the restoration of mutually beneficial relationships with the gods of the land and more reverent attitudes and actions toward that land. Somewhat relatedly, I am struck by the words the Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh writes in his book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable : It is surely no coincidence that the word uncanny has begun to be used, with ever greater frequency, in relation to climate change. . . . For these changes are not merely strange in the sense of being unknown or alien; their uncanniness lies precisely in the fact that in these encounters we recognize something we had turned away from: that is to say, the presence and proximity of non-human interlocutors (2017, 40). Such deliberations often include a critique of lifestyles of excessive consumption and the concomitant promotion of a simpler life. Although secular climate-change discourse does not recognize the notion of the gods of the land, it does not necessarily reject it either, and certainly it does not reject the implied ethical message. Policy makers hoping to work with such communities might do well to look for potential areas of overlap, where a similar goal is supported through different rationales. In particular, greater attention needs to be given to possibilities within indigenous cultures, since many indigenous peoples have maintained a connection to the land throughout much of their history and continue to emphasize a tradition of living in harmony with nature. In short, a strong note among indigenous voices is the imperative to restore the lost traditions of respect for the Earth, for when we go against the gods of the land, we do ourselves great harm.
4. Vulnerability and Immunity
The increasingly dramatic effects of climate change seem to be disrupting the spiritual or religious worlds of various societies (Gagn and Gergan). Besides being seen as a cause of disturbing weather events and seasonal changes, these occurrences are also regarded as resulting in a further loss of connection with the gods of the land. There is fear that the gods are becoming either unresponsive-they are abandoning us (Gergan and Salas Carre o)-or vindictive-they are becoming increasing angry with us (Bertana and Haberman). The effects of climate change are seen to be both a punishment and a wake-up call. In contrast, some communities strive to represent themselves as invulnerable, immune to catastrophic outcomes. There is no need for worry; God is in control. Is this a form of protective denial, or a form of empowerment that resists hopelessness in the face of the actions and messages of powerful countries located far away? Perhaps it is a perspective that preserves a theological tenet, provides comfort and strength in the face of much uncertainty, and enables people to feel that they have access to a form of alleviation more dependable than formidable distant countries. Religious narratives can supply a sense of hope, control, and meaning in the unpredictable and chaotic environment of the changing climate (Bertana).
5. Loss and Anxiety
A new globalized economic form of development has now spread through most of the world. Heavily dependent on the burning of fossil fuels, it is a major contributor to climate change. But it is also a chief cause of the rupture of traditional ways of coping with challenging changes. Globalized developmental schemes have led to the loss of sacred spaces, community cohesion, traditional modes of life, and familiar landscapes. The emergent phenomenon of climate change is riddled with uncertainty and is the cause of much anxiety. Glaciers are melting rapidly (Drew) and ocean shorelines are being dramatically altered, forcing relocation (Bertana). Climate change threatens the ability of villagers to anticipate future scenarios that are central to their food systems and livelihoods (Kassam). Cultures that feel their traditional ways are under stress from these enormous changes often make efforts to revive them in order to relieve the anxiety caused by the changing climate. Some efforts are in response to what researchers are now calling ecological grief . Psychological methods of coping are being offered in much Western literature, 3 but responses in other societies often entail religious lifeways and rituals. Doubts and anxiety about the effectiveness of such practices, however, are also increasing, as are concerns about the viability of their recovery. Thus, the shattering of traditional ways is seen as both the cause of a disruptive climate as well as a major root of the inability to address it.
Ritual has been used in many societies to negotiate anxiety; but some communities are now beginning to wonder whether the problems brought about by the changing climate are too big for traditional ways of coping with them (Gagn ). People sense a need to bring back right relations with the gods of the land, but how can they achieve it now with the disruptions that accompany new developments and a rapidly changing climate? At the very time when the need to communicate with the gods is greater than ever, recent developments have broken down the ways of accomplishing that communication. The result is greater uncertainty and anxiety and growing dread that established ways of dealing with the challenges caused by a changing climate may no longer be possible (Gergan). Here is an effect of climate change on religious lifeworlds that is for the most part absent from the list of climate disturbances. It is both a form of cultural damage and the loss of efficacious cultural tools. Such situations call for a response that is religious by nature-and far outside the boundaries of standard science.
6. The Pathos and Empowerment of Self-Blame
Sadly, those who have benefited the least from the activities that have caused climate change are often among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Susan Crate and Mark Nuttall (2016) call this a feature of environmental colonialism, asserting, Climate change is the result of global processes that were neither caused nor can be mitigated by the inhabitants of the majority of climate-sensitive world regions now experiencing the most unprecedented change (11). Moreover, there is a cruel irony that those affected most by the changes in climate that have been caused primarily by wealthy nations have the least resources for adaptation. But perhaps most poignant is the phenomenon of self-blame, which is well documented in virtually every chapter of this volume. For the locals, the retreat of glaciers in the Andes implies the culpability of the Andean people themselves (Salas Carre o); villagers in the mountains of Afghanistan believe they are being punished with a changing climate because of the ongoing violence and war (Kassam); in the central Indian Himalaya, climate disruption indicates moral misbehavior and environmental abuse by those who live in and visit the region (Drew and Haberman); the rising sea levels forcing resettlement is understood to be the result of immorality in the local community (Bertana); and the destructive cyclones that hit the Cook Islands are considered to be God s punishment for local sinful acts (Rubow). The self-blame is heartrending because the people blaming themselves often turn out to be people with a very small ecological footprint, contributing only minor amounts to global warming. On the other hand, there is once again something empowering about this perspective in that self-blame involves the assumption that there is something manageable and close at hand that can be done. Here is perhaps one of the greatest differences between scientific accounts and religious ones. Secular climate-change discourse has it that powerful forces on the other side of the globe are really to blame for local disturbances and that there is very little an island community in the South Pacific or a mountain community in Peru or India can do about it. Self-blame offers an explanation that is at least somewhat empowering. Might this phenomenon be seen as a means of psychological survival? Such a religious understanding may allow people to maintain some sense of control over the challenges they face with climate change (Bertana).
7. Conditional Hope on the Brink
It is quite common these days to encounter apocalyptic warnings in scientific writing about climate change. In 1992, for example, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued the World Scientists Warning to Humanity, which was signed by more than seventeen hundred scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences (Kendall 1992). Incorporated into this document was a dire warning that human beings and the natural world are on a collision course. Human activities inflict harsh and often irreversible damage on the environment and on critical resources. If not checked, many of the current practices put at serious risk the future that we wish for human society and the plant and animal kingdoms, and may so alter the living world that it will be unable to sustain life in the manner that we know (1). In other words, the very future of humanity hangs in the balance. Importantly, the scientists urged substantial cutback of greenhouse gas emissions and the phasing out of fossil fuels, the reduction of deforestation, changes in agricultural production, and the reversal of the trend of collapsing biodiversity. If fundamental changes in our relationship with the environment are made, all might be well; if not, the scientists foretell an Earth unable to support the complex web of life. The statement significantly includes an urgent call for a new ethic for care of the Earth. On the twenty-fifth anniversary of the warning, A Second Notice was produced by the Alliance of World Scientists and signed by more than fifteen thousand scientists from 184 countries (Ripple et al. 2017). The second statement increased the urgency of the first considerably, for the scientists found that very little headway had been made toward implementing the strong recommendations of the first report. The second statement too includes an if clause and ends with a call for widespread change, because biological collapse is near and time is running out (1028). The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on global warming repeats much of this ominous warning (IPCC 2018).
Apocalyptic warnings are likewise to be found in the religious narratives throughout this volume. Narikoso villagers report that the rising sea levels will chase them up the hill if they continue to sin (Bertana); Hindus in the central Himalaya warn that if humans do not heed the gods stormy warnings and return to a more beneficial relationship with the natural world, then kaliyug s gruesome end is near (Haberman); and some Quechua people of the Peruvian Andes avow that if the glaciers are not respectfully cared for, they will all melt, and life as they know it will be finished (Paerregaard); or the Last Judgment will arrive (Salas Carre o). The if clauses in all these warnings that give voice to a possible positive outcome are important to note: if the divine warnings are heeded the rising seas will retreat, the storms and menacing floods will cease and the glaciers will return and provide a chance for a better future. Despite the religious tones in some scientific doomsday warnings, religious narratives are significantly different from scientific discourse on climate change. Yet both agree that the changing climate is a sure sign that a dreadful end may be in sight, and both include a moral imperative that involves an if clause: if we change our behavior, then there is still hope. Although the understanding of the nature of this change differs in religious and scientific narratives, one still might question whether what is shared in the collective moral imperatives is worthy of further consideration.
8. Relationship between Climate-Change Science and Religious Worldviews
Research shows that people s perceptions of climate change are largely shaped by cultural ideas that are often at variance with or even in tension with the science-based global discourse on climate change (which itself comes out of certain culturally constructed ideas). But the story is often more complicated than this. Some communities may resist the global discourse in favor of local religious accounts (Bertana), and in other contexts the relationship between scientific discourse and local religious traditions may be more complex and mixed (Rubow). Ethnographic studies demonstrate how indigenous cosmologies, local morality, and national politics intertwine with global discourses on climate change, generating locally specific accounts of the changing climate (Gergan). Despite the appropriation of global climate change as a category within local discourse, most local interpretations remain informed by religious perspectives. Even when religious actors report an understanding and acceptance of the science on climate change, it is often the case that divine agency remains predominant in their explanations (Drew). As already mentioned, a number of the chapters in this volume demonstrate a religious connection between human morality and environmental degradation. Climate scientists would agree with this general assessment, but of course the way it is articulated differs greatly. Again, the question pertains to the degree and kind of overlap there may be. Some religious traditions define the problematic human behavior in terms of sexual immorality, but many others do so in terms of environmental misbehavior. Especially in the latter case, there does seem to be a greater degree of shared aims between religious and secular discourse. Is there a middle ground for productive interaction between the two on the differences that remain? Can the anger of the gods map onto climate science in a significant fashion? What is the range of possibilities with regard to the relationship between religious and scientific explanations? Case studies in this volume suggest that any fruitful outcome will involve a wide assortment of local and culturally determined options.
9. Religious Change
Climate change is causing much else to change, and this certainly includes religion. The ethnographic documentation of the changes in various regions is an important and particular contribution this volume makes to the emerging field of religion and climate change. Indeed, a major claim of this volume is that climate change seems to be acting as a powerful driver of religious transformations and is compelling religious adaptation. Such a claim should provoke serious reflection on the relationship between religious particularities and the planetary ecosystem at a time when the concept of the Anthropocene era wields great power in the environmental humanities. Religion had a conspicuous presence at the climate-change march that drew some four hundred thousand people to the streets of New York in September 2014; religious communities are preaching about climate change, installing solar panels on their buildings, and making other environmentally related changes; every major religious tradition has produced a declaration on climate change; and the chief IPCC climate scientist Rajendra Pachauri wrote in his farewell letter that protection of the planet was his dharma and religion. In this volume, we get a glimpse of the kind of changes that are now underway within local communities in the global South. Some of these changes are happening at a theological level-gods that used to bless are increasingly perceived as punishing (Haberman)-whereas others are changes in religious action: people are interacting with divinized glaciers in new ways (Salas Carre o and Paerregaard) and the efficacy of traditional rituals is being questioned (Gagn ). What does it tell us about religion that climate change can change it in significant ways? Religion is malleable; and religious traditions are always changing in the face of historical challenges. Because the trials of climate change are among the most daunting humanity has ever faced, one would be mistaken to think that religion will not change along with the changing climate or that it will not find an important role to play in the variety of ways climate disruptions will be addressed.
10. Religion and Its Contradictions
The authors of the ten chapters in this volume work with a wide understanding of religion. Although the word appears in every chapter, there has been no attempt to define it with any precision, 4 for, even within this small sampling of investigations into religion and climate change, we can observe the very complex nature of religion, sometimes even within one small region (Rubow and Samson). Just as it is difficult to get a bead on climate change, it is also difficult to get a bead on religion, for both are indistinct and shape-shifting. Religion comforts-no worry, God is in charge-and religion disturbs-the gods are angry, perhaps even abandoning us. Religion is opposed to science, and religion stands alongside science. Religion leads to denial and blockage of effective action with regard to climate change, and religion motivates an awakening that supports effective action. Religion gets people deeper into the natural world, and religion encourages people to escape the natural world. Religion promotes environmental care as a high value, and religion discourages environmental concerns by prioritizing some other realm as more important. We encounter religion in these essays as a set of beliefs, a variety of practices, and the core of community identity. Sometimes a religious tradition maintains hard boundaries around itself, and in other circumstances we find a blending of religious traditions. Although both religion and climate change are difficult to firmly grasp, the essays in this volume demonstrate that they are bound together in significant ways. Tracking them jointly will be increasingly important with each passing day.

So where is the hope or basis for global cooperation in addressing the challenges of climate change? Perhaps the hybrid cases documented in this volume and the new forms of local discourse being worked out in them give some indication of the direction cooperation might take. By definition, nothing certain can be said at this time, but I find myself called to highlight the words found in the final paragraph of Karim-Aly Kassam s chapter: I cannot think of anything more sacred than hopeful action that makes humanity aware that we are inextricably rooted to the planet. I have tried to identify several comparative themes that arise for me while reading these chapters together, but I acknowledge that my summary is far from exhaustive. I encourage the reader to look for more in your own reading of this collective volume.
DAVID L. HABERMAN is Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of River of Love in an Age of Pollution: The Yamuna River of Northern India , People Trees: Worship of Trees in Northern India , and Loving Stones: Making the Impossible Possible in the Worship of Mount Govardhan .
1 . Poul Pedersen (1995) cautions against explanations which assume that values and norms directly determine behaviour (264). It is important to remember that many factors come into play to determine human behavior. Nonetheless, religious values do have a significant impact on shaping human attitudes toward the natural world. Pedersen himself embraces a middle path: I do not say that values are unimportant for the way people relate to their environment (265).
2 . For example, the United Nations has organized several dialogues on harmony with nature within the General Assembly that address climate change.
3 . Much of this work is connected with the field of ecopsychology and is either spearheaded by or associated with Joanna Macy (see Macy and Brown 2014). It aims to embrace the pain and grief associated with ecological loss to open the heart and break through the psychic numbness that keeps us from connecting with others and reaching out in more effectual action.
4 . Although we have intentionally left the definitional boundaries of religion open, most of the authors discuss religion roughly in terms of a set of culturally shaped beliefs and practices related to spiritual or superhuman beings.
Crate, Susan A., and Mark Nuttall, eds. 2016. Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions . New York: Routledge.
Deane-Drummond, Celia, Sigurd Bergmann, and Markus Vogt, eds. 2017. Religion in the Anthropocene . Eugene, OR: Cascade.
De la Cadena, Marisol. 2015. Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds . Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Gardner, Gary. 2002. Invoking the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in the Quest for a Sustainable World . Worldwatch Institute Paper 164. Washington, DC: Worldwatch Institute.
Gerten, Dieter, and Sigurd Bergmann, eds. 2013. Religion in Environmental and Climate Change: Suffering, Values, Lifestyles . London: Bloomsbury.
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Haberman, David L. 2020. Loving Stones: Making the Impossible Possible in the Worship of Mount Govardhan . New York: Oxford University Press.
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Macy, Joanna, and Molly Brown. 2014. Coming Back to Life: The Updated Guide to the Work That Reconnects . Gabriola Island, Can.: New Society.
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Wilkinson, Katharine K. 2012. Between God and Green: How Evangelicals Are Cultivating a Middle Ground on Climate Change . New York: Oxford University Press.

Oceanian Stories
OVER THE PAST DECADE, RESEARCHERS in climate-change science have repeatedly invited the social sciences to take part in the investigation of how climate change affects people around the world. In scientific communities it is accepted that climate change is cocreated by human activities and physical processes in the natural environment and that widely dispersed social action is essential to mitigate and adapt to its effects. At the same time, most studies and discussions about communities responses to climate change seem to revolve around categories like increased sea level rise, perceptions, institutions, or religious beliefs as if they were separate things. The natural sciences are expected to provide the hard facts and the social sciences an understanding of the soft stuff of culture and society, of which religious beliefs are usually considered the most amorphous and unpredictable, by any standards. Much work has been done by social science scholars as a result of the material turn to conceptualize and analyze how the social and the material are entangled (Latour 1993, Descola 2006, Hastrup 2014), which means that hard facts and softer knowledge enter the investigation with quasi objects, quasi subjects, hybridity, and other awkward mixes of collectivities across the sociomaterial.
In this chapter, the investigation is ethnographic, and while staying close to the ethnography, I will focus on entanglements of religious beliefs, islands, cyclones, and climate change. The obvious conclusion about climate-change adaptation and alleviation is that expecting a simple social solution is no less naive than relying on an immediate technological solution. As others have pointed out, neither top-down, policy-led implementation of adaptation nor glossing over the diversity of communities and priorities will enhance the chances for the implementation or success of adaptive strategies (Walshe et al. 2018). But to incorporate the diversity of social and cultural frameworks, among them religious perspectives, into adaptation strategies is a way of increasing complexity and multiplying the number of problems to be solved. Accordingly, this chapter will ask whether the eventual greening of religious beliefs and practices could facilitate changes in environmental attitudes and behavior. It also explores how some aspects of religion can be identified as obstacles to addressing climate change while others are considered to be means of promoting greater awareness and action for dealing with it. On a more positive note, the stories shared here are populated with voices suggesting that responses to climate change have just started. New versions of these responses with new repertoires (that is, the objects and subjects taking part in the enactments) seem to emerge in trading zones, which are, according to Galison (1997), intermediate grounds where people can meet and interact, even when broader ideas and procedures clash. Thus, emerging responses to climate change in trading zones tend to be of a somewhat awkward composition, as if they were thrown together in unfortunate circumstances. They are, nevertheless, new approximated approaches to a seemingly intractable problem.
I park my motorcycle outside Rongo s rectory. Rongo is planning to retire within the next few years after a long career as minister in the Cook Islands Christian Church. If it were up to Rongo, he would return to his home island. It s paradise, he says. You can live from fish, mango, and coconuts. As every other minister in this church, however, he is regularly-normally every fourth year-transferred to a new congregation in the Cook Islands or in New Zealand or Australia. Thus, he has lived on atolls in the far north with fewer than one thousand inhabitants and on the southern volcanic islands, among them Rarotonga, with around seventeen thousand inhabitants. I have met Rongo a few times before, and he has agreed to have a conversation about environmental problems and the possible role of the church in that context. Today he is preparing to paint the veranda, but he invites me to sit down amid covered furniture and other possessions, while family members of many ages occasionally pass by.
I have come to know the Cook Islands Christian Church as a church of what is often termed classical Christianity in Oceania-that is, biblical and conservative. At present, it counts around half the population among its membership, a number that is declining as a result of both secularization and the proliferation of many new churches. I have looked forward to this conversation, eager to know more about ministers and congregations reactions after five cyclones hit the islands in 2005. What I have gathered from conversations and local climate-change reports has led me to conclude that these exceptional cyclones were for many Cook Islanders the first sign that climate change is real.
To my surprise, on this particular day, Rongo starts out by saying that he is not doing any theology in relation to the environment-and that the Cook Islands Christian Church does not play any role concerning climate change. It is not a priority. Rongo quickly qualifies this statement by adding that eco-theology has not been developed locally: he knows of theologians elsewhere in the Pacific who have worked in that area, especially in Fiji, but nobody on these islands seems interested. He thinks that pastors will be inclined to say that the phenomena environmentalists attribute to climate change are actually the works of God. But he has the feeling that pressure might come from the congregations; as far as he remembers, he says, one congregation actually organized a prayer week with the environment as the main topic some time ago.
This is my third field trip to Rarotonga, the largest of the fifteen islands forming the Cook Islands archipelago. I am coming from overseas and have been doing fieldwork with an almost constant feeling of uneasiness, which I think I share, at least on some occasions-as I will show later on-with my interlocutors. As a northern European anthropologist interested in environmental issues and how theologies and broader metaphysical and ethical engagements take part in local understandings of climate change, I look for people who share my interests in some way or another. I am carrying with me the presupposition that climate change is a confluence of real, long-term, and not always readily discernible processes that are deeply entangled with social life. Therefore, climatic changes may look very different in different people s lives. It is, I assume, thinking with Annemarie Mol s (2002) concepts, enacted differently, and with different repertoires : scientific numbers and concepts, experiences from childhood, the Bible, awareness workshops, fact sheets, hopes and worries, and so forth.
During my fieldwork trips, this hypothesis, with all its flexibility, has been confirmed often enough to feed my ethnographic zeal. My strategy is to start conversations without mentioning climate change or religion in order to avoid pushing my interlocutors in those directions. Both topics can narrow the perspective too much when you are searching for an understanding of concrete, lived enactments. It is not surprising that the effect is a sense of getting lost again and again in too many lives and stories of lagoons, cyclones, childhoods, newspaper stories becoming truisms, truisms becoming riddles, proverbs, longings, and sorrows, spawning many new questions for the ethnographer trying to take note of everything.
Of course, sitting now on Rongo s veranda, I wonder why he, after our first few conversations, agreed in the first place to talk with me about theology and the environment when he dismisses theology s role in the environment as unimportant. As we start talking about the islands and his vocation as a minister, I feel lost again, but Rongo seems to be on track. He talks about cyclones-the one in 1967 that blew off their roof and where he, only a child, carried his blind mother to a safe place. And there was cyclone Sally in 1987, on the atoll Penrhyn, which lasted for three days, when he secured a boat right on the veranda, packed with dry clothes and other necessities, covered by a tarpaulin. That s what you do on the outer islands. It s atolls; there are no hills to flee to, he says. There s nothing you can do. You can t decide what Mother Nature does. Rongo was praying, everybody was praying, and they were heard, he says, because no lives were lost.
We talk about the five cyclones that hit Cook Islands in 2005. Rongo understands cyclones as God s punishment. He claims that they do a lot of good things. They clean up the sea, the shore, the island, and the people. It is a punishment for sinful acts-not that you know whose acts; only God knows. Rongo does not want to scare people, he says. The role of the pastor and the church is to help. To go down on the knees and pray.
As I gather from this and other conversations with pastors, the notion of climate change is first and foremost a foreign discourse, supported by some people on the island, the environmentalists, who generally worry too much about the human impact on nature. Rongo and my pastoral interlocutors seem not to be at all convinced that climate is changing due to human impact. God, and with Him Mother Nature s power, is far too strong, and the pastors are more confident about looking for nature s order in the scriptures than in unstable weather patterns. When I read the Bible, another senior pastor explained me, it says that in the age before Noah, people lived longer, sometimes more than eight hundred years. Why so? We don t know, but it s perhaps partly because of the diet, partly because they weren t as exposed to the sun as we are. Those were literally darker times in that age, he explains. Before the flood, in the age of innocence, scripture says that there were two compartments of water, one in the sky, released in the flood, and one compartment in the ground. From that perspective, man s history, the one we know of now, is very short. The pastor goes on to explain that, according to this understanding, we now live in the age of grace (following a theological scheme known as dispensationalism), to be followed by the age of millennium. Is this also what you teach in church? I ask, quite intrigued by this literalist reading and unsure about its standing in the wider community. The pastor answers that it has to be kept simpler in church but that it is taught at the local theological college. I add that it is fascinating that people live with so many different conceptions of time and futurity and wonder how this may play out more concretely. The future has already begun, he answers, referring, I presume, according to his exegesis, to Christ s Second Coming.
According to Rongo s own observations along the shores he knows and the fields where he cultivates taro and greens, he notes remarkable changes. For instance, in the previous year, there were very few mangoes on his home island. Some people say that is because so many people have moved from the island (primarily to Rarotonga, New Zealand, and Australia), Rongo tells me. I have learned from other islanders that they ascribe changes in fruiting patterns to both natural cyclic changes and global warming. Other pastors note that the seasons and the weather patterns have changed; a senior pastor was already told so by his grandmother, he says. Before, the cyclones came with a seven-year interval, and it was possible to predict their arrival, because breadfruit was plentiful and the leaves at the tops of new banana palms were curling up before the storm. Now, too, I am told, the nights are colder, some days are very hot, and animals are moving from one habitat to another. But Rongo s best guess is that the mango trees do not fruit because nobody comes and sits under the trees anymore. He talks to his plants, he says; he prays and sings for them. If you re not doing so, the caterpillars think it s their garden. Those mango trees are used to people.
I have come to understand the cyclones, the flying roof, the prayers, and mango trees in Rongo s stories as a way of explaining, to the outsider, that the world he lives in is not exactly an environment but first and foremost God s creation, permeated by His power and His story with the world. Rongo s surroundings, his islands, and the sea where he catches fish for the family are neither explicable nor meaningfully understood as an ecosystem or as nature ruled by physical laws and regularities. It s more important, I gather, that the islands are endowed with the spirituality of the people and their history with God.
As other researchers have remarked in relation to Oceania, on the face of it, this point of view does not fit with scientific enactments of climate change. Neither does the scientific version of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change fit well when communicated with fact sheets and awareness programs educating islanders about the logic of global warming. This observation sometimes brings scholars of climate-change adaptation to the conclusion that biblical beliefs lead to what they call maladaptive practices (e.g., Weir, Dovey, and Orcherton 2017). Thus, religious perceptions, along with lack of resources and proper institutions, are seen as barriers to adaptation (Betzold 2015, 485). Keeping closer to the ethnographic mood in this chapter, the geographer Nunn (2017), who has worked in innumerable Pacific island communities, suggests turning the perspective 180 degrees around. He states, My research suggests that one reason for the failure of external interventions for climate-change adaptation in Pacific Island communities is the wholly secular nature of their messages. Among spiritually engaged communities, these secular messages can be met with indifference or even hostility if they clash with the community s spiritual agenda (2017). Thus, after reminding the reader about the colonial history in the Pacific, Nunn s plea is that more is to be done ; church leaders are an important potential target for agencies aiming to make a real difference in how Pacific Islanders cope with climate change.
The next time I meet Rongo, he has a report he wants to show me. It was given to him at an environmental workshop on biodiversity that he attended the day before. He is often invited to say the opening and closing prayer in such meetings, and he finds the meetings interesting: some of the things the environmentalists do he finds quite good. It makes good sense, he says, to clean up the island and the beaches-and to protect the endangered species, for instance-just as the United States and the rest of the great nations overseas should make an effort to stop the pollution. Rongo also scorns his fellow islanders for importing far too much rubbish to the island: fast food, malnourishing soft drinks-all creating heaps of waste. Actually, he says, he includes more and more of what he s learned from the environmental meetings in his sermons.
Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to ask what prayers Rongo said at that meeting, but I have attended other environmental workshops where pastors give thanks for the day among silent and attentive groups of people, secular and Christian, all with bowed heads, and remind them about God s ownership of the heavens, the earth, and everything in it and man s stewardship and accountability toward men and nature. And I have noted chairs responding, Thanks to the reverend for reminding us about the great responsibility we owe to the environment, a great challenge beyond our control. Thus, across all the different perceptions of climate change in conservative and biblical Christian church communities and among environmentalists, whom we will meet in the next story, agendas of prayers, protecting endangered species, and cleaning the lagoon are also traded, thereby creating places for at least partially shared concerns.
What I would like to highlight as ethnographically noteworthy in this story is how it can help one grasp that enactments of climate change and adaptation processes do not comprise religious perceptions or beliefs (of an almighty God and, from a secular perspective, harboring a perhaps suspect inherent fatalism) versus adequate scientific knowledge and effective adaptation strategies. Through the concept of enactment, we can think of practices addressing environmental degradation and climate change as both materially and socially created (see Mol 2002). Thus, climate change is much more than a discourse and consequently more than just a scientific fact traveling the world on its own. At once, the physical and social environments are reworked in new enactments.
In the Cook Islands, Rongo and his fellow pastors were not inclined to take up a leadership role in advocating for climate change as a discourse, but that does not mean that they were not daily and deeply engaged with the living world around them. They were much too engaged with otherworldly powers, of course, from a secular perspective. Nunn s plea (or prayer) for a reconciliation between secular and religious efforts seems to weave between, on the one hand, hard-won experience during a long scientific engagement with environmental change and frustrating experiences with adaptation programs in the Pacific and, on the other hand, a good-hearted utopian hope for people to meet and speak one language, merging the spiritual and scientific agendas. Imagine yourself on Rongo s veranda or sitting under a mango tree, translating back and forth between emission levels, sea-level-rise scenarios, listening caterpillars, and God s eternal power. Such an exercise is not just transmitting clear messages or translations among different agendas, discourses, or worldviews; it is the beginning of awkward enactments in a trading zone.
As I will show in the next story, even without religion in the equation, in specific lagoons and in the geosciences, climate change is a multiplicity that is constantly reworked in new versions, in different settings, and with different repertoires. Consequently, I argue, it is important to notice the differences between enactments, and how new enactments-perhaps with only minute changes-are created through certain repertoires such as prayers and workshops.
Muri Lagoon is a spectacular South Seas lagoon with white beaches, sparkling water, coconut palms, a reef, and coral heads encircled by multitudes of colorful fish. It is admired, loved, and considered the most popular beach in Rarotonga, an island with more than one hundred thousand tourists visiting every year. To nature lovers, it is a paradise, a pristine lagoon. Or, at least, it was that a decade ago. Now, more and more often, community members in Muri, consisting of around two hundred households, worry about the condition of the lagoon. They complain, among other things, about erosion, sedimentation, algae bloom, murky sand, and dead coral reefs. It s a national disaster, or so it is described in the local press.
One day I visit Peter, a New Zealander educated in marine sciences and the owner of a shop in the tourist sector. He is busy. He looks after his young child and the business, and yet he kindly tries to explain to me his understanding of the situation. In the back of my mind, I wonder whether residents link the cases of erosion in the lagoon to sea-level rise. The sea-level rise measured by satellite altimeters since 1993 shows that the mean sea-level rise in these waters is around 4 millimeters a year (ABM and CSIRO 2014, 26), in comparison with the mean sea-level rise of 1-2 millimeters per year over the course of the twentieth century (Dickinson 2009). Climate models simulate a rise of between approximately 5-15 cm by 2030, with increases of 20-60 cm indicated by 2090 under the higher emission scenarios (ABM and CSIRO 2014, 37). But again, I m careful not to ask about this right away, unsure about what these figures mean to the local people and how they are translated to this island and to Muri Lagoon. I have, however, attended a meeting setting up the Environment Forum (a three-day-long workshop held on Rarotonga in July 2010), where Peter stated that he does not see a climate-change scenario in which islands will drown from sea-level rise. As long as islands are healthy, he said, the protective reefs will probably be able to grow and thus cope with the rising sea.
Today, we start talking about the many beaches around Rarotonga and the changes he has observed over the past ten years or so. The first thing he remarks on is the local habit of removing stones and coral that the waves continuously bring to the shore-and boulders too-which reach the gardens and roads in storms and cyclones. Doing so is a really bad idea, he says, because it is precisely the material needed to build up the beaches. These islands are alive, he says; the sand is made from the coral and the fish and the constant movement of materials. If the beaches are alive, they will change, and certain seasonal and long-term patterns will evolve. The greatest problem is the way in which people interfere all the time, he continues: the landowners and people leasing governmental and private grounds. In the tourist resort areas (there are around forty tourist-related businesses in Muri), for instance, they change the beach profile in order to make the beach more useful. Clearly, he says, interference makes the beaches more fragile and more prone to erosion, such as when the big boulders from inland are placed at the beach or in harbors in order to protect land, buildings, and other constructions. People call in a contractor and place large quantities of boulders, resulting in completely inappropriate protection devices, with the effect that the neighboring beaches are eroded. Completely overlooked, Peter states, is how the island is first and foremost eroded from local malpractice.
Peter complains that these local habits are quite widespread. At workshops; communal Lagoon Days (dedicated to the cleaning of the lagoon); in the local press; and in conversations, chats, and speeches, people lament the local treatment of the island. Most vocal are the active environmentalists, as Rongo labels them, but there is also a much wider circle of people. The obvious historical mistakes of using explosives for fishing and of removing tons of sand and dead corals for construction work are easy targets. Among the subtler ones are, I am told by an engineer, the misconceptions of the relation between the energy in waves and in the currents, leading people to misinterpret the erosion and accretion patterns of the beaches. Or, as I m asked rhetorically by a local biologist, who will understand and accept the crucial importance of (uneconomic) wetlands to the whole marine ecosystem? We need more knowledge ; it has to be researched better ; we need more regulation and more policing ; people are ignorant ; we lack facts -residents and governmental officers tell each other. The density of the tourist accommodations is too high ; the sewage system is outdated ; and far too many nutrients from agriculture and polluting detergents reach the fragile lagoons, causing algae blooms. As I learn from the Environment Forum and from reports written by external experts about the condition of Muri Lagoon over the years, the list of environmental disasters identified during the past decades as being caused by local malpractices is indeed long. One notable effect is that the island, more and more, slowly but steadily, has been conceptualized and practiced as an environment : as an in-principle strong natural ecosystem with many riches but now endangered by a large population and a growing tourist industry and only slowly regulated by the political and practical infrastructure.
In a series of interviews that a member of a local environmental organization and I conducted with senior residents, we were told many stories about Rarotonga before the island became such an environment. There were remarkable stories about large schools of young fish swarming the lagoon, each fish with its own season, of high beaches with loads of sand, rich vegetation on the upper part of the beach, sparkling turquoise water, and regular trade winds from the southeast for weeks and weeks. There were stories about the community s fishing parties, horse-riding competitions on the beach, and the first odd Europeans living in small huts. Stories of a stabler past were vested with a sense of nostalgia, whereas the present patterns seemed impossible to interpret: an unstable environment careening in weird directions. As one of the keen-and indeed very worried-members of the local environmental organization remarked, The fruit trees go crazy all year round. It used to be seasonal. We knew the seasons for the oranges, the chestnuts, and the mangoes. Now we seem to get mangoes, oranges, and lemons all year round, even starfruits, and breadfruit. On the one hand it is good, since we get fruit all year. On the other hand, the change is frightening, scary. Watching the documentaries on climate change, in Tuvalu, for instance, you are imagining it will be like that one day, especially at the outer islands.
According to Peter, it is not at all clear what is happening on the island, especially in the lagoon he knows so well from many years of sailing, swimming, and diving. These islands are very dynamic, he states. The government and the community have managed to deal with only a few of the problems, and he, like many other Rarotongans I met, observed that climate change is only the latest of a long series of environmental problems. Peter s conclusion this afternoon is that climate change is not well researched, nobody offers it attention here-and nothing happens. And by implication, as I understood it, on these islands, it is extremely difficult to act on climate change.
As I gather from conversations with many other Cook Islanders-the local meteorologist, governmental officers, people in the business sector, and others-to them this means that the present and future effects of climate change are debatable and diffuse and, on top of that, practically impossible to act on locally. We have to wait and see what will happen, I m often told. Thus, climate change is understood as another environmental problem, the latest bad news on a long list the islands have to cope with. Simultaneously, islanders also sometimes express with frustration, or sometimes with a less energized despondency, that climate change is a global problem with long-term causes and effects. It is thus difficult to calibrate concrete efforts to prepare to local scales and immediate time frames.
It is difficult even for islanders with intimate knowledge of the beaches and lagoons to translate some of the main scientific projections of climate change in the region-cyclone activity and sea-level rise-into local effects for these dynamic islands and the wider environment. As previously mentioned, Cook Islands was hit by five cyclones in 2005, four of them reaching category five (the highest rating of severity) in one extreme season, causing no casualties but leaving the impression that something unusual was taking place. A complete list of cyclones compiled by geographer Fes de Scally after this catastrophic season showed that between 1820 and 2006, the average number of cyclones per year in the Cook Islands was 0.8. A closer analysis of the intensity and frequency of the cyclones over time led de Scally (2008) to conclude that the number of seasons with three or more cyclones had increased since the mid-1970s. De Scally also notes, however, that the apparent increase is almost certainly attributable to the beginning of satellite monitoring of cyclones. (2008, 455). As a result, de Scally adds, in accordance with other meteorological sources, these increases cannot be attributed to global warming without a longer record and a better understanding of the role of cyclones in the general circulation of the atmosphere and ocean.
As I have shown at greater length elsewhere (Rubow 2013, 2018), cyclones and islands do not exist solely as bracketed, isolated, or self-contained physical phenomena. The havoc created when cyclones smash into islands-when cyclones and islands are hurled and whirled together-illustrates a fundamental entanglement of natural and social processes. Moreover, even though the rise in present and projected sea levels has raised global concern that Oceanian islands will soon be swamped, scientific studies confirm that the land masses of islands among those considered to be most endangered have so far seemed to keep up. A study of twenty-seven atolls by Webb and Kench (2010) showed that most of the atolls had either grown or remained unchanged. A more recent study of the 101 islands that Tuvalu comprises, comparing aerial photographs spanning several decades with recent satellite imagery, confirms, maybe somewhat surprisingly, that islands can persist on reefs under the present rates of sea-level rise and that documented changes in islands throughout Tuvalu are considered to be driven by environmental rather than anthropogenic processes (Kench, Ford, and Owen 2018). However, the authors caution that it is unclear whether the islands will continue to maintain their size at faster rates of sea-level rise.
Climate projections themselves illustrate the thrown-togetherness of cyclones and islands as composite objects, assembled as they are from simulations, figures, photographs, and scientific models of weather phenomena. Of course, science is a great way to disentangle phenomena and isolate certain processes, among them the ways in which cyclones in many instances seem to build up islands by depositing large quantities of sediment, while at the same time they may erode important inhabited areas. Apart from scientific riddles about the specific nature of present and future changes, we can add, on each and every island, diverse social factors (which are, of course, already there) and see how quickly everything is entangled in a manner that makes projections, choices, and solutions very difficult. How are the predicted intensification of cyclones and sea-level rise translated into the lived environment? Even when religious prophecies are excluded from consideration, and cyclones are not seen as God s punishment for swimming in the sea instead of going to church on Sundays-or worse sins-the cyclones and accelerated sea-level rise amount to very unstable and porous phenomena, open to both manifold interpretations and many types of action.
Do you secure a boat on the veranda or flee to a hill in your car packed with the community s most precious books when a cyclone builds up? As a landowner in Muri Lagoon, do you look for funds and materials to build another seemingly robust seawall? Do you engage yourself in the efforts of the local government and the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in updating yet another disaster management plan, join an international NGO aiming at raising awareness among the greatest CO 2 sinners, or pursue your dreams about moving your family to higher ground? Are you happy, despite the associated property damage, that the latest storm seemed to flush the lagoon so effectively with fresh seawater that the algae bloom disappeared? Are you seeking inspiration in some of the traditional ways of predicting bad weather and managing food security? Do you ask the pastor to come to your awareness workshop and hope for his support even though you think the church is not active enough?
These actions all represent some of the repertoires of enactments of cyclones and islands. They go in many directions and can produce tensions among those having diverse lived experiences, but they are not necessarily more awkward than external interventions promoting adaptation to climate change, such as proposals to build safer, climate-change-proofed harbors or to develop resilience through blogs, climate-change workshops, consultations, and meetings in Nadi, Copenhagen, and Bonn.
The group of environmentalists (as Rongo labeled them) I met in Muri Lagoon seemed not at odds with their own understanding when they gathered their forces around initiatives that could protect the lagoon from the community s negative impact. They and their governmental and international partners worked on upgrading the sewage system, campaigned against using polluting detergents, and made critical assessments of their own-and other locals -waste disposal habits. At an opening of an exhibition on Muri Lagoon, an environmental officer who had traveled to the United Nations Climate Change Conferences for years and convened countless awareness workshops and local climate-change assessments summarized it like this: Keeping the lagoon healthy may turn out to be the best way to prepare for climatic changes. (See also Rubow 2015.) Thus, focusing on the local, current human impact in this particular environment was perhaps the best way of preparing for the unknown future during accelerated global warming: a great challenge in itself, powered by love and frustration and inspired by scientific knowledge and local wisdom.
During a workshop on climate migration in Fiji in 2015, a group of liberal theologians from Pacific and Caribbean Protestant traditions argued that climate change is a crisis moment, where we rethink how we live and how we think about God. Throughout the talks and discussions, they argued that we need to undergo an ecological conversion -climate change is a moral and spiritual concern. In other words, climate change is not only a religious concern or something to which religions should respond: the root of the problem is religious and should lead to the basic questions about who we are and who God is.
At the workshop, the point of departure was that climate change is an unprecedented, anthropogenic threat to the Pacific islands. The time frame is conceptualized as very short, in an urgent presentism, as a crisis moment, and as an anticipation of a great challenge in the decades to come. Maybe the first communities in Oceania migrating because of coastal erosion and storm surge are not directly or solely prompted by global warming (the famous and disputed examples of the Carteret Islands and a few more were reviewed), but many will follow, and it is consequently critical to prepare for them.
Indeed, since the 1980s, greater awareness about global environmental changes has caused theological mobilization (Gerten and Bergman 2011). In the 1990s, statements were issued by the world s major religions showing a remarkable convergence around a position that critiques treating global warming as only a problem for secular modernity. Such statements have shown aspirations of thinking the ecological crisis through religiously informed notions of stewardship, Mother Earth, and other sacralized notions of nature (Chaplin 2016). To complicate things, however, as Taylor, Van Vieren, and Zaheka (2016) have shown, despite overt examples of a greening of religion, that the majority of religious individuals and groups remain mostly indifferent to environmental concerns, or such concerns, although professed, remain of such a low priority that they do not produce politically effective environmental action (348).
As previously mentioned, the Cook Islands Christian Church had taken a hesitant position, often associated with conservative and biblical churches. But congregations and religious leaders elsewhere in Oceania have been outspoken. Statements such as the Otin Taai Declaration (World Council of Churches 2004), issued by the Pacific Conference of Churches as a result of the Pacific Churches first major consultation on climate change, have called for societal change and new ways to theologize climate change and, moreover, efforts have also been made to acclimatize the Bible to traditional Pacific teachings :

Throughout the Bible from the Genesis creation story onward, we learn about God s love for the earth and all its creatures including humanity. The Biblical understanding of the wholeness and inter-relatedness of all creation has some similarities to the traditional Pacific teachings about the land known as Vanua/Fonua/Whenua/Enua and the ocean referred to as Moana. The implications of this vision include the need for us humans to live with respect and humility within God s creation. Responding to God s love for creation, we are called to care for the earth and limit destructive activities such as those that contribute to climate change. (World Council of Churches 2004)
Building on the tradition of contextual theology by Havea (1986), Tuwere (2002), and Boseto (1992), among others, for whom incarnation means to contextualize, that is, interpret and translate the scriptures within the horizon of Oceanic indigenous teachings and religions, new eco-theologies have emerged. And so, after centuries and decades in which missionaries, religious leaders, and congregations have detached Christianity from indigenous religions, the current turn hinges on valuing traditional teachings as rich repositories for contextual eco-theology (Rubow and Bird 2016). In Waves of God s Embrace , Halapua (2008) states, I write with a deep oceanic sense of interconnectedness with creation, with others and with the mystery of the God who calls into being all things (3). It is Halapua s wish to convey how the sea, Moana, is both a mystery and a peril, as well as a harbinger of a sense of being embraced and of awe and of being in the presence of the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon and the stars (5).
At the 2015 workshop in Fiji, as it unfolded over some days, it is not only eco-theology that inspired pastors and church representatives. Many references were made to the world economy, postcolonialism, old patriarchal hierarchies, gender issues, and many more politically laden subjects, signaling the core group s liberal outlook. Presentations and discussion points from church representatives revolved more often around the acute challenges in the communities they knew best: water scarcity, inundation, and lack of resources to educate the communities. Often the conveners were reminded how crucial it is to reach out and to walk the talk with the affected communities, often located many days of traveling away. In short, it was a workshop with many voices, a potential trading zone, with many discourses-and, it seemed to me, also many occasions of uneasiness: jokes that fell to the ground, presentations that were difficult to follow (now for some listeners, now for others), silent sighs, and as I will show, telling outbursts of regret and moans.
The workshop was arranged and funded by a Christian partnership organization dating back to the early days of mission in Oceania in the nineteenth century, with many Pacific churches among its members. I had been asked to give a presentation too-about the reception of climate change in the Cook Islands-and about my more general anthropological interest in Christian and secular responses to climate change. I took the invitation as another illustration of the liberal outlook of the organizers, and I will include an auto-ethnographic twist to this story. My presentation revolved around the mixed response to climate change in the Cooks and the pastors and also other responses that may be said to fall somewhere between the religious and the secular. Among them, versions with a self-proclaimed secularity are among the most challenging, both ethnographically and theoretically (compare Taylor 2016), but nevertheless important, in my perspective, if we are not going to leave spirituality and experiences of transcendence and enchantment to organized religion, be it Christian, traditional, or indigenous.
Thus, in my talk I underscored, firstly, the idea that the identification of concrete present and future changes that result from climate change along the shores of the Pacific islands is tricky, because data and projections are insecure. Secondly, I pointed out that people s identification with the islands is not less so. I suggested that those two issues of identification can be approached from any of three repertoires:
One way is to identify with one s surroundings as nature. Here the repertoire consists of concrete things, objects, and species as they inhabit the outdoors: atolls, reefs, lagoons, and the ocean are seen as physical entities and habitats for animals and human beings, modified through seemingly endless seasons and geological eras. A lagoon can then be enacted as nature by a scientist measuring geological change, as a resource by providing food and building material, or as a great outdoor site where admirers praise a landscape s extraordinary beauty.
A second way of identification is to see the land and the sea as the environs of one s home: the environment communities interact with, live by, use, and care for. Notions of interactions, feedback systems, and interrelations will usually arise here. As an environment, it is typically socialized as such, with care and worries, and perhaps intimate knowledge about the seasons and species, and about how humans in particular affect the environment.
The third way in which people identify with their surrounding world, I suggest, is as a source of imagination and enchantment. This distinction is, of course, analytical, but identification zooms in on how nature or the environment offers, in some instances, experiences of inspiration, comfort, respect, and passion. Perhaps most relevant to the workshop was the assertion that one can enact one s surroundings, whether urban or rural, as a home and as a nourishing source of life, physically and mentally. Islands, lagoons-and cyclones, for that matter-spur the imagination in both secular and religious directions. In Muri Lagoon, at least, I was constantly reminded about the passion and respect with which environmentalists, fisherfolk, sailors, and tourists expressed their feelings about the beauty, importance, and grandeur of the lagoon; the enchantment of, as Rongo and others often said, Mother Nature (Rubow 2015). Many family resemblances seem to occur between secular and religious ways of identifying with one s surroundings in intense ways-sometimes leading to concrete environmental actions.
It was not so easy for my presentation to enter the main conversations, because its perspective leveled out differences among Christianities and also among Christianities and other spiritualities and enchantments. In an anthropological account of the world, as I envision it, the repertoires appear in different enactments, and neither God, people, climate change, cyclones, nor the sea can enter the equation alone, without brackets, that is, the social context. Thus, during the workshop, I carried on with an ethnographic stance, unable to contribute to the main objective: how to prepare religiously for climate change.
The pastors and scholars who spoke were working with great dedication to change classical theologies and church practices. They were persistent critics of conservative, literal readings of the Bible and talked vehemently about reforming the traditional metaphysics characterizing both the classical mainline Christian churches and the new evangelical churches. They wanted to turn away from the anthropocentric preoccupation with an otherworldly future salvation of the individual soul and pleaded for translating old images of a sovereign and transcendent God into more earth-oriented theologies. Climate change now calls forth a reformation of Oceanian theologies, they said, just as colonization and other exercises of domination, atomic bomb testing, logging, and other types of environmental degradation have in the past prompted religious responses. The speakers encouraged the representatives, pastors, and laypeople to take part in the paradigm shift. A playful atmosphere peeked through again and again, and the pastors jokingly confided that they would probably burn in hell, by implication, if they were judged by the conservative paradigm s standards. They made a plea for new, hopeful ecotheologies, a new ark-building, by reinvigorating the Christian tradition and building on Oceanic environmental approaches, policy making, ecumenical collaboration, and church work in the communities.
The workshop was extremely lively, and many perspectives on climatic and environmental changes were shared. The invitation to a reformed and environmentally engaged Christianity was developed in many directions. Stories from various islands about erosion and accretion, past migration patterns, energetic and-judging from the reactions-often provocative Bible readings were mixed with reflection on the difficulties of preparing for the future, including the prospects of future relocation of communities. Also, more critical cautions about the paradigm change were voiced. How exactly could this change come about? And what concrete actions could the church communities take? Among the representatives, the mood was at times very quiet, sometimes so quiet that the silences became dense in a telling way. Unsure about the mutual understanding between the participants and what precisely the silences were saying, I started to inquire a bit between the sessions. In a coffee break, an island pastor told me that he would lose his job if he brought back home this new gospel. And another representative added with tears in the eyes, The worst is when they [the liberal speakers] talk about going to hell . . . they think they are such smart scholars. In short, some tensions reached the table, while others-perhaps some very serious ones among them-found expression over coffee and in the corridors.
No doubt the well-intentioned religious change in the wake of climate change, politically, environmentally, and religiously motivated, initiated a stream of awkward conversations, bouncing off in many directions. The participants struggled to reach out, yet sometimes the elastic between positions was close to snapping. The theologizing of climate change has started in the Oceanic Christianities with engaged declarations and new eco-theologies and will eventually gain more importance insofar as the churches, as Nunn pointed out, are central institutions in many island communities. But just as climate change does not travel alone, the greening of religion has many hesitant and complicating companions. Taking into consideration the manifold versions of Christianity, the complex environmental problems involving both local practices and anthropogenic drivers, and the wide array of secular concerns pertaining to the states and the communities and the tight economies, the climate-change stories will necessarily multiply in many awkward versions.
In this chapter, the stories started on verandas, with children playing; among consoling prayers, caterpillars, and cyclones; and among inhabited lagoons and islands, in the midst of a sea of change. In everyday practices, in the communities, in the fields of taro, in broken sewers, and in countless workshops and climate-change adaptation programs, the pace of change appears to be slower than it is in the discourse of global warming since the 1980s. But the discourse is settling in and producing many offspring, so to speak; it is gaining a body multiple, to quote Mol (2002), whose concept of enactment has served as an inspiration for the ethnographic exploration described here. Even before the 1980s, we must remember, warnings had already been issued, over almost two centuries, from Alexander von Humboldt onward. Yet in most corners of the world, the reorientation has just started.
The three stories have played out instances of trading zones where different enactments of climate change and commitments are unfolding in a living social and natural environment. Ethnographically, they are located in different island contexts, yet when woven together, they tell a story about how perceptions, denials, and acceptances of climatic change and adaptive malpractices are intertwined with ways of doing cyclones and lagoons and thus, in Mike Hulme s words, with the ways in which people pay their duties to others, to nature, and to their deities (2009, 144). In the Cook Islands, across the Oceanic communities, and across many interests, types of identification, and duties, trading zones are continuously established in workshops, meetings, functions, and conversations, where what is created are not exactly agreements-maybe rather the opposite-but they are nevertheless venues for new approximated enactments of the social and cultural world they inhabit.
By way of integrating the religious responses into the wider fabric of society and nature-both the scientific findings and the secular enchantments-the intention in this chapter has been to show how the diverse Christianities in Oceania not only involve beliefs but are constantly entangled with both the social and the natural environment. They are ways of living. Moreover, and in line with this, it is not possible to compartmentalize secular perceptions about the environment in lived practice so as to locate knowledge squarely on one side and worries, fears, and hopes on the other side. By considering the ways in which the voices and lives that peopled the stories identified with the environmental and climatic changes, the stories illustrate new and uneasy encounters between different versions and visions of the world that will multiply in Oceania, and beyond.
CECILIE RUBOW is Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen. Her key research area is in the intersections among environmental change, ecological sensibilities, and cosmology. She is author of the article Woosh: Cyclones as Culturalnatural Whirls: A Case from the South Pacific.
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ALTHOUGH CLIMATE CHANGE INCREASES ANNUAL temperatures on average globally, it does not increase them everywhere to the same degree. High mountains are one of the ecosystems that are facing the greatest escalation in temperatures, which directly affects glaciers. Glacial melt in high mountains has already globally contributed 28 percent of the water in rising sea levels, and glacial loss in the high mountains is accelerating in many regions (Pachauri and Reisinger 2007; Thompson 2010).
This chapter examines a complex scenario in which indigenous practices are deeply entangled and copresent with Catholicism at a pilgrimage to a Christian shrine that is near and profoundly linked to a glacier. Andean indigenous practices presuppose the agency and intentionality of any place that has a proper name. Glaciers, being on the highest mountains, are recognized as powerful agents who provide all types of fertility (Allen 2002; De la Cadena 2015). Global warming is affecting the glacier, and this chapter analyzes how the pilgrims practices involving the glacier are shifting and adapting to the changes. It is based on ethnographic research of the pilgrimage accumulated during the last twenty-three years. I went to the pilgrimage for the first time in 1996. Since then I have attended its main rituals in twelve years carrying out ethnographic research (including observation, participant observation, informal conversations, interviews, and photographic and video recording). I attended it both as an individual and as part of highland rural communities delegations that included dance troupes.
Highland indigenous peoples practices that mediate their relations with the environment are crucial in their responses to these challenges of climate change and, in the process, their practices are themselves being changed by it. Indigenous practices that mediate their relations with the environment usually do not conform to the nature-society dichotomy. Their practices usually treat nature as involving qualities attributed to humans, like agency and intentionality. Thus, many indigenous practices often violate the nature-society divide that is at the core of modern worlds (Latour 1993). Transcending modern notions of reality, indigenous practices tend to be associated with the supernatural and framed as religious. Although there are many ways to conceptualize religion and productive ways in which indigenous practices can be framed as religious, here I emphasize an understanding of religion as one of the social fields, together with science and politics, that were constituted through separating humans from nonhumans, society from nature, in the historical emergence of modern worlds (Latour 2010; Smith 1991). Hence, I understand the Andean indigenous practices I discuss in this chapter as related to but transcending religion. They do not conform to the divide and hence cannot conform to the supernatural (Mannheim and Salas Carre o 2015). Andean indigenous practices are related to religion because they and the worlds they enact coexist and are deeply related with worlds that have emerged from the nature-society divide. They cannot be understood in isolation of each other, yet they cannot be thoroughly translated to each other (De la Cadena 2015). I avoid framing these indigenous practices as religious because doing so would erase their excesses and tacitly inscribe them within the nature-society divide. To so inscribe them would be problematic because the nature-society divide is at the core of anthropogenic climate change (Chakrabarty 2009). This issue is closely related to the notion of moral meteorology proposed by Burman (2017) that will be discussed toward the end of this chapter.
Because climate change has a strong impact on glaciers, they have been gaining international attention. As Cruikshank (2005) states, most of the world s glaciers now seem to be melting rather than reproducing themselves, becoming a new kind of endangered species (6). The worrisome and accelerating speed of glacier retreat in the Andes endangers high mountainous ecosystems and livelihoods, as well as the cities that depend on glaciers for water. Glacier retreat has already caused changes in water supply and seasonal availability and deterioration of its quality (Mishra and Verbist 2017; Orlove 2009; Vuille et al. 2008). These changes signal a more challenging future: Given the current climatic context, and the future changes in atmospheric temperature projected by both global and regional climate models, many glaciers in the tropical Andes could disappear during the 21th [ sic ] century, and those located below 5,400 m.a.s.l. [meters above sea level] are the most vulnerable (Rabatel et al. 2013, 97).
Some glaciers, because of their cultural relevance and fame, have been particularly important in the narratives showing the consequences of climate change. This is the case, for example, with Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa and Glacier National Park in Montana, United States (Orlove 2009, 24). While less widespread, the case of the Quyllurit i pilgrimage-the biggest of the Peruvian Andes-is acquiring similar fame. Its shrine, about seventy kilometers east of the city of Cuzco, in the southern Peruvian Andes, lies just at the bottom of the Qulqipunku glacier and has a strong relation with it. This makes the Quyllurit i pilgrimage particularly important for considerations of the impact of glacial retreat on indigenous worlds and practices. Articles about the impact of climate change on the pilgrimage have appeared in the main Peruvian newspapers (e.g., Guerrero 2008; Ram n 2010) and foreign media outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal (Regalado 2005), BBC World (Plitt 2010), and NPR (Dupraz-Dobias 2016).
The glacial ice of the Qulqipunku is quickly receding. 1 Figures 2.1 and 2.2 provide comparisons that give a glimpse of the degree and speed of the retreat during much of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It is clear from these photos that, though the retreat from 1933 to 1979 was considerable, the drastic change between 1999 and 2016 shows that the retreat is swiftly accelerating. These dramatic transformations produced by climate change are related to discussions about the Anthropocene, a proposed new era in which human impacts on the planet are comparable to geological forces. Some have proposed that a better term would be Capitalocene, suggesting the impact that capitalism and its dependence on fossil fuels is having on the planet (Chakrabarty 2009; Haraway 2015). Preference for the latter term indicates that the responsibilities for climate change should not be ascribed to an undifferentiated humanity (as suggested by the prefix anthropo-), but to the main beneficiaries of capitalism and their associated high emissions of CO 2 .
Capitalism coemerged with what Latour (1993) calls the Modern Constitution , a particular ontological configuration based on the construction of nature as opposed to society through a constant work of purification . Purification is crucial in the construction of our modern world, a world in which the representation of things through the intermediary of the laboratory is forever dissociated from the representation of citizens through the intermediary of the social contract (27). The constant work of purification that separates nature and society paradoxically has allowed moderns to carry out the work of mediation -human interventions in nature-on an unprecedented scope in human history, producing the current global environmental situation (Latour 1993; 2015).

Figure 2.1. Photographs taken from the shrine during the main days of the pilgrimage. Although they are not taken from the exact same spot nor with the same lens, they give an idea of the process of glacial retreat. The 1933 photo is by Mart n Chambi; 1979 photo by Julia Chambi; 2002 and 2008 photos by the author; and 2016 photo by Jos Enrique Solano.
A world should be understood in this text as emerging through historically contingent practices inscribed in heterogeneous networks of humans and nonhuman things and beings. Ethnographic work has shown extensively how other worlds radically depart from modern assumptions of what is real (e.g., Descola 2005; Viveiros de Castro 1998). The existence of multiple sets of practices-carrying different assumptions of the nature of the world-cultivated by very heterogeneous human societies within different environments, implies that there are multiple copresent worlds (Blaser 2013; Mol 2002).

Figure 2.2. Photographs taken from approximately the same location, close to the Machu Cruz high pass, after Tuesday s Mass of Blessing that marks the end of rituals in the shrine. The shrine can be seen at the bottom of the pictures. Photo from 1999 by the author; photos of 2013 and 2016 by Karina Pacheco.
In the Quyllurit i pilgrimage, as in many other contemporary contexts, modern worlds and those that do not emerge from the nature-society divide are copresent, hierarchically organized, and entangled in-open or silent-conflicts over their actual existence (De la Cadena 2015). The state institutions or disciplines of knowledge in various modern worlds, as part of the work of purification, routinely frame practices that transcend the nature-society divide as folklore, popular beliefs, or superstition, confining them to religion or culture, and negating their world-making consequences. This type of conflict over what is real is what Blaser (2013) calls ontological conflicts, and the type of politics that emerges from them is what de la Cadena (2010) calls indigenous cosmopolitics. As Burman (2017, 931) claims, climate change implies low-intensity ontological conflicts in the Andes and surely elsewhere. After examining how the Quyllurit i pilgrims organizations have been addressing glacier retreat, I will touch briefly on these issues, as well as those related to the Andean moral meteorology (Burman 2017), that are implicit in how pilgrims experience the effects of climate change.
The Quyllurit i (white shining ice) 2 pilgrimage is undertaken on the days before the Corpus Christi festivity, which takes place at the end of May or beginning of June. 3 It is the most important pilgrimage in the bilingual Quechua-Spanish society of the southern Peruvian Andes. The Quyllurit i shrine lies forty-eight hundred meters above sea level in the Sinaqara moraine valley, at the bottom of the Qulqipunku (silver gate) glacier. During the main days of the pilgrimage this quiet high place becomes inundated with more than a hundred thousand pilgrims. The pilgrimage was declared part of the National Cultural Patrimony in 2004 and was placed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list of UNESCO in 2011 (UNESCO 2011; INC 2004). 4
Its proximity to the glacier as well as many of its associated practices relate this Catholic shrine with the indigenous ways of experiencing the landscape (Sallnow 1987). Glaciers, mountains, and all places that have proper names are material beings endowed with power and intentional agency within Quechua worlds. As widely reported in Andean ethnographies, these earth beings, as Marisol de la Cadena (2015) calls them, are the source and owners of all types of fertility (e.g., Allen 2002; Gose 1994; Ricard 2007; Sallnow 1987). Being owners and sources of fertility, mountains and other named places are related to human beings through patterns of food provision and forms of cohabitation. They feed humans and give them places to inhabit and work; humans offer them food in order to maintain and promote good relationships. The beings materiality is crucial for feeding humans through harvests and herds, as well as allowing humans to dwell and cohabit with them (Salas Carre o 2016). High mountains are addressed with the honorific apu ; 5 and glacial peaks, being bigger and higher than most mountains, are considered to be the most powerful among them. Apu Ausangate, the highest peak of Cuzco, is the owner of the whole region.
Apu Qulqipunku is unavoidable for any pilgrim visiting Quyllurit i because of their proximity to each other. The apu, however, is not the center of the pilgrimage; it is a big rock that has an image of a crucified Christ painted on it. The Brotherhood of Se or de Quyllurit i (Lord White Shining Ice) slowly built a large church over this rock during the second half of the twentieth century. Currently the image rock is behind the main wooden colonial baroque-style altarpiece (see fig. 2.3 ). The altarpiece covers most of the rock, leaving only the Christ image visible to most pilgrims (Salas Carre o 2006). The church does not have benches. Pilgrims permanently crowd it during the pilgrimage. More than a hundred dance troupes wait in long lines to perform inside it in front of Taytacha Quyllurit i (Dear Father White Shining Ice).
The image rock is related to Apu Qulqipunku in several ways. The first is indicated by the name Quyllurit i itself, that is, White Shining Ice . 6 Quyllurit i is not the toponym of the place where the shrine is-which is Sinaqara-but rather the name of the image rock. Its very name connects the image rock with Apu Qulqipunku s glacial ice. A sequence of practices that dancers and priests perform also clearly connect the agency of the glacier to the miraculous power of the image rock. Catherine Allen (1997) has shown the indigenous logic that connects the glacier with the image rock and accounts for why the latter is particularly miraculous. The pilgrimage, however, is not only a complex assemblage of indigenous practices that have appropriated and indigenized elements of Catholicism. To characterize it as such would be to oversimplify much of it. There is great diversity in the forms of participation in the pilgrimage.
The Quyllurit i pilgrimage grew steadily during the twentieth century and has grown even more in the last decades with the construction of the Transoceanic Highway that led to the asphalting of the road that passes close to the shrine. 7 The pilgrimage growth during the last and current centuries is related to the concurrent and steady increase of rural-urban mobility and migration across the Andes (see Diez 2014). Mobility not only brings more pilgrims but also raises the sociocultural diversity at the shrine during the pilgrimage and increases the predominance of urban pilgrims who kept cultivating the practices of their rural forefathers. Hence, culturally indigenous dance troupes attending the pilgrimage are coming not only from small rural communities but also increasingly from urban spaces. In addition, the pilgrimage is attended by both people coming from the region-rural communities and the current majority of urban pilgrims-and outsiders who participate in, observe, and study it: journalists, filmmakers, anthropologists, and tourists. There is also a small but growing presence of New Age pilgrims, both Peruvian and foreign.

Figure 2.3. The Quyllurit i shrine during the main days of the pilgrimage. Toward the center left is the church that was constructed over the rock with the crucified Christ image, Lord Quyllurit i. Photo by Jos Enrique Solano, 2016.
Visitors bring with them a variety of presuppositions about the pilgrimage, as well as a diversity of ways to participate in it. Rather than a single one, multiple pilgrimages coexist at the shrine. 8 I illustrated some of this multiplicity in a previous work by featuring New Age pilgrims, Catholic priests, and pilgrims from a highland Quechua community (Salas Carre o 2014). Though in proximity to each other, and even despite interactions between them, the pilgrims do not participate exactly in the same pilgrimage. The main focus of the pilgrimage varies between Christ as an immaterial being, the material Christ image rock, and the glacier. Furthermore, a person is not necessarily bound to experience only one pilgrimage. The framing of the interaction may lead the same pilgrim to relate to Lord Quyllurit i as the immaterial Christ in some contexts and then as the material image rock in others without experiencing confusion or contradiction. For regional pilgrims whose main intention is to visit Lord Quyllurit i and request his favor, the diversity of frame falls into two main patterns of participation that vary on how they relate to the glacier. One pattern relates by means of dance troupes and, crucially, ukuku dancers. The other is that of the pilgrims who relate without a ritual role.
Each dance troupe that attends the pilgrimage comes from a particular community, town, neighborhood association, or other kind of collective. Each troupe has its leaders, sponsors, musicians and nondancing companions, all of whom go to the shrine on behalf of the whole collective, part of which stays home. The primary objective of the dance troupe is to accompany their demanda , 9 a wooden box containing a miniature Lord Quyllurit i-typically a photograph-from home to the shrine and back. Once in the shrine, the troupes demandas accompany Lord Quyllurit i at the church s altar, remaining there during the troupes presence in the shrine. They leave the company of Lord Quyllurit i only after the Mass of Blessing. This transforms the demandas into other bodies of Taytacha Quyllurit i, so much so that pilgrims treat them with the same etiquette used for the image rock. Escorted by the dancers, the demandas then go back to bless the community or neighborhood of origin.
All dance troupes have two types of dancers. The first one portrays a stylized version of spatial and temporal otherness, such as the merchants of the high southern plateau or the indigenous peoples of the Amazon (C nepa 1998; Mendoza 2000). The second type includes the ukuku , pawlucha , or pablito and is similar across all dance troupes. Some communities regard the second type of dancers as bears of the rainforest or sons of a bear and a woman (Allen 1983), llamas or alpacas (Flores Ochoa 1990), or even a combination of alpacas and bears (Ricard 2007). Others view them not as animals, but as the soldiers of the Lord (Salas Carre o 2010). The ukuku dancers are in charge of keeping discipline within the group and order in the pilgrimage, yet they are also subversive and burlesque characters who mock fellow pilgrims or people with whom the troupe interacts (Ricard 2007; Sallnow 1987).

Figure 2.4. Ukuku dancers descending from the glacier carrying their nation s cross to the church. Photo by the author, 1998.
Each dance troupe is part of one of the eight naciones (nations) 10 that broadly correspond to contemporary provincial jurisdictions. The following discussion is a brief description of the ways in which the dancers related to the glacier that I recorded toward the end of the 1990s, a pattern that continues today with some modifications and a significant difference. At 2:00 a.m. on the Tuesday before Corpus Christi (which is always celebrated on a Thursday), the ukukus of all troupes congregated according to their eight different nations. Each group climbed to a different known area of the glacier. There they accompanied their own nation s cross and held a meeting in which they baptized the new ukukus , punished those who had committed faults, and elected the pablo caporal , the nation s head. At dawn, some ukukus detached big ice chunks from the glacier and then carried them on their backs toward the shrine as all ukukus grouped by nation returned from the glacier bearing the eight crosses. The non- ukuku dancers remained grouped according to their nations below the permanent ice awaiting the arrival of their cross, joined the assemblage, and, dancing together, all nations dancers accompanied their nation s cross to the shrine (see fig. 2.4 ). When the eight crosses arrived at the church accompanied by hundreds of dancers, the Mass of Blessing began outdoors. At the end of the mass, the priests sprinkled blessed water on the crowd, and many pilgrims made great effort to get their bodies, framed pictures of Taytacha Quyllurit i, or miniature trucks or houses moistened by Taytacha Quyllurit i s blessed water. After this blessing, most of the pilgrims started to leave the shrine. When the Mass of Blessing concluded, each dance troupe performed a farewell dance in front of Taytacha Quyllurit i, picked up their demanda from his altar, and commenced their journey back home.

Figure 2.5. Ukukus arriving at the shrine bringing chunks of ice from the Qulqipunku glacier. Photo by the author, 1996.
It is important to note here that Taytacha Quyllurit i gave his blessings through Catholic priests only after the eight crosses spent the night on Apu Qulqipunku and the ukukus brought them to the church and into his presence. For the dancers who participate in these practices and those who are aware of them, this sequence shows clearly that the power of Taytacha Quyllurit i is deeply associated with that of the glacier.
Until 2003, the ukuku dancers coming down from the glacier with ice chunks on their backs constituted the emblematic image of the pilgrimage (see fig. 2.5 ). The chunks were brought to the dance troupe camp, where various members would take some pieces, and either in bottles or as ice, transport them home. Some of the ice, however, was left in the shrine in front of the church, where it slowly melted, and any pilgrim was allowed to take some part of it (see Sallnow 1987, 228). 11
All nations ukukus , however, stopped bringing ice chunks from the glacier in 2004. The change was directly related to the noticeable glacier retreat that was affecting Qulqipunku. The practice being one of the emblematic images of the pilgrimage, the decision was widely reported as showing the impact that climate change was having not only on the glaciers but on the religious practices of indigenous peoples in the Andes (e.g., Fraser 2009; Guerrero 2008; Kormann 2009; Navab 2011; Ram n 2010; Regalado 2005; Welch 2016). Here is a clear case of climate change affecting indigenous ritual practices, but the picture is a little more complex.
The first time I attended the pilgrimage in 1996, however, pilgrims were already concerned with the glacier retreat, and it seems that the concern had been there even earlier. Carlos Flores, an anthropologist and former Jesuit priest who was the chaplain of the Brotherhood of Se or de Quyllurit i, recalls that its members were discussing glacier retreat from the early 1990s (Regalado 2005). If 2004 was not when pilgrims began to worry about glacier retreat, why did the prohibition of bringing down ice chunks take place then? The answer has to do with the 2003 reorganization of the brotherhood and the emergence of a new institution: the Council of Pilgrim Nations. During the 1990s, the brotherhood was accused of serious mismanagement of devotees donations, and crucially, of ignoring the dancers opinions and concerns in the organization of the main rituals. These accusations by the leaders of the oldest nations (Paucartambo and Quispicanchi) were legitimate: the brotherhood was founded in the 1940s with the aim to put order among the Indians who go up there to dance and, while drunk, commit excesses (cited by Flores Lizana 1997, 26, my translation). The brotherhood was organized in opposition to the dancers, despising the latter s customs performed in front of the brotherhood s true Catholic religiosity, displaying ethnic superiority (Salas Carre o 2006; Sallnow 1991).
The 2003 reorganization of the brotherhood meant that all its members had to be respected former dancers who were to be presented by their nations. In addition, the Council of Pilgrim Nations, composed of the eight leaders (the pablos caporales ) of the nations, emerged as the legitimate body leading all dancers. Only then was it possible to implement measures to discipline the practices of the pilgrimage. Because dancers were concerned about the glacier s retreat, one of the council s first decisions was to prohibit the ukukus from taking ice chunks from the glacier. This is why the prohibition was not implemented until 2004.
The prohibition was widely reported as dramatically changing the pilgrimage and threatening its ancient practices (e.g., Chakalian 2015; Fraser 2009; Navab 2011; Welch 2016). Some accounts assumed that the ukukus main responsibility was to bring back these ice chunks: They are no longer allowed to discharge their unique responsibility of climbing up to the top of the mountain and bringing back blocks of ice tied to their back (Navab 2011; see a similar claim by Ceruti 2007, 37). But this was not and is not the case. Clearly, the ice chunks were supplementary to the main rituals described here and not their core. With the goodwill of Apu Qulqipunku, the ukukus bring the power of the glacier to the Taytacha Quyllurit i-the image rock-by staying on the glacier overnight accompanying their nation s cross and bringing it back down to the church at dawn. That is their most important task: accompanying the nation s cross has consequences for the well-being of the whole nation and all the collectivities represented by the dance troupes. That is why, as collectivities, dance troupes collect their demandas from the side of the image rock only after the end of the Mass of Blessing, thus bringing back Taytacha Quyllurit i himself incorporated in their demandas and why most pilgrims did not seem opposed to the prohibition against bringing down ice chunks and did not manifest great discomfort with it.
Although climate change has resulted in changes in certain religious practices, it has not yet led to the end of the pilgrimage or destroyed its essential function. Therefore, it is not fully accurate to claim that because they no longer descend from the glacier carrying ice chunks, many [of them] now returned empty-handed (Ceruti 2007, 37). Similarly, it is inexact to claim that the prohibition entails the loss of [the pilgrimage s] symbolic core (Navab 2011) or that the pilgrimage has ceased to exist as such (Plitt 2010, my translation). Moreover, it is misleading to claim that the decision amounts to a reversal of the relation between the glacier and the humans: Rather than supplicants to a powerful deity whose beneficence provides fecundity and healing, the villagers are now caretakers of this ailing glacial god, safe-guarding its integrity with guards and delicate candles. The reversal of social hierarchy often threatens danger and contamination (Allison 2015, 497). Although certainly there is a diversity of views and concerns about glacial retreat in relation to human behavior, as will be discussed later, there are no grounds for asserting a reversal of social hierarchy between the pilgrims and Apu Qulqipunku.
Through the eight crosses that stayed overnight on the glacier, the connection between the apu and the blessing of Taytacha Quyllurit i involves water. Partly for this reason, it is important for pilgrims to be touched by the blessed water after the Mass of Blessing (see fig. 2.6 ). It is also important to point out that close to the shrine s entrance there is a spring called El Agua del Se or (the Lord s Water), which plays the same role as the blessed water or the ice chunks. Because the ukukus have already taken the crosses from the glacier to the church, the Lord s Water has the same powerful qualities as the blessed water or the glacial ice. Pilgrims carry this water back home in plastic bottles, and some have these bottles with them during the Mass of Blessing so they are certain that the water carries the blessing of Lord Quyllurit i.

Figure 2.6. Pilgrims making efforts so that the blessed water touches the images of Taytacha Quyllurit i after the main Mass of Blessing. The priest is sprinkling the water with the flowers he is holding in his right hand. In the background, pilgrims are getting ready to leave the shrine. Photo by the author, 2000.
Forbidding the detachment of ice chunks was only one of the measures taken by the Council of Pilgrim Nations. Other measures, implemented in 2008, included a decision by five of the eight nations that not all ukuku dancers had to climb on the glacier to accompany the nation s cross. The nations now send only a small delegation of ukuku dancers to the places where their nation s cross stays overnight on the glacier. Associated with this, these nations ukukus began to hold their annual assembly just below the glacial ice. Only three nations continued to have their assemblies on the glacier. After the 2016 pilgrimage, the council decided that none of the nations would have their annual ukuku meeting on the glacier, but rather only below the glacial ice. The level of deglaciation in 2016 was so great (as can be seen in fig. 2.1 and 2.2 ) that some nations did not have any other option but to place their nation s cross off the glacier: the spot they usually occupied no longer had glacial ice (Dupraz-Dobias 2016). The last time I talked with the president of the Council of Pilgrim Nations, he was sure that all nations would comply with the ruling to hold their annual meetings below the glacial ice during Tuesday s night of the 2017 pilgrimage. Although the level of glacier retreat is worrisome for ukuku dancers and pilgrims in general, their worry has not decreased their willingness to participate in the pilgrimage. The overall attendance at the pilgrimage, including dancers and other pilgrims, keeps growing.
As stated before, not all pilgrims are part of dance troupes; there are also non-nation-affiliated pilgrims: devotees who attend, not as dancers, not even as members of naciones, but privately, in small groups of kin, neighbors, or friends, or alone (Sallnow 1987, 223). Many of these pilgrims come from urban areas. During the main days of the pilgrimage, there are specific places in the city of Cuzco (3,400 meters above sea level) where buses are waiting at any hour for this type of pilgrim to fill the seats and start travel to Mawayani (4,200 meters above sea level), from where pilgrims have to walk the remaining eight kilometers to the shrine (4,800 meters above sea level).
Many non-nation-affiliated pilgrims (from now on unaffiliated pilgrims ) try to arrive at the shrine early in the morning, before dawn, in order to line up to enter the church and be able to light candles and listen to a mass. Most of these pilgrims then participate in the practices of performing petitions to the Taytacha Quyllurit i through making miniatures with stone, or watching some of the dance performances always going on in the shrine. Around midday, some unaffiliated pilgrims start descending from the shrine back to Mawayani, where they return home via bus. The many unaffiliated pilgrims following this pattern are not necessarily familiar with the main rituals around the glacier, and some might not even consider the glacier as an animate being crucial to Taytacha Quyllurit i s power. Such pilgrims could be characterized as professing a popular Catholicism, in Marzal s terms (2002, 315-17), which does not necessarily involve a practical understanding of the indigenous notions present in the dancers practices.
Other unaffiliated pilgrims do climb on the glacier. These pilgrims stay only a day at the shrine or perhaps camp one night, staying two days during the main rituals. During the Sunday and Monday of the pilgrimage in 2008, I observed many individual pilgrims on the white glacier (see fig. 2.7 ). The pilgrims who climbed on the glacier during the day included not only unaffiliated pilgrims but also pilgrims who had arrived with the dance troupes as nondancing members of the collective the dancers represented. Some of these pilgrims climbed up the glacier to pray and light candles in small crevasses. After praying, they assumed a rather relaxed behavior. Others seemed to go to the glacier primarily to have the experience of playing in the snow, sliding with a piece of plastic, or throwing snowballs at family and friends. The atmosphere at the glacier in these moments was one of joy and laughter.

Figure 2.7. Non- ukuku pilgrims on the glacier. While some were praying, others were sliding and playing with the snow. Photo by the author, 2008.
Since I first attended the pilgrimage in 1996, the representatives of the brotherhood and later the members of the Council of Pilgrim Nations were vocal in condemning this type of climbing on the glacier.

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