Sacred & Profane

Sacred & Profane

The Letter of the Law

January 16, 2024

In this season of Sacred & Profane, we explore how religions have shaped the climate crisis -- and how they offer ways to imagine a different future.

Scholars and climate activists increasingly point to European colonization of the Americas as a kind of tipping point in not only human history, but climate history as well. Colonialism created a legal and cultural framework that prioritized private ownership of land and resources, giving rise to extractive industries that have weakened and destroyed ecosystems across the world.


We're joined by Philip Arnold and Sandy Bigtree of the Skä•noñh Great Law of Peace Center. They have a podcast of their own, Mapping the Doctrine of Discovery, which explores the impact of a series of proclamations by Catholic popes that have become the basis for land ownership in countries across the world -- including right here in the United States.

This episode was made possible by a great from the National Endowment for the Humanities.