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Sacred Groves and Local GodsReligion and Environmentalism in South India$
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Eliza F. Kent

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199895465

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199895465.001.0001

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Soteriology and Stakeholders

Soteriology and Stakeholders

The Greening of the Auroville Plateau, 1973–2007

(p.119) 4Soteriology and Stakeholders
Sacred Groves and Local Gods

Eliza F. Kent

Oxford University Press

Chapter four examines an environmental education and restoration campaign launched from Puttupattu, which was co-sponsored by residents of the utopian neo-Hindu settlement of Auroville (near Pondicherry) and a Bangalore-based NGO, the Foundation for the Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT). To contextualize the initiative, the chapter discusses the history of Auroville, investigating how environmental values became paramount in this quasi-religious community that was founded in 1968 as a laboratory for cultivating human unity and enspiriting the material world. The Puttupattu restoration campaign illuminates the challenges of religiously-inspired environmentalism, where diverse stake-holders with varying cosmologies, levels of education, livelihoods and interests must balance pressures to expand the temple with conservation. The conclusion engages scholarly typologies of global environmentalisms and religious environmentalisms, characterizing the Puttupattu initiative as a hybrid which blends elements of what Emma Tomalin defines as “strong” and “weak” religious environmentalism.

Keywords:   religious environmentalism, ecological restoration, puttupattu, auroville, frlht, pitchandikulam, emma tomalin, stakeholders

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