In this article, I examine the early history of Christian environmentalism (“ecotheology”)
in the twentieth century. I delineate four strands of early ecotheology: agrarian ecotheology; social
Christianity; British contributions; and “post-liberal” foundations for later ecotheological movements. I
show that ecotheology was a slowly-rising movement, which had notable proponents. I argue that these
early ecotheologians are significant for several reasons. First, these writings support the view that there
are momentous roots of environmentalism in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Second, these texts
reveal important information about the relation of Christian and other environmentalism. Third, early
ecotheologians contributed to discussion about themes which would later form distinctive environmental
disciplines, such as environmental aesthetics, education, ethics, history and philosophy. Their thoughts
offer interesting reflections pointing to these fields. Fourth, the contributions by the early ecotheologians
are not only historically interesting, but they have relevance for the current discussion. These theologians
were in a special position to notice the major changes brought by technological development in the twentieth
century and they provided important critical reflections about these issues. Because they developed their
thought independently, they display creative thinking, although often in an unfinished manner.
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