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Accepted Paper:

Ritual innovation in a more-than-human world: rediscussing the composition of sacred offerings and environmental responsibility in Afro-Brazilian religions.  
Giovanna Capponi (University of Roehampton)

Paper short abstract:

This paper analyses how Afro-Brazilian religions' practitioners rediscuss environmental responsibility and ritual practices in light of the discourses on conservation and climate change, taking into account the obligations towards more-than-human visible and invisible beings.

Paper long abstract:

Drawing on ethnographic data, this paper analyses distribution of social responsibility towards climate change in the context of Afro-Brazilian religions. As the environmentalist discourse is gaining relevance in the Brazilian public debate, Afro-religious people are being accused of polluting the environment with offerings left in the landscape as part of the religious practice. As part of the worship, ritual offerings and gifts are delivered in different places such as forests, rivers or the ocean where spiritual entities reside. In recent years, these widespread practices started to raise questions of ethics and sustainability, and religious practitioners started rediscussing the composition of the offerings and their environmental impact. In some instances, polluting "wrapping" materials such as ribbons or plastic decorations started to be replaced or avoided to comply with sustainability criteria. While rituals are adapting to the current sustainability standards, this issue creates a debate on how religious minorities perceive their share of social responsibility towards other ontologies in a country dominated by corporate interest. Ritual change and innovation are renegotiated with different beings: the animals that may be attracted by the offerings as a source of food, the spiritual entities who require the rituals to be performed, and other humans who regard offerings as morally or materially polluting.

Panel Exti03
Responsibility in a more-than-human anthropogenic world: conceptions, negotiations and anticipations
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 March, 2021, -