Confessions of a Recovering Progressive by Michael Dowd

Progress is the de facto religion of the industrial world. But something has changed in America, and beyond. What happens when we progressives ‘lose the faith’?

“We’re in contracting times. In times of carrying capacity surplus, where there’s more than enough energy, more than enough resources, liberal values tend to predominate. … And when there’s not enough energy, not enough resources, conservative values tend to predominate. So those of us who hold liberal values or progressive values, and are proud to do so, it’s going to take intention and heartfelt energy to continue to shepherd them, because the environment’s not going to be selecting for that. So it’s really going to require those of us being committed to insuring those values pass into the future.

“And one of the best ways to do that is to recognize that, as Unitarian Universalists, our faith isn’t necessarily in progress; our faith is in love, in ecological sustainability, in generosity, in inclusion …”

Bio: Rev. Michael Dowd is bestselling eco-theologian, TEDx speaker, and pro-future advocate whose work has been featured in The New York Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Newsweek, Discover, and on television nationally in the U.S. and Canada. Michael and his science writer, evolutionary educator, and fellow climate activist wife, Connie Barlow, have addressed nearly 3,000 groups throughout North America over the past two decades, including nearly 500 Unitarian Universalist churches. Their work has been featured on the cover of the UU WORLD twice, in 1997 and again in 2006. Michael and Connie were honored as “UU Religious Humanists of the Year” in 2016.

Recorded on May 30, 2021 via First Unitarian Church of Hobart, Indiana

Published by John Halstead

John Halstead is the author of *Another End of the World is Possible*, in which he explores what it would really mean for our relationship with the natural world if we were to admit that we are doomed. John is a native of the southern Laurentian bioregion and lives in Northwest Indiana, near Chicago. He is a co-founder of 350 Indiana-Calumet, which worked to organize resistance to the fossil fuel industry in the Region. John was the principal facilitator of “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” He strives to live up to the challenge posed by the Statement through his writing and activism. John has written for numerous online platforms, including Patheos, Huffington Post,, and Gods & Radicals. He is Editor-at-Large of John also facilitates climate grief support groups climate grief support groups affiliated with the Good Grief Network.

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