Dr. Richard Cartwright Austin has completed a forty-year ministry with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Applying Christian faith to the modern environmental crisis, Austin pioneered both theological reflection and direct action.

From his pastorate in the Coal River Valley of West Virginia, Austin wrote the first books to critique strip-mining for coal from an environmental perspective. Then he helped to organize the movement that achieved the first Federal regulation of strip-mining abuses. He has subsequently organized campaigns to protect valleys from hydroelectric dams and to protect mountains from over-timbering.

From Chestnut Ridge Farm in southwestern Virginia, Austin has helped to develop markets for chemical-free fruits and vegetables as alternatives to regional tobacco cultivation, and techniques for sustainable forestry as alternatives to clear-cutting. His tasteful "Peck of Pretty Peppers," was distributed nationally. Austin has now retired from farming.

Austin's Environmental Theology, also available on this site, is a uniquely readable series, respected by theologians yet helpful to lay readers. From New York to California, Austin has assisted church groups to develop environmental ministries. He has taught Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox ministerial students.

Austin has three sons and six grandchildren. His wife, Anne Leibig, teaches Gestalt psychotherapy. Together they prepared the Peck of Pretty Peppers Cookbook that was included in each box of peppers shipped from Chestnut Ridge Farm.

Read Austin's extended biography here.

"At the heart of the biblical vision is a promise that if we love nature and treat the life of the earth with respect, we will fulfill our human vocation and find personal satisfaction. Furthermore, we will be happy with the earth's response. The harvest which the earth yields is far more than meat and fruit, oil and wine. Interactions with nature differ from the interpersonal, social, and cultural relationships which predominate in modern life, so that natural relationships may expand our sensibilities and enrich our lives. ... Nature is beautiful: if we do not engage with this beauty we are deprived. Culture and manufacture provide us many things that are both essential and desirable, but they are not worth placing nature at risk. To make peace with God we are called to make peace with nature as well, so that God's glory may return to our landscape." - Dick Austin in Hope for the Land, Nature in the Bible.

Learn more about this book, or read about our other books.

"A striking feature of the natural world is how many things work together to support existence, each contributing to the life of others. We call this a universe: a whole composed of many interdependent and mutually supporting parts. If the many things in existence did not support each other, there would be chaos instead, in which most things attack, destroy, or flee from each other....

"When we look at the beauty of the natural world, we see that both the animate and inanimate tend to support each other. Each, directly or indirectly, contributes to the life of all. Equally striking is the amazing diversity which is so supported. The world's life-support system does not make everything the same, but rather permits the flowering of so many different things. From our perspective, the earth - with all its complexity of life and activity - is more beautiful than an alternative, sterile planet. We see that an important aspect of the beauty of the universe is the process of individuation, by which species become differentiated from one another; and by which individuals within species, sustained by interdependence, develop their unique potential." - Dick Austin in Beauty of the Lord, Awakening the Senses.

Learn more about this book, or read about our other books.
Home | Books | Moral Imagination | Environmental Theology | Other Publications
About Creekside Press & Contact Us | About Dick Austin | Site Map & Search