Professor Jay Wexler’s latest book examines the push and pull between religion and environmentalism.
Boston University School of Law Professor Jay Wexler’s latest book, When God Isn’t Green: A World-Wide Journey to Places Where Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide, was published Wednesday by Beacon Press. The book examines how the religious acts of people around the world can have a detrimental, and sometimes irreversible, effect on the environment.
Wexler has traveled to various corners of the world: from Alaska, Guatemala, and Mexico in the west, to Mumbai, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in the east, exploring the intersection of religion and environment. His interactions with people of different cultures and religious beliefs have been highlighted in this book, deftly combining humor and hard truth to discuss sensitive yet critical topics.
“With this novel,” says Wexler, “I wanted to explore the fact that every person—regardless of how successful or lucky or talented or famous—inevitably has to face the fundamental human truth that our time on this planet is limited, and that we can’t possibly do everything we’d like to do in the short time we are here.”
When God Isn’t Green is the newest addition to his non-fiction works. Over the years, Wexler has produced several fiction and non-fiction pieces covering a range of topics across law, humanities, philosophy, and religion. Last December, his second work of fiction and first novel, Tuttle in the Balance, was published by Ankerwycke Books. It details the journey and adventures of protagonist Ed Tuttle, a Supreme Court Justice who dabbles in Taoism following a mid-life crisis during an important term. What follows is a humorously insightful recount of human fragility even in the highest echelons of society.
A long-time professor at BU Law, Wexler has a keen interest in areas such as administrative law, constitutional law, environmental law, the legislative process, and religion & law, and is well known for weaving humor into his teaching and writing. He was recognized with the Michael Melton Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009. He has delivered numerous lectures on church-state, constitutional and environmental issues in the US as well as in international forums, including Bangkok, Hanoi, Moscow, Oslo, Santiago, and Warsaw. Prior to BU Law, Professor Wexler worked as a law clerk for Judge David Tatel on the Washington, DC Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court.
In 2014, Wexler taught on a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Buenos Aires, where he concluded his latest book. He has also taught constitutional civil liberties at the University of Lyon 3 and church-state law on a Fulbright Fellowship at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
Wexler’s penchant for humor is reflected in his academic as well as non-academic literary works. In 2005, he published a ‘study’ of humor in Supreme Court Oral argument in the legal journal The Green Bag, which also earned him a front-page story in the New York Times. “I wanted to show that the Justices are human beings who can make jokes just like the rest of us,” Wexler says, “even if those jokes aren’t quite as funny as we’d hope.”
Boston University School of Law will hold a symposium on March 28 to celebrate the release of Professor Wexler’s book. For more information, please visit our Lectures & Conferences page.
Reported by Indira Priyadarshini (COM’16).