To Practice “Environmentalism” Is Not A “Religious” Right


Something light for your Monday morning. On January 23, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma issued a ruling dismissing the plaintiff’s pro se complaint that the recycling practices of the Tulsa City-County Library Commission placed an “undue obstacle” on the plaintiff’s practice of “Environmentalism.” The case is Krause v. Tulsa City-County Library Commission. Plaintiff alleged that the Tulsa City-County Library Commission’s placement of “fake” recycling bins in the downtown Central Library mounted to a hindrance to his faith, and warrants the protections of the First Amendment because the exercise of his “secular and political choices,” being rooted in environmental advocacy, constitutes a religion. The District Court noted that the complaint contains no factual support for the plaintiff’s conclusory assertion that Environmentalism is religious, and not a secular practice or lifestyle. The District Court also notes that this claim is a matter of first impression in the Tenth Circuit, but that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, in the case of McDavid v. Cty. of Sacramento, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43711, at *7-8 (E.D. Cal. June 26, 2006), addressed an analogous claim, and held that veganism is not a religion:

All courts recognize some distinction between a religious belief and a non-religious lifestyle decision; courts will protect the former, but not the latter.

The complaint suffered from other defects, requiring its dismissal.