Environmentalism is based mostly on the science of ecology. Ecology is a branch of biology that deals with the relationships between organisms and the environment. Ecology recognizes that there is a delicate balance in any ecosystem. This balance can be easily disrupted and environmentalism is all about preserving this balance.
I personally feel that religion should mesh more easily with environmentalism than it seems to be. Ecology is a science, but not one so offensive to religion as evolution or a heliocentric model of the solar system. The religious environmentalists in Barcott's article say how we are the stewards of God's creations. God found value in his work and so should we.
One non-environmentalist in the article didn't like how environmentalism seems to imply that humans are like scabs on the Earth. I understand how this message can come across, but that is not how environmentalism should be viewed. Business-oriented conservatives like to accuse environmentalist as being anti-corporate. I think environmentalism at its core implies nothing other than that we need to take care of nature. It’s our responsibility and it’s necessary for the longevity of the human race and the planet as a whole.
For the most part Evangelical Christianity and conservative politics are allies. A lot of the resistance to environmentalism in the religious conservative community comes from fear of being associated with tree-hugging liberal hippies. I felt that the author was not being obtuse in using these words. It seemed that he was being satirical and plucking these words from the minds of the religious conservatives in order to show the reader how they view environmentalists. These strict varieties of Christians are especially large supporters of conservative politics, and politics still shapes to its constituents.
So it is easy to see why there is friction between environmentalism and conservative religions, but this friction is largely illogical.
The author walks the neutral line, but the environmentalist side seems more persuasive. Illyan, the llama guy, believes environmental stewardship won't even be a question in ten years. One commenter compares it to the toppling of bigotry, likely referring to the civil rights movement, which is now widely agreed to be a necessary aspect of our country.
Here's the official NRPE (National Religious Partnership for the Environment) website.