The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
4.8 (August 2010)
1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
2. New UN Women Organization Created by the United Nations
4. New Books
5. Recent Article on Thomas Berry & Earth Jursirpduence
6. New Film: Beyond the Tipping Point?
7. Save the Date: "Ground of Hope--New Jersey" (Nov. 14-15, 2010, NJ, USA)
8. Call for Papers for Society for Philosophy and Technology Conference on “Technology and Security” (May 26-29, 2011, University of North Texas, TX, USA)
9. Call for Papers for the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture Conference on “Living on the Edge" (Dec. 16-19, 2010, University of Western Australia)10. Job Opening: Executive Director for the National Religious Partnership for the Environment
11. Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
12. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Welcome to the August issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. We have a lot of interesting and exciting news to share with you regarding recent and upcoming developments in the field of religion and ecology, including conferences, books, articles, films, calls for papers, organizations, a job opening, and more.
An important part of the field of Religion and Ecology is the dissemination of information and research through various media projects, including books, articles, and films. It is our aim to inform you of these projects as they are developed and released. There are some new books that address vital issues in the field, including ethical and religious issues related to biodiversity, genetically modified foods, and the Christian ideal of stewardship of creation. We also want to inform you of a recent article by Peter Burdon, “Wild Law,” which focuses on Thomas Berry and emerging theories and practices of Earth jurisprudence. The article is available to read online here:
Along with print media, films provide another way to communicate issues that bring together religious and ecological perspectives. Along these lines, we would like to direct your attention to a new film that looks at a diverse variety of attitudes to climate change: Beyond the Tipping Point? Produced and directed by Dr. Stefan Skrimshire from The University of Manchester, the film explores how we imagine the future in the face of impending environmental crisis and how this affects the way we respond. It is available freely as an education tool, and it is accompanied by a book entitled Future Ethics, Climate change and Apocalyptic Imagination (edited by Dr. Skrimshire), which will be published in August 2010 by Continuum.
For more information, visit: www.beyondthetippingpoint.com
The field of Religion and Ecology extends beyond the boundaries of media, as the field can be found in numerous events and in the work of various organizations. We want to mention a few organizations in particular. First, as gender issues are central to Religion and Ecology, we are happy to inform you that, recently, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to create the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, which will be known as UN Women, an entity dedicated to meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide. For the full press release, visit: http://www.unwomen.org/2010/07/un-creates-new-structure-for-empowerment-of-women
Another organization we would like to mention is the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR), which has been a leader of the corporate social responsibility movement for almost forty years. Through the lens of faith, ICCR builds a more just and sustainable world by integrating social and environmental values into corporate and investor actions. ICCR seeks organizations such as national denominations, religious communities, pension funds, foundations, asset management companies, universities, and unions to join their growing coalition. ICCR also seeks individual Advocates, including individual investors, alert activists, people of faith, and concerned consumers who want to build a more just society based on ethical behavior and mutual respect. To learn more about ICCR, visit: http://www.iccr.org
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment (NRPE) is also among the growing list of organizations whose work engages the field of Religion and Ecology. Founded in 1993, the Partnership (www.nrpe.org) is the premier instrument through which major American Judeo-Christian faith organizations are working together to address the challenges of environmental sustainability and justice. With the retirement of its founding Executive Director, the Partnership is currently seeking a dynamic and creative leader as Executive Director as it moves into a new phase of its mission. To read the full job description, visit: http://www.nrpe.org/whatisthepartnership/ed_jobdesc_2010.htm
Like those organizations, there are many events that facilitate deeper engagements with issues of Religion and Ecology. Among such events are two upcoming academic conferences, each of which has issued a call for papers. One conference is “Technology and Security,” the 17th International Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT), which will take place May 26-29, 2011 at University of North Texas in Denton, TX, USA. The proposal deadline is November 1, 2010. For the full call for papers, visit: https://spt2011.unt.edu/call-papers.
Another noteworthy conference is "Living on the Edge," the 4th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture (ISSRNC), which will be held December 16-19, 2010 at the University of Western Australia (UWA-Perth). The extended deadline for submitting proposals is September 16, 2010. For more information, visit: http://www.religionandnature.com/society/conferences.htm.
Together with those academic events, there is an educational event we want to share with you: “Ground for Hope—New Jersey,” which is an event dedicated to environmental education and leadership for clergy, laity, seminarians, and seminaries. Including speakers, workshops, a tour, and other educational opportunities, the event will take place November 14-15, 2011 in New Jersey, USA. For more info, see below.
We hope that the media, organizations, and events we are sharing in this newsletter support your own work and help you further your engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.
Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Web Content Managers & Newsletter Editors
In an historic move, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously on 2 July 2010 to create a new entity to accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.
The establishment of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — to be known as UN Women — is a result of years of negotiations between UN Member States and advocacy by the global women’s movement. It is part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact.
“I am grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement welcoming the decision. “UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe.” To read this statement, visit:
For full press release, visit: http://www.unwomen.org/2010/07/un-creates-new-structure-for-empowerment-of-women/
"Christianity and Vegetarianism: Nature, Creation and the Peaceable Kingdom"
Leeds Humanities Research Institute
Clarendon House, 29-31 Clarendon Place, Leeds, UK
August 14-15, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/info/20045/leeds_humanities_research_institute
“God, Humanity and the Cosmos”
The Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, United Kingdom
September 4, 2010
For more details and registration form, visit: http://www.srforum.org/
“Nature and Human Nature”
Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section
Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society
St. Anne's College, Oxford
September 10-12, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.bps.org.uk/
“Creation, Nature and the Built Environment”
The Biennial Conference in Philosophy, Religion and Culture
Catholic Institute of Sydney, Australia
October 1-3, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.cis.catholic.edu.au/
"Campus Initiatives to Catalyze a Just and Sustainable World"
2010 Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
Mary Evelyn Tucker will be speaking at this conference.
Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO, USA
October 10-12, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://conf2010.aashe.org
An Ethics of Biodiversity: Christianity, Ecology, and the Variety of Life
By Kevin J. O'Brien
Georgetown University Press, 2010
Life on earth is wildly diverse, but the future of that diversity is now in question. Through environmentally destructive farming practices, ever-expanding energy use, and the development and homogenization of land, human beings are responsible for unprecedented reductions in the variety of life forms around us. Estimates suggest that species extinctions caused by humans occur at up to 1,000 times the natural rate, and that one of every twenty species on the planet could be eradicated by 2060.
An Ethics of Biodiversity argues that these facts should inspire careful reflection and action in Christian churches, which must learn from earth’s vast diversity in order to help conserve the natural and social diversity of our planet. Bringing scientific data into conversation with theological tradition, the book shows that biodiversity is a point of intersection between faith and ethics, social justice and environmentalism, science and politics, global problems and local solutions. An Ethics of Biodiversity offers a set of tools for students, environmentalists, and people of faith to think critically about how human beings can live with and as part of the variety of life in God’s creation.
Kevin J. O’Brien is an assistant professor of Christian ethics at Pacific Lutheran University.
Acceptable Genes? Religious Traditions and Genetically Modified Foods
Edited by Harold Coward and Conrad Brunk
Albany: SUNY Press, 2009
Modern biotechnology has surpassed science fiction with such feats as putting fish genes in tomatoes to create a more cold-resistant crop. While the environmental and health concerns over such genetically modified foods have been the subject of public debate, religious and spiritual viewpoints have been given short shrift. This book seeks to understand the moral and religious attitudes of groups within pluralistic societies whose traditions and beliefs raise for them unique questions about food and dietary practice. What questions are there for kosher Jews, halal Muslims, and vegetarian Hindus about food products containing transgenes from prohibited sources? How do these foods impact the cultural practices and spiritual teachings of indigenous peoples? Concerns from the above traditions as well as Christianity, Buddhism, Chinese religion, and ethical vegetarianism are included. Contributors look at the ethical context of each tradition and also include information from focus groups. This enlightening work concludes with recommendations for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Stewardship of Creation: What Catholics should know about Church Teaching on the Environment
By Marie I. George
St. Catherine of Siena Press, 2009
Stewardship of Creation seeks to inform people of what the Roman Catholic Church teaches about the proper treatment of the environment by focusing on papal, Vatican, and Episcopal documents. It opens by examining the root causes of environmental devastation, causes that are rooted in our minds and hearts. It next takes up the Church’s theology of creation, and then goes on to show the moral norms which flow from the Church’s views on the purposes of creation. Lastly, it sets out the Catholic response to the root causes of unwarranted environmental destruction. The book has discussion questions at the end of most chapters, and is suitable for parish discussion groups.
Marie I. George, Ph.D. is Professor of Philosophy at St. John’s University in New York where she teaches Environmental Ethics and Science & Religion. She has a strong interest in both theology and biology and holds masters degrees in both areas. Dr. George has been involved in catechesis in the Diocese of Brooklyn for twenty years.
“Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence”
By Peter D. Burdon
University of Adelaide, School of Law, Australia
Published in Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 35, No. 2, 2010
Edited by Molly Townes O'Brien, Matthew Zagor, and Simon Rice
Wild law or Earth Jurisprudence is an emerging theory of law and governance that seeks to evolve law in a fashion that recognises our relationship to the broader Earth community. In this article, the author introduces and articulates some fundamental concepts being developed by theorists in this area. The author also discusses the recent constitutional amendment in Ecuador that granted nature the right to exist, persist and flourish.
To read the article, visit: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1636564
“New film explores attitudes to climate change ‘tipping points’”
July 5, 2010
‘We have 30,000 days, 100 Months, 5 years left! Copenhagen (now Mexico) is our last chance!’ In the face of consensus on the reality of climate change scientists, policy makers and campaigners are increasingly in the habit of issuing deadlines, ultimatums and points of no return.
But what impact does this language have on the decisions taken by activists, campaigners, and policymakers?
A provocative new film, Beyond the Tipping Point?, produced and directed by Dr. Stefan Skrimshire from The University of Manchester is launched on Thursday 15th July 2010 at the Manchester Museum.
The film has grown out of a three year research project funded by the Lincoln Theological Institute exploring how we imagine the future in the face of impending environmental crisis and how this affects the way we respond.
Once launched, it will be made freely available as an educational tool for campaign and community groups, schools and universities, to encourage people to discuss and reflect on the actions and decisions they take in relation to climate change.
Including footage from last year’s UN climate talks in Copenhagen, the film features interviews with a Met Office international climate expert, a Bangladeshi social justice campaigner; direct action group Plane Stupid, Buddhist leaders and leading academics.
The film features interviews from people including: Professor Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre, The University of Manchester, Dr. Richard Betts, Met Office, Hadley Centre, Leo Murray, Plane Stupid and activists from the Camp for Climate Action.
A trailer for the film can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b-j00HTfFQ
The DVD is 30 minutes long and is available free of charge on request.
A book entitled Future Ethics, Climate change and Apocalyptic Imagination (edited by Dr Skrimshire) also forms part of this project and will be published in August 2010 by Continuum. www.beyondthetippingpoint.com
For more information about the launch or to receive a review copy of the film contact:
For more information, visit: www.beyondthetippingpoint.com
GreenFaith, The Green Seminary Initiative, Drew Theological School, and Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church invite you to save the date for:
“Ground for Hope--New Jersey”
Environmental Education and Leadership for Clergy, Laity, Seminarians, and Seminaries
Sunday, Nov. 14 - Watchung Avenue Presbyterian Church, Watchung Ave. Presbyterian Church, N. Plainfield, NJ, USA
Monday, Nov. 15 - Drew Theological School, Madison, NJ, USA
* Resources for environmental leadership in faith communities
* Environmental Justice Tour
* Connect with other religious-environmental leaders
Stay tuned for information on speakers, workshops and opportunities to get involved.
“Technology and Security”
17th International Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT)
University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA
May 26-29, 2011
SPT 2011 welcomes high quality papers and panel proposals in all areas of philosophy of technology. Given the focus of this year’s conference, papers and panels dealing with technology and security are especially welcomed. We encourage submissions from an interdisciplinary spectrum, including but not limited to philosophers, engineers, natural scientists, historians, social scientists, and those involved in public or private policymaking. SPT 2011 tracks:
* Security technology 1: Information, surveillance, and cyber security
* Security technology 2: Environmental and agricultural security
* Security technology 3: Terrorism, warfare, and emerging military technologies
* Development and globalization
* Technology, justice, and the good life
* Sustainable technologies, energy, and built environments
* Philosophy of engineering and design
* Ethics and Technology
* Philosophy/history of technology
* Technology, gender, and culture
* Biomedical technology, health, and enhancement
* Religion and technology
* Media and technology
* Emerging and converging science and technology
* Technologies of self and consciousness: drugs, exercise, meditation
* Reflective engineering
The proposal deadline for papers and panel discussions is November 1, 2010.
For the full Call for Papers, visit: https://spt2011.unt.edu/call-papers
“Living on the Edge”
The Fourth International Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC)
University of Western Australia (UWA-Perth)
December 16-19, 2010
The International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, in association with La Trobe University, Melbourne, will hold its 4th International Conference on December 16-19, 2010, at the University of Western Australia (UWA-Perth). Perth, located on the edge of land and sea, is a perfect site at which to discuss the notion of ‘Living on the Edge’. We invite proposals from scholars exploring the intersection and edges of religion, nature and culture from a wide range of critical perspectives and from all disciplines.
Questions arising point to the edge as a place of transition and transformation, a launching place for change and action to counter ecological degradation and regenerate communities and ecosystems.
Through a multi-disciplinary framework of religion, nature and culture, the conference explores the relationships between people and nature, social and ecological systems, local and global economies, art and ecology, science and religion, and cultural diversity and biodiversity.
The Extended Deadline for submitting proposals is September 16, 2010.
The National Religious Partnership for the Environment (www.nrpe.org) founded in 1993, is the premier instrument through which major American Judeo-Christian faith organizations are working together to address the challenges of environmental sustainability and justice.
In a broad alliance built on shared biblical principles, moral values and commitment to social justice, each of its four denominational partners – the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Council of Churches, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Evangelical Environmental Network – is enacting its own diverse programs, joining in collaborative initiatives and working with other sectors of society to promote a common vision of environmental stewardship.
With the retirement of its founding Executive Director, the addition of diverse new members on the board, and a strategic plan with fresh mission priorities, the Partnership seeks a dynamic and creative leader as Executive Director as it moves into a new phase of its mission.
The Executive Director will be an imaginative and accomplished leader, a skilled convener and facilitator and a unifying presence who can work closely with the four denominational partners to advance the Partnership’s mission, map out its strategic vision, and engage others in the Partnership’s ongoing programs. Building on the philosophy and accomplishments of the founders, the individual will grow the organization and its donor base, communicate the scope, substance and optimism of the Partnership’s social justice/environmental mission, and articulate the group’s potential as a body of faith that speaks to environmental issues and concerns with a common voice. The Executive Director will engage and mobilize the Partners around critical initiatives and position the organization as both a source of substantial breadth and depth for environmental initiatives and as an instrument of renewal with in the broader religious community.
The Executive Director will recognize and support the distinctiveness, values and priorities of the four partners, instilling an increased level of accountability and assisting in shaping, owning and strengthening their commitment to the Partnership’s mission, core values and strategic priorities. The Executive Director will help each partner group set clear, inspirational and achievable goals within their own organizations and work closely with each group’s staff in refining and successfully executing programs.
The Executive Director will be expected to develop and implement a strategic framework for fundraising, actively raise funds from foundations and other sources as appropriate, and continue to explore new fundraising avenues and opportunities on behalf of the Partnership. This person will draw on his/her own experience and contacts within the philanthropic community, as well as on the relationships of the Partnership with existing funders to increase financial support for the organization.
To read the full job description, visit: http://www.nrpe.org/whatisthepartnership/ed_jobdesc_2010.htm
11. Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Through the lens of faith, ICCR builds a more just and sustainable world by integrating social values into corporate and investor actions (http://www.iccr.org/shareholder/learn/shareholderresolution.php).
ICCR began in 1971 when representatives from a number of Protestant denominations joined together to challenge the role of banks and companies in Apartheid South Africa. For nearly four decades, ICCR has merged social and environmental values with investment decisions, believing as long-term investors, one must achieve more than an acceptable financial return.
The work of ICCR and its members has been covered in such prestigious news outlets as Time, Forbes, and Business Week. To read what others are saying about us, visit our ICCR In the News Page: http://www.iccr.org/news/index.php.
ICCR seeks organizations such as national denominations, religious communities, pension funds, foundations, asset management companies, universities, and unions to join our growing coalition. Working together, we use the power of our investments to open doors at corporations and raise concerns at the highest levels of corporate decision making. ICCR members have access to our extensive research and databases, as well as the latest reporting on corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investing practices. ICCR seeks Advocates -- individual investors, alert activists, people of faith, and concerned consumers who want to build a more just society based on ethical behavior and mutual respect. Advocates will receive a monthly e-newsletter, our annual Proxy Voting Guide, and invitations to ICCR- sponsored events, as well as updates on the latest corporate, social and environmental progress. To join, visit: http://www.iccr.org/join/
To learn more about ICCR, visit: http://www.iccr.org/
Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology has as its focus the relationships between religion, culture and ecology world-wide. Articles discuss major world religious traditions, such as Islam, Buddhism or Christianity; the traditions of indigenous peoples; new religious movements; and philosophical belief systems, such as pantheism, nature spiritualities, and other religious and cultural worldviews in relation to the cultural and ecological systems. Focusing on a range of disciplinary areas including Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology and Theology, the journal also presents special issues that center around one theme. For more information, visit: http://www.brill.nl/wo