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December 2011

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
5.12 (December 2011)

1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally
2. Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change

3. Statement of Our Nation’s Moral Obligation to Address Climate Change

4. New Books 

5. Events

6. Paul Winter’s Solstice Celebration (December 15-17, 2011 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY, USA)

7. “Food, Glorious Food: The Eucharist & Your Foodshed” (June 18-24, 2012 at Ghost Ranch, NM, USA)

8. “Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy for Self and Planet” (July 1-7, 2012 at Lama Foundation, NM, USA)

9. Calls for Papers

10. Job Announcement: Genesis Farm Director

11. Water Ethics Network

12. Earth Story Calendar

13. Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature

14. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the December issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. I have much to share with you this month with regards to developments in the field of Religion and Ecology, including publications, conferences, events, calls for papers, and more.

The PBS national broadcast premiere of the Journey of the Universe film is happening throughout December.  Over 430 stations nationwide are broadcasting the film.  WNET Channel 13 in New York City will broadcast the film primetime in place of NOVA on December 7 at 8pm.  Los Angeles, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, and others will be airing it primetime as well.  For the most up-to-date schedule of broadcasts, please check your local listings or visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/pbs/

I am pleased to let you know about the release of the twenty-part Journey of the Universe Educational Series for use in classrooms, community centers, or religious institutions. This consists of interviews with scientists, humanists, and environmentalists.  For more information, visit:  http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/ed-series/  Inspired by the New Story described by Thomas Berry, the Journey of the Universe draws on the latest scientific knowledge to tell the story of cosmic and Earth evolution. It aims to inspire a new and closer relationship with Earth in a period of growing environmental and social crisis.  You can purchase the Journey of the Universe film, book, and educational series at: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/buy/

There is also a helpful set of Curricular Materials that accompany the Journey of the Universe project.  Prepared by Matthew Riley, these Curricular Materials contain scientific summaries, discussion questions, and resources.  They can be downloaded free of charge at: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/curriculum/

I want to share news about two important statements on climate change.  The first is the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change.  This statement was written by thirty faith communities of Canada in advance of COP 17, the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change held in Durban, South Africa on November 28 through December 9, 2011.  The second is the Statement of Our Nation’s Moral Obligation to Address Climate Change written by the National Climate Ethics Campaign.  Please see below to read these two statements.

Finally, I would like to let you know that Miriam MacGillis will be stepping down from her role as founder/director of Genesis Farm in May 2013.  We would like to share our deep gratitude for Miriam and all of her wonderful work.  You can find the job announcement below for a full-time position of Director of Genesis Farm, an ecoliteracy center in Blairstown, New Jersey that is inspired by the universe story.  For more about Genesis Farm, visit: http://www.genesisfarm.org/

I hope this newsletter supports your own work and helps you further your own engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.

Warm wishes,
Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Website Manager & Newsletter Editor
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

2. Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change

At an historic meeting in Ottawa on October 23-24, some 30 faith communities of Canada met on Parliament Hill and discussed the urgent need for ecological justice, especially with regards to the climate change crisis. CPJ helped organize these meetings and the CPJ Board chair, Mark Huyser-Wierenga of Edmonton, is a signatory. This “Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change” was developed in advance of the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Durban, South Africa, November 28 to December 9, 2011.

To read this statement, visit:

3. Statement of Our Nation’s Moral Obligation to Address Climate Change

The National Climate Ethics Campaign steering committee has written a “Statement of our Nation's Moral Responsibility to Address Climate Change.” Because climate change affects everyone, we are now seeking signatures of endorsement on the statement from Republicans and Democrats as well as conservatives, moderates, liberals and all other leaders from the public, private, academic, and non-profit sectors nationwide. It was released to President Obama, Congress, each governor, key leaders within the private sector, and the media in Fall 2011. Following the release of the statement, the campaign will assist organizations, sectors and communities nationwide to continually insist that when making decisions about energy use, emission reductions, or climate preparedness and adaptation our moral obligations must hold equal or greater weight to economic or national self-interest. 

To read this statement, visit:

4. New Books

Animals and World Religions
By Lisa Kemmerer
Oxford University Press, 2011

In this comprehensive examination, Lisa Kemmerer explores animal-friendly teachings in the world’s indigenous and dominant religious traditions, including the religions of India (Vedic/Hindu, Buddhist/Jain), China (Daoism and Confucianism), and the Middle East (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). Kemmerer writes with a keen eye to contemporary relevance, practical application, and moral hot-spots (such as our relations with environment and dietary choice). Standing at the intersection of religion, ethics, and animal advocacy, Animals and World Religions demonstrates that rethinking how we treat nonhuman animals is essential for anyone claiming one of the world's great religions.  Lisa Kemmerer has six books available: http://www.amazon.com/Lisa-Kemmerer/e/B001JOKT0M


Theology on the Menu: Asceticism, Meat and Christian Diet
by David Grumett and Rachel Muers
Routledge, 2010

Food—what we eat, how much we eat, how it is produced and prepared, and its cultural and ecological significance—is an increasingly significant topic not only for scholars but for all of us. Theology on the Menu is the first systematic and historical assessment of Christian attitudes to food and its role in shaping Christian identity. David Grumett and Rachel Muers unfold a fascinating history of feasting and fasting, food regulations and resistance to regulation, the symbolism attached to particular foods, the relationship between diet and doctrine, and how food has shaped inter-religious encounters. Everyone interested in Christian approaches to food and diet or seeking to understand how theology can engage fruitfully with everyday life, including pressing ecological issues, will find this book a stimulus and an inspiration.


Educational Reforms for the 21st Century: How to Introduce Ecologically Sustainable Reforms in Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies  
By C. A. Bowers
Eco-Justice Press, 2011

This book introduces three of the most critical areas that affect teacher decision-making in the classroom and community in light of sustainability-oriented educational reforms: (1) Introducing the pedagogical strategies for addressing the linguistic colonization of the present by the past that should be at the core of the teacher’s professional knowledge; (2) How the teacher’s role as a cultural mediator helps students to understand the differences between  the traditions of self-sufficiency and mutual support systems within the local cultural commons and the economic and technological forces that create new dependencies; (3) How the increased reliance upon computer-mediated learning and communication reinforces abstract thinking that undermines both the intergenerational renewal of the cultural commons and the development of ecological intelligence that takes account of local contexts, tacit understandings, and the patterns of interdependent relationships that cannot be digitized.


Only the Sacred: Transforming Education in the Twenty-first Century
Edited by Peggy Whalen-Levitt
Center for Education, Imagination and the Natural World, 2011 

In Only the Sacred: Transforming Education in the Twenty-first Century, we are introduced to a sacred universe that is intimately connected to the consciousness of the human being. Those of us who see ourselves as educators now have to reckon with a question that can no longer be ignored: Can we, in good conscience, continue to educate our children from within the materialist worldview or are we now being asked, really required, to allow the new life of a more profound world to penetrate the consciousness of our schooling? In this remarkable collection of articles inspired by the mentoring of Thomas Berry, we journey with twenty-three educators through an exploration of fundamental questions of our time, a path of inner schooling for educators, and practices where we see this new understanding of a sacred universe actualized in diverse educational settings.


Singing the Sacred: A Collection of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs
By William L. Wallace
World Library Publications, 2011

A new collection of 36 original songs by William L. Wallace of New Zealand that have never before been published. Known for his work in interfaith activities, his songs featured in this collection bridge the gap between traditional Christianity and a scientific view of humans and the universe. Many are set to original, easily sung tunes while others carry a familiar melody. Great for Sunday liturgies, retreat groups, and personal meditation on spirituality and mysticism. A collection to enlighten and challenge all musicians!

5. Events

"Love Letter to the Milky Way: A Celebration"
A book release party and conversation with author, poet, teacher and activist Drew Dellinger
Lakeside Theatre at the Kaiser Center, Oakland, CA, USA
December 9, 2011


“Environmental Justice: A Human Rights Issue”
An Interfaith Educational Event
Islamic Society of Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, USA
December 11, 2011


Eighth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
January 10-12, 2012

6. Paul Winter’s Solstice Celebration (December 15-17, 2011 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY, USA)

Winter Solstice Celebration with A Holiday Celebration on a Spectacular Scale
Music, dance and renewal of spirit at the great turning point of the year.

For more than three decades, Paul Winter’s Solstice Celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine—the world’s largest cathedral—has been one of New York’s favorite holiday alternative to The Nutcracker and Radio City Christmas. 

For the 32nd annual performance, the seven-time Grammy® winning Paul Winter Consort will be joined this year by special guests: Gospel singer Theresa Thomason, African mbira master Chris Berry, and the dynamic dancers and drummers of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, who will celebrate their 30th anniversary with two new compositions.

Four performance are given at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Amsterdam Ave. at 112th St., Manhattan. Dec. 15 and 16 at 8 p.m., Dec. 17 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $35-$80, 866-811-4111, www.solsticeconcert.com

7. “Food, Glorious Food: The Eucharist & Your Foodshed” (June 18-24, 2012 at Ghost Ranch, NM, USA)

"Food, Glorious Food" is part of a ten-year commitment on the part of Ghost Ranch to "Earth-Honoring Faith: A Song of Songs." The goal of the series is to construct justice-centered, Earth-Honoring, christianities that promote interfaith efforts on common earth issues.

Glorious food—sacrament, commodity, both or neither? If most of us do not produce our own food, what is our relationship to the food web and our foodshed? If being at table is a core sacrament for most religions, as it is for the Christian Eucharist, what is its relationship to the foodshed? Is there a Eucharistic vision of the natural world that intersects agribusiness? What does Eucharist mean if God is a gardener, we are tillers and keepers and the world is hungry? Norman Wirzba’s newest book, Food and Faith, will be the anchor book for the week.

Faculty include Norman Wirzba, Melanie Harris, Janet Walton, Larry Rasmussen, Troy Messenger, and Jay Harris.
For more information, visit:

8. “Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy for Self and Planet” (July 1-7, 2012 at Lama Foundation, NM, USA)

Environmental challenges call into question not simply our technological, economic, and political capabilities, but also our fundamental understandings of who we are as a species, and how we fit into the more-than-human world.  This Summer Institute aims to develop tools for teaching and researching environmental dilemmas with this broader sensibility in mind.  It focuses on the interface between environmental challenges and contemplative practices with the understanding that the latter can provide access to inner resources for understanding and responding meaningfully to environmental issues.  Through discussions with distinguished scholars, focused conversations among colleagues, artistic exercises, and regular contemplative practices (meditation, yoga, journaling, nature walks, etc.), participants will collectively deepen higher education’s orientation to Environmental Studies. Part workshop and part retreat, the Institute seeks to widen our own capabilities as university and college teachers committed to education on a fragile and wild planet.

The Institute will take place at the Lama Foundation in the mountains of northern New Mexico (http://lamafoundation.org).  Lama is a beautiful, off-grid community committed to sustainable and mindful living.  It sits on 100 acres surrounded by National Forest land and draws its power from the sun, water from a spring, and much of its food in the summer directly from the garden. At 8500 feet, Lama provides an ideal setting for reflection and engagement with contemplative environmental issues.

Faculty include David Abram, Nicole Salimbene, Paul Wapner, and Jeff Warren.

For more information, visit:

9. Calls for Papers

“Nature and the Popular Imagination”

5th Conference of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture (ISSRNC)

Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA, USA

August 8-11, 2012

The deadline for proposals is April 1, 2012.



“The Ethical Challenge of Multidisciplinarity: Reconciling ‘The Three Narratives’—Art, Science, and Philosophy”

13th International Conference of the International Society for the Study of European Ideas (ISSEI)

University of Cyprus - Main Campus
Kallipoleos Avenue 75
Nicosia 2100 Cyprus

July 2-6, 2012

The deadline for submitting abstracts is April 15, 2012.


10. Job Announcement: Genesis Farm Director 

Genesis Farm, an ecological learning center in northwestern New Jersey, is receiving applications for the full-time position of Director.

Genesis Farm is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ who founded it in 1980 to welcome all people of good will to search for more authentic ways to live in harmony with the natural world and with each other.

This position requires a person of vision and perseverance, grounded in the knowledge and ecological implications of the evolutionary story of the Universe, a deep respect for the diverse religions and cultures of the human community, and a strong sense of place within this bioregion. This position would also assume a commitment to personal and organizational simplicity and frugality of means.

Responsibilities include:

* The fostering of the mission of Genesis Farm
* Overall responsibility for 231 acres of land and its infrastructures as well as for the farm’s programs, resources and outreach
* The development and implementation of staff participation in the mission of the farm as well as the policies, systems and procedures to fulfill it.

Review of applications will begin on December 15, 2011 and continue until the position is filled. A complete application consists of a letter of intent, curricula vitae and three references. Please send application to Elsie Bernauer, OP, Sisters of St. Dominic, 1 Ryerson Avenue, Caldwell, NJ, 07006 or email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). For a complete description, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

11. Water Ethics Network

The Water Ethics Network was launched in August by the Water-Culture Institute, to link people who are working on water ethics in some way.  The purpose is to promote exploration into the values dimensions of water behaviors and policies.  The November Water Ethics Newsletter is posted at www.waterethicsnetwork.blogspot.com.  Past newsletters, as well as links to the Network's presence on Linked-in, Twitter, and Facebook, and other resources, are on the new Water Ethics website, http://waterethics.org

12. Earth Story Calendar

The scientific account of Earth’s formation and development is a story of vibrant creativity and stunning transformation.  The journey begins within the fiery core of a star, and gives rise to the emergence of a species able to comprehend its origin.  We have learned that the unfolding of the human is interwoven with the unfolding of the planet.  This is the theme of Earth Story Calendar.

This beautiful calendar is the inspiration of Peter Adair, with graphic design by Julia Jandrisits. This calendar was entirely conceived, written, designed and printed in Vermont.  Twelve stunning images illustrate Adair’s evocative prose, as the story unfolds one month at a time. 12” x 12” glossy format opening to 12” x 24”.

For more information, visit:

13. Swedish Poet Tomas Tranströmer Wins the Nobel Prize in Literature

Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer was recently rewarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in Stockholm.  Tranströmer, long a favorite to win the prize, is well known poets and readers around the world. He is most translated living poet today with his poetry in more than 60 languages.

Tomas has described his poetry as a meeting-place where aspects of life not ordinarily joined come together. What first appears to be a conflict turns out to be a connection. It is a compelling poetry for our time. Deeply rooted in nature, with a clarity of concision and concreteness, and a persistent spiritual journey, his poems invite you in to this meeting-place of new glimpses into histories and mysteries that reveal boundless fields of experience.

To read the New York Times article “Swedish Poet Wins Nobel Prize for Literature,” visit:

To read more about Tranströmer's life and view a list of his books, visit: 

14. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

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 

For more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/journals/index.html.  If you know of a publication that needs to be added to this list, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 


For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: