April 2013

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
7.4 (April 2013)


1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. Pope Francis Calls for Protection for the Environment and the Poor

3. “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” (June 23-29, 2013 at Chautauqua Institution, NY, USA)

4. Journey of the Universe Film Screenings & Broadcasts

5. New Books

6. Calls for Papers

7. Events

8. National Climate Change Education Event: Celebrate Earth Day with Sun Come Up Screening Event (April 22)

9. Online Interfaith Course on Climate Change

10. Video: “Together at the Table”—John Elder Speaks at Nourish New Haven Conference

11. Eco-Dharma and Bhumi-Seva: Greening the North American Hindu Temples

12. Report on “National Consultation: Water, Livelihoods and Climate Change”

13. “Buddha Touched the Earth: An Exploration of Engaged Buddhism,” by John Seed

14. Summer Institute: “Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy For Self And Planet” (July 28 - August 3, 2013 at Lama Foundation, NM, USA)

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the April 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.

On March 11-12, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim traveled to Costa Rica as part of the UNESCO Chair on Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter. They visited three universities – University for Peace, University LaSalle, and Universidad Tecnica Nacional (Alajuela) – and gave lectures and held open dialogues about the Universe Story and ethics, and they also showed the EMMY® award-winning Journey of the Universe film. For more information about these events, visit: http://www.earthcharterinaction.org/content/articles/929/1/Dialogue-with-Mary-Evelyn-Tucker-and-John-Grim-in-March/Page1.html and http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/past-events/2013/3/13/journey-of-the-universe-events-costa-rica-march-11-12-2013.html

I am happy to let you know that the Journey of the Universe book has been translated into French and Korean. The French edition of the book is published by Editions Vega and can be purchased at: http://www.editions-tredaniel.com/lodyssee-de-lunivers-p-5162.html

I am pleased to remind you about the upcoming conference at Chautauqua Institution in New York on June 23-29, 2013. The theme is “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” where scientists (such as Brian Greene) will speak in the morning and religion scholars in the afternoon. The afternoon sessions will include responses to Journey of the Universe from the perspectives of the world religions and are being organized by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim with colleagues from the Forum, including Heather Eaton, Chris Chapple, David Haberman, and James Miller. We hope you might join us so that we can continue the conversation with others interested in the Great Work. Stay tuned for more information in upcoming months by visiting two pages on the conference website: http://www.ciweb.org/religion-lectures-week-one/ and http://www.ciweb.org/education-lectures-week-one/ For lodging information for this conference, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/calendar/item/our-elegant-universe/

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


2. Pope Francis Calls for Protection for the Environment and the Poor

Pope Francis Opens Ministry: ‘Let Us Be Protectors’”
By Nicole Winfield
NBC Bay Area
March 26, 2013

Pope Francis says during installation Mass that “authentic power is service” and urges protection for the environment and the poor.

Pope Francis urged princes, presidents, sheiks and thousands of ordinary people gathered for his installation Mass on Tuesday to protect the environment, the weakest and the poorest, mapping out a clear focus of his priorities as leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.

“Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be ‘protectors’ of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment,” Francis said in a homily.

For full story, visit:

To read Pope Francis’ Installation Mass Homily, visit:

3. “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” (June 23-29, 2013 at Chautauqua Institution, NY, USA)

Journey of the Universe

The history of the Universe is both a scientific and a spiritual story. It is the scientific story of a 14-billion-year continuum from a speck of pure energy to everything we can see around us. It is also a spiritual story, one that transcends individual, human and geo-political boundaries. This understanding brings us into the present urgent need to protect our planet’s future and ensure a flourishing and spiritually connected Earth community.

Week One of the 2013 Season features a roster of interfaith scholars, led by Yale University professor and historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker, exploring the themes of Tucker’s Emmy-winning documentary Journey of the Universe. The film (based on her book with evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme) draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology and biology with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.

Journey of the Universe will be screened throughout Week One. To learn more, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/

Confirmed Lecturers:
Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, Heather Eaton, Chris Chapple, David Haberman, James Miller, Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Safei Eldin Hamed, Lisa Sideris, and Christopher Ives.



Our Elegant Universe”

Chautauqua opens the 2013 Season with an exploration into the wonders of the cosmos. What theories are leading thinkers wrestling with, and how do they inform our understanding of space and time? Where do they disagree? We’ll hear from pioneering scientists, deep space explorers and others who pursue answers to the most basic questions of existence.

Confirmed Lecturers:
Brian Greene, Kobie Boykins, and Jennifer Wiseman



For lodging information for this event, visit:

4. Journey of the Universe Film Screenings & Broadcasts

Journey of the Universe Events: Rochester, NY (April 10-24, 2013)
Nazareth College
4245 East Avenue
Rochester, NY
April 10, 2:30pm – Film Screening - https://www.naz.edu/events/1364570405441
April 11, 9pm – Film Screening - https://www.naz.edu/events/1364570736503
April 24, 7pm – Film Screening - https://www.naz.edu/events/1364571643116

Film Screening: Boulder, CO (April 10, 2013)
“Everything Conceivable” – 65th Annual Conference on World Affairs
Muenzinger Auditorium
University of Colorado at Boulder
Boulder, CO
Panelists: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Moderator: Paula DuPré Pesmen
All events at this conference are free and open to the public.

PBS Broadcasts: Northern CA (April 23-30, 2013)
Northern CA, KQED Plus: 4/23/2013 at 10:00 PM
Northern CA, KQED Plus: 4/24/2013 at 4:00 AM
Northern CA, KQED Plus: 4/29/2013 at 11:00 PM
Northern CA, KQED Plus: 4/30/2013 at 5:00 AM

American Teilhard Association Annual Meeting
“The Teilhardian Roots of Journey of the Universe
Lecture by Mary Evelyn Tucker
Union Theological Seminary
New York City, NY, USA
May 11, 2013

Journey of the Universe Events: Chapel Hill, NC (May 17-18, 2013)
United Church of Chapel Hill
1321 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
Chapel Hill, NC
May 17 - 7:30-9:00 pm - Film Screening & Discussion
May 18 - 9:30-11:45am - “A Forum on the Universe Story in Liturgy, Art, Myth and Education” http://www.mychurchevents.com/calendar/calendar.aspx?cei=260245916&event_date=5/18/2013&ci=L6J4I3L6F0L6J4&igd

A Universe Story Retreat”
A contemplative retreat featuring Mary Evelyn Tucker, Jean Newbold, SHCJ, and Terry Moran
Presentation by Mary Evelyn Tucker on June 15, 2pm, is open to the public.
Havertown, PA, USA
June 14-19, 2013

For more information about film screenings, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/upcoming-events/

5. New Books

Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation
By Cynthia D. Moe-Lobeda
Fortress Press, 2013

The increasingly pressing and depressing situation of Planet Earth poses urgent ethical questions for Christians. But, as Cynthia Moe-Lobeda argues, the future of the earth is not simply a matter of protecting species and habitats but of rethinking the very meaning of Christian ethics. The earth crisis cannot be understood apart from the larger human crisis—economic equity, social values, and human purpose are bound up with the planet’s survival. In a sense, she says, the whole earth is a moral community.

Reorienting Christian ethics from its usual anthropocentrism to an ecocentrism entails a new framework that Moe-Lobeda lays out in her first chapters, culminating in a creative rethinking of how it is that we understand morally. With this “moral epistemology” in place, she unfolds her notion of “moral vision” and applies it to the present situation in a full-fledged earth-honoring, justice-seeking Christian ethical stance.


Future Primal: How Our Wilderness Origins Show Us the Way Forward
By Louis G. Herman
New World Library, 2013

How should we respond to our converging crises of violent conflict, political corruption, and global ecological devastation? In this sweeping, big-picture synthesis, Louis G. Herman’s Future Primal argues that for us to create a sustainable, fulfilling future, we need to first look back into our deepest past to recover our core humanity. Important clues for recovery can be found in the lives of traditional San Bushman hunter-gatherers of South Africa, the closest living relatives to the ancestral African population from which all humans descended. Their culture can give us a sense of what life was like during the tens of thousands of years when humans lived in wilderness, without warfare, walled cities, or slavery. Herman suggests we draw from the experience of the San and other earth-based cultures and weave their wisdom together with the scientific story of an evolving universe to help create something radically new — an earth-centered, planetary politics with the personal truth quest at its heart.


Religion and Sustainability: Social Movements and the Politics of the Environment
By Lucas F. Johnston
Acumen Publishing, 2013

Sustainability is now key to international and national policy, manufacture and consumption. It is also central to many individuals who try to lead environmentally ethical lives. Historically, religion has been a significant part of many visions of sustainability. Pragmatically, the inclusion of religious values in conservation and development efforts has facilitated relationships between people with different value structures. Despite this, little attention has been paid to the interdependence of sustainability and religion, with no significant comparisons of religious and secular sustainability advocacy. Religion and Sustainability presents the first broad analysis of the spiritual dimensions of sustainability-oriented social movements. Exploring the similarities and differences between the conceptions of sustainability held by religious, interfaith and secular organizations, the book analyses how religious practice and discourse have impacted on political ideology and process.


The Many Sides of Peace: Christian Nonviolence, The Contemplative Life and Sustainable Living
By Brayton Shanley
Wifp and Stock, 2013

The Many Sides of Peace comes out of thirty years of living in a Catholic lay community, attempting to understand and practice the compelling ideas of gospel-centered nonviolent love. The book attempts to speak to the signs of these times for those who seek peace and liberation from both war and the looming ecological Armageddon. It is a faith based on the revelation of Jesus and the conviction that a love that is nonviolent will save this environmentally threatened planet and its warlike people from an “at risk” status to a more peaceful and sustainable one. This is a message of hope, a “how to live” spiritual manual for human/earth survival that can help create a bold and beautiful world.

6. Calls for Papers

Art, Environment, Sustainability”
Antennae, The Journal of Nature and Visual Culture
Submission deadline: September 1, 2013

Special Issue on Religion, Disability and the Environment
Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Submission deadline: November 1, 2013

7. Events

Science, Ecology and Faith Series 2013
The Church Center for the United Nations, New York, NY, USA
April 10, 2013 - Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung: “Eco-Feminism and Earth Spiritualities”
April 18, 2013 - Ian Dunlop and Tapio Kanninen: “Global Survivability and the Need for Drastic Environmental Action”
May 1, 2013 - Trebbe Johnson: “Aphrodite at the Landfill”

Come to the Quiet: A Retreat on Seeking Peace & Living a Sustainable Life”
A Retreat for Young Adults and Post-College: On Seeking Peace & Living a Sustainable Life
Agape Community, Ware, MA, USA
April 12-14, 2013

“Ecology, Christian Spirituality, and Social Justice: Josiah Royce, Teilhard de Chardin, and Rudolf Steiner”
Lecture by Robert McDermott, President Emeritus of the California Institute of Integral Studies
Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, CA, USA
April 18, 2013

“Envisioning a Sustainable Future: Ecological, Spiritual, and Ethical Perspectives”
Lecture by Mary Evelyn Tucker
Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, USA
April 18, 2013

“Religions and Ecology: The Emerging Alliance”
Lecture by Mary Evelyn Tucker
Nazareth College, Rochester, NY, USA
April 19, 2013

Religious and Spiritual Perspectives on Climate Engineering”
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam, Germany
April 24–26, 2013

Global Environmental Justice”
Universität Bremen, Germany
April 26-27, 2013

Climate Revival: An Ecumenical Festival to Embolden the Renewal of Creation”
Old South Church (UCC) & Trinity Church (Episcopal), Boston, MA, USA
April 27, 2013

For more events, visit:

8. National Climate Change Education Event: Celebrate Earth Day with Sun Come Up Screening Event (April 22)

The Catholic Coalition on Climate Change is sponsoring a nationwide screening of the Academy Award-nominated film Sun Come Up on Earth Day this April 22, 2013. You are invited to screen this film with your group or organization.

The film depicts some of the world’s first “forced climate migrants,” inhabitants of the Carteret Islands just north of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea. The Catholic Church has been instrumental in helping to relocate these “environmental refugees.”

The film is accompanied by a free Education Kit and Discussion Guide (versions for Parishes, Youth/ High Schools, and Colleges) to aid discussion about the film and action steps that viewers can take to respond to the unfolding climate perspective based on authentic Catholic teaching.

For more information, visit:

9. Online Interfaith Course on Climate Change

The Wilmette Institute will offer a 7-week online course on climate change, from May 5 - June 23, 2013

The objectives of the course are:

• to help participants become literate in the science of climate change and to acquire an understanding of how it impacts people today and in the future,

• to explore ethical questions related to climate change and to address them within the context of the spiritual teachings of the world’s religions, especially of the Baha’i Faith,

• to enable participants to make enlightened decisions for their lives that are consistent with their own spiritual and ethical values.

For those interested in a more thorough study of climate change or who are interested in specific aspects of it or in its ethical challenges and spiritual dimensions, the course offers numerous optional resources.

The Wilmette Institute is an online Baha’i Learning Center: Its courses are open to members of all religions. Participants are usually from many countries and continents. On the faculty are Christine Muller, Arthur Lyon Dahl, Carole Flood, Karryn Olson-Ramanujan, and Melinda Salazar.

To register, visit:

10. Video: “Together at the Table”—John Elder Speaks at Nourish New Haven Conference

John Elder, celebrated Middlebury College professor and Orion Magazine advisor, delivered the opening remarks at the Nourish New Haven local food justice and sustainability conference February 22, 2013. Held at Yale Divinity School, the conference connected University scholars and leaders with farmers, policy makers, educators, chefs, faith leaders, community activists, and students.

“Together at the Table” shares food’s practical and profound opportunity for holding in common with others. Envisioning a more inclusive, responsible sense community, Elder encourages not only talking but also eating together and nourishing one another. “Food has replaced wilderness as the beating heart of the environmental movement,” he proclaims, while also stressing the “fundamental right of every human being to have tasty and nutritious food.” Elder offers the personal, social, and ecological stories for more gratifying life together.

Watch the video here:

11. Eco-Dharma and Bhumi-Seva: Greening the North American Hindu Temples

The University of North Texas (UNT), in collaboration with the Hindu American Seva Communities (HASC), Harvard University’s Pluralism Project, Oxford University’s Bhumi Project, and Green Faith is working with temples and places of worship across the nation to reduce the carbon footprint. The Bhumi Seva initiative was launched in July 2011 at the White House. The Bhumi Project is a worldwide Hindu response to the environmental issues facing our planet. The initiative is facilitated by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, in partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and backed by the United Nations Development Programme.

For more information, visit:

See the following related news items:

Pluralism Project Affiliate Leads Effort to “Green” Hindu Temples”
In Harvard’s Pluralism Project Newsletter
March 18, 2103

Turning temples in North America green”
India Abroad
February 1, 2013

Practicing Ahimsa: Nonviolence toward Humans, Animals, and Earth”
By Pankaj Jain
Religious Studies News, AAR
March 2013

12. Report on “National Consultation: Water, Livelihoods and Climate Change”

Our generation today has come face to face with the challenges of water, climate change and the livelihood issues that it brings with it. A national consultation aimed to address these issues in a workshop organized by Tarun Bharat Sangh on March 13-14, 2013 in Bheekampura, Alwar, Rajasthan, India.

For the report, visit:

13. “Buddha Touched the Earth: An Exploration of Engaged Buddhism,” by John Seed

Buddha Touched the Earth” is the title of a new workshop facilitated by William James, Lisa Siegel and I that was first held at North Farm near Bellingen in northern New South Wales, Australia Feb 7-10 2012.

The workshop brought together Buddhist meditation with experiential deep ecology processes. Mornings were spent in silence, yoga, sitting and walking meditation. Afternoons and evenings consisted of experiential deep ecology processes as devised by Joanna Macy, myself and others.

The title “Buddha Touched the Earth” refers to the famous story about the Buddha, on the eve of his enlightenment, assailed one last time by Mara who challenged him by asking “By whose authority do you claim this supposed enlightenment?” The Buddha replied by touching the Earth as depicted in countless images and icons and the Earth roared her assent.

Read the full article:

14. Summer Institute: “Contemplative Environmental Studies: Pedagogy For Self And Planet” (July 28 - August 3, 2013 at Lama Foundation, NM, USA)

A workshop/retreat for professors
Lama Foundation, San Cristobal, New Mexico

This workshop explores the contribution of contemplative practices to scholarly inquiry and teaching in environmental studies. Through discussions with distinguished scholars, focused conversations among colleagues, artistic exercises, and regular contemplative practice (meditation, yoga, journaling, and nature walks), participants will investigate ways to deepen their teaching, research, and lives at this historic moment of environmental intensification.

Part workshop and part retreat, this 6-day summer institute provides an opportunity to step back from the frenetic pace of our lives, and cultivate our inner resources and nurture the resiliency we need as teachers committed to education on a fragile and wild planet.

Each day will include sessions that explore the contemplative nature of environmental affairs, such as the role of compassion, silence, direct experience, and engaged social action in responding to environmental dangers. Each day will also include substantial contemplative practice time. As a group, we will engage in meditation, yoga, art exercises, journaling, nature walks, and community tuning. There will also be opportunities for participants to partake of other contemplative activities hosted by the Lama community, and to use free time to deepen one’s personal practice (or simply relax). The Institute will weave these activities together through a focus on contemplative environmental pedagogy. It aims to cultivate ways of best educating college and university students in a time of monumental environmental intensification.

Faculty include Daniel Barbezat, Matthew Jelacic, Michelle McCauley, Nicole Salimbene, Paul Wapner, and Jeff Warren.


15. 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.com/worldviews-global-religions-culture-and-ecology

For more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/journals/. If you know of a publication that needs to be added to this list, email news@religionandecology.org

For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: