August 2015

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
9.8 (August 2015)



1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. Press Release: “Why Do I Care? French Government makes climate change debate personal pre COP”

3. Short Survey: “Is there a need for a selection of classroom-ready videos about global environmental justice?”

4. New Publications

5. Events

6. Creation Time Worship Material

7. Job Openings

8. Video of Thomas Berry at Faith Community Church in Greensboro, NC, USA

9. Graduate Programs

10. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology


1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the August 2015 issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. We have much to share with you this month with regards to developments in the field of Religion and Ecology, including videos, publications, events, and more.

On June 18, the Vatican officially released the Papal encyclical on the environment: “Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home” (Laudato Si’). This is a crucial moment in the religion and ecology movement, as this is the first encyclical in the history of the Church to address environmental concerns. In the encyclical, Pope Francis highlighted issues of “integral ecology,” namely concerns for people and the planet. He addressed both the degradation of the environment and the challenge of climate change along with how this is impacting the poor and most vulnerable. Social and economic justice is an important theme along with care for Earth and for present and future generations. This teaching document could serve as a motivating force for the over one billion Catholics of the world and many other people of spiritual and environmental conviction. There are a number of resources on the Forum site ( to provide you more information on the encyclical, including “Frequently Asked Questions on the Papal Encyclical,” a video recording and transcript of the Yale panel discussion entitled “Pope Francis and the Environment: Why His New Climate Encyclical Matters,” related news articles, and more.

Bill McKibben recently published an article in the New York Review of Books on the encyclical entitled “The Pope and the Planet.” The full text is only available to subscribers, but you can read a preview here:

We are happy to share news with you about two important events. On August 9-14, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will hold its 100th Annual Meeting. This meeting, entitled “Ecological Science at the Frontier: Celebrating ESA’s Centennial,” will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center in Maryland, USA. It is exciting to note that there will be ten panels on Religion and Ecology at this meeting! To see a sample of some of these Religion and Ecology events, visit: Mary Evelyn Tucker will be participating in this meeting in the session on “Ecologists and Faith & Justice Communities: A Journey from Antagonism to Earth Stewardship Partnerships for the Next Century.” For more, visit:

Also, on July 21-24, the Chinese University of Hong Kong hosted the 19th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP). The focus of this year’s conference was “Chinese Philosophy in the Contemporary World.” Mary Evelyn Tucker gave a lecture on “The Earth Charter and Contributions of Confucian Values Toward a Sustainable Future.” For more, visit:

The Forum on Religion and Ecology now has a Facebook page! Please show your support by “liking” us and sharing our page with your Facebook friends. Visit the new page at

Journey of the Universe also has a Facebook page that we invite you to visit: Journey of the Universe Conversations is available on Vimeo for streaming and downloading. You can access the individual episodes or the complete collection at For a list of stores where the Journey project is available, visit:

We 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. Press Release: “Why Do I Care? French Government makes climate change debate personal pre COP”

In a move that many, including key government figures, said was “remarkable”, “unique”, “historic” the French government agreed to send through its diplomatic channel a letter from leading religious and cultural world figures to the heads of the 195 delegations coming to the climate change COP.

The letter asks them to ask themselves a single and personal question: Why Do I Care?

Why are we asking you to do this?” it asks. “Because we hope that in answering this question, you will come to the COP primarily as a conscious human being not just a representative of a Government or agency. In the end the most important element of this is that we hear from you as a person, a member of the human family who has for a time a uniquely significant role to play in protecting the world.”

The letter was announced at a groundbreaking “Summit of Conscience” in Paris, July 21, hosted by the Elysee Palace, along with leading French publisher Bayard Press and the UK-based Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC).

The Summit of Conscience departs from the place that the climate crisis … cannot be reduced to scientific, technological, economic and political dimensions, however important those are,” said French President Francois Hollande. “It is in fact a crisis of meaning.”

Watch conference videos, see photos, and read the full press release:

3. Short Survey: “Is there a need for a selection of classroom-ready videos about global environmental justice?”

You can help us to find out if there is a need for a collection of 20 short documentaries selected by educators and made available to universities worldwide, online or on DVD. Each year more titles would be added. It should take less than five minutes to answer eight basic questions about the need for this collection, or a little longer if you choose to view a trailer and address four questions about content. We appreciate your help.

Here is the link to the survey:

Thank you,
Gary Marcuse, Project Director, Face to Face Media
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University

Judith Shapiro, Global Environmental Politics Program, American University
Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University
Peter O’Brien Former Director, DC Environmental Film Festival

Reviewers to date:
Jason Carbine Director, Asia and the Environment Project, Whittier College
Amity Doolittle, Yale school of Forestry and Environmental Studies
We welcome additional contributors and reviewers.

Face to Face Media:
In the past we’ve assembled video collections to support the teaching of Media Literacy, Indigenous Studies, Peace Studies, Psychology and Sociology. Project director Gary Marcuse is an award-winning filmmaker whose work focuses on social and environmental issues. His most recent documentary Waking the Green Tiger explores the rise of a green movement in China. For more information please visit

4. New Publications

Sierra Club is no longer publishing books, and thus Thomas Berry’s two Sierra Club books will be reissued by Counterpoint Press. This press, now based in Berkeley, publishes Wendell Berry, Gary Snyder, Wes Jackson, and many others noted in the environmental world.


The Dream of the Earth
By Thomas Berry
Foreword by Brian Swimme
New Preface by Terry Tempest Williams
Counterpoint Press, 2015
(First published by Sierra Club Books, 1988)

This landmark work has established itself as a foundational volume in the ecological canon. In it, noted cultural historian Thomas Berry provides nothing less than a new intellectual-ethical framework for the human community by positing planetary well-being as the measure of all human activity. Drawing on the wisdom of Western philosophy, Asian thought, and Native American traditions, as well as contemporary physics and evolutionary biology, Berry offers a new perspective that recasts our understanding of science, technology, politics, religion, ecology, and education. He shows us why it is important for us to respond to the Earth’s need for planetary renewal, and what we must do to break free of the “technological trance” that drives a misguided dream of progress. Only then, he suggests, can we foster mutually enhancing human-Earth relationships that can heal our traumatized global biosystem.


Evening Thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as Sacred Community
By Thomas Berry
Edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker
Counterpoint Press, 2015
(First published by Sierra Club Books, 2006)

Among the contemporary voices for the Earth, none resonates like that of noted cultural historian Thomas Berry. His teaching and writings have inspired a generation’s thinking about humankind’s place in the Earth Community and the universe, engendering widespread critical acclaim and a documentary film on his life and work. This new collection of essays, from various years and occasions, expands and deepens ideas articulated in his earlier writings and also breaks new ground. Berry opens our eyes to the full dimensions of the ecological crisis, framing it as a crisis of spiritual vision. Applying his formidable erudition in cultural history, science, and comparative religions, he forges a compelling narrative of creation and communion that reconciles modern evolutionary thinking and traditional religious insights concerning our integral role in Earth’s society. While sounding an urgent alarm at our current dilemma, Berry inspires us to reclaim our role as the consciousness of the universe and thereby begin to create a true partnership with the Earth Community. With Evening Thoughts, this wise elder has lit another beacon to lead us home.


Whole Earth Thinking and Planetary Coexistence: Ecological Wisdom at the Intersection of Religion, Ecology, and Philosophy
By Sam Mickey
Routledge, 2015

Like never before in history, humans are becoming increasingly interconnected with one another and with the other inhabitants and habitats of Earth. There are numerous signs of planetary interrelations, from social media and international trade to genetic engineering and global climate change. The scientific study of interrelations between organisms and environments, Ecology, is uniquely capable of addressing the complex challenges that characterize our era of planetary coexistence. Whole Earth Thinking and Planetary Coexistence focuses on newly emerging approaches to ecology that cross the disciplinary boundaries of sciences and humanities with the aim of responding to the challenges facing the current era of planetary interconnectedness. It introduces concepts that draw out a creative contrast between religious and secular approaches to the integration of sciences and humanities, with religious approaches represented by the “geologian” Thomas Berry and the whole Earth thinking of Stephanie Kaza and Gary Snyder, and the more secular approaches represented by the “geophilosophy” of poststructuralist theorists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.


Devoted to Nature: The Religious Roots of American Environmentalism
By Evan Berry
University of California Press, 2015

Devoted to Nature explores the religious underpinnings of American environmentalism, tracing the theological character of American environmental thought from its Romantic foundations to contemporary nature spirituality. During the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era, religious sources were central to the formation of the American environmental imagination, shaping ideas about the natural world, establishing practices of engagement with environments and landscapes, and generating new modes of social and political interaction. Building on the work of seminal environmental historians who acknowledge the environmental movement’s religious roots, Evan Berry offers a potent theoretical corrective to the narrative that explained the presence of religious elements in the movement well into the twentieth century. In particular, Berry argues that an explicitly Christian understanding of salvation underlies the movement’s orientation toward the natural world. Theologically derived concepts of salvation, redemption, and spiritual progress have not only provided the basic context for Americans’ passion for nature but have also established the horizons of possibility within the national environmental imagination.


The Earth in God’s Economy: Creation, Salvation and Consummation in Ecological Perspective
By Ernst M. Conradie
Reihe: Studies in Religion and the Environment/Studien zur Religion und Umwelt
LIT Verlag, 2015

Ecological destruction is taking place on such a scale that it prompts the need to make sense of the world in which we live and of this moment in history. This study explores the ecological significance of seeing the world as the whole household of the triune God and, more specifically, in terms of God’s acts of house-holding (economy), including creation, salvation and eschatological consummation. What, then, is the place of the Earth in God’s economy?


The Battle for Yellowstone: Morality and the Sacred Roots of Environmental Conflict
By Justin Farrell
Princeton University Press, 2015

Yellowstone holds a special place in America’s heart. As the world’s first national park, it is globally recognized as the crown jewel of modern environmental preservation. But the park and its surrounding regions have recently become a lightning rod for environmental conflict, plagued by intense and intractable political struggles among the federal government, National Park Service, environmentalists, industry, local residents, and elected officials. The Battle for Yellowstone asks why it is that, with the flood of expert scientific, economic, and legal efforts to resolve disagreements over Yellowstone, there is no improvement? Why do even seemingly minor issues erupt into impassioned disputes? What can Yellowstone teach us about the worsening environmental conflicts worldwide? Justin Farrell argues that the battle for Yellowstone has deep moral, cultural, and spiritual roots that until now have been obscured by the supposedly rational and technical nature of the conflict. Tracing in unprecedented detail the moral causes and consequences of large-scale social change in the American West, he describes how a “new-west” social order has emerged that has devalued traditional American beliefs about manifest destiny and rugged individualism, and how morality and spirituality have influenced the most polarizing and techno-centric conflicts in Yellowstone’s history. This groundbreaking book shows how the unprecedented conflict over Yellowstone is not all about science, law, or economic interests, but more surprisingly, is about cultural upheaval and the construction of new moral and spiritual boundaries in the American West.


Climate Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Climate Change
Edited by Jessica Barnes and Michael R. Dove
Yale University Press, 2015

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our times, yet also seemingly intractable. This book offers novel insights on this contemporary challenge, drawing together the state-of-the-art thinking in anthropology. Approaching climate change as a nexus of nature, culture, science, politics, and belief, the book reveals nuanced ways of understanding the relationships between society and climate, science and the state, certainty and uncertainty, global and local that are manifested in climate change debates. The contributors address three major areas of inquiry: how climate change issues have been framed in previous times compared to the present; how knowledge about climate change and its impacts is produced and interpreted by different groups; and how imagination plays a role in shaping conceptions of climate change.


On Animals
Volume I: Systematic Theology
By David L. Clough
T&T Clark/Bloomsbury, 2014

This volume is a project in systematic theology: a rigorous engagement with the Christian tradition in relation to animals under the doctrinal headings of creation, reconciliation and redemption and in dialogue with the Bible and theological voices central to the tradition. The book shows that such engagement with the tradition with the question of the animal in mind produces surprising answers that challenge modern anthropocentric assumptions. For the most part, therefore, the novelty of the project lies in the questions raised, rather than the proposal of innovative answers to it. The transformation in our thinking about animals for which the book argues results in the main from looking squarely for the first time at the sum of what we are already committed to believing about other animals and their place in God’s creation.

If you teach a course for which you would like to consider adopting the book, and would like to receive a free copy, please send your name, institutional address, and course title to


Don’t Stop at the Lights: Leading Your Church Through a Changing Climate
By David Shreeve and Claire Foster-Gilbert
Church House Publishing, 2008; updated in 2015

Many churches are taking action to reduce their carbon footprints. But recycling and changing lightbulbs are only the first steps. Written by the authors of How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change a Christian?, this handbook gives clergy and church leaders the tools they need to help their congregations take those next steps. Structured around the Church’s year for ease of implementation, Don’t Stop at the Lights provides material to help church leaders plan a year of environmental change in their church. For each season, it includes: Environmental themes and how to link these to services and sermons; Practical actions; Case studies of good practice to inspire church leaders; Study material on key Biblical texts on creation and environmental concern.

All copies ordered are now delivered with a free 2015 Update which includes new information including information about how churches can prepare for the Paris climate change talks. Download the 2015 update here:


Religion and Ecology in the Anthropocene”
Special Issue of the journal Religions, 2015
Edited by Michael Hogue

This special issue of Religions features scholarship at the leading edge of the broad area of study referred to variously as “religion and nature”, “religion and the environment”, and “religion and ecology”. To think at the intersection of religion and ecology in the early 21st century-in the midst of the epochal geo-cultural transition marked by the concept of the Anthropocene, and in the midst of planetary ecological crisis and massive climate injustice-is to think at the edge of some of the most vital questions the human species has ever faced.

Some of the articles in this special issue include:

• “The Roman Catholic Tradition in Conversation with Thomas Berry’s Fourfold Wisdom,” by Simon Appolloni
• “Climate Weirding and Queering Nature: Getting Beyond the Anthropocene,” by Whitney A. Bauman
• “How to Survive the Anthropocene: Adaptive Atheism and the Evolution of Homo deiparensis,” by F. LeRon Shults

Read these articles for free here:

5. Events

“Exploring the Sacred Universe Earth Literacy Program”
Oblate Ecological Initiative, Godfrey, Illinois, USA
August 4-11, 2015

Unsettling Science and Religion: Contributions and Questions from Queer Studies”
2015 Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) conference
Star Island, NH, USA
August 8-15, 2015

Ecological Science at the Frontier: Celebrating ESA’s Centennial”
Ecological Society of America (ESA) 100th Annual Meeting
Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, MD, USA
August 9-14, 2015

Retreat into the Universe Story”
What is Earth Asking?
Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat, Wheatland, IA, USA
August 9-15, 2015

Green the Church National Summit”
Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, IL, USA
August 19-21, 2015

Integral Ecology: Concern for Environmental and Economic Justice”
Presentation by Mary Evelyn Tucker with respondent Fr. John Coleman
University of San Francisco, Xavier Hall, San Francisco, CA, USA
September 3, 2015 at 7pm

Spaciousness: De-cluttering Our Minds, Speech, and Daily Actions”
With Chris Ives
Barre Center for Buddhist Studies, Barre, MA, USA
September 6, 2015

Care for Creation: Scripture, Science, and Ethics”
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL, USA
September 8 - December 1, 2015

Living in the Divine Milieu”
With Ursula King
Wisdom House Retreat and Conference Center, Litchfield, CT, USA
September 11-12, 2015

Place-based Activism and Spiritual Practice”
2nd Convergence of the Salish Sea Spiritual Ecology Alliance (SSSEA)
Vancouver, BC, Canada
September 13, 20, 26, and October 4, 2015

EcoSattva Training”
Online, interactive training on Buddhist responses to climate change
Featuring Joanna Macy, rev. angel Kyodo Williams, and others
September 13 - November 15, 2015

Following the ‘Road of Fire’: The Emergence of Teilhard de Chardin’s Panchristic Mysticism during the First World War”
Lecture by Ursula King
Chestnut Hill College, Sugarloaf Hill Campus Commonwealth Chateau, Philadelphia, PA, USA
September 15, 2015 at 7pm

Ecology, Economy and Ethics: Mobilizing for a Just Transition”
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, USA
Mary Evelyn Tucker will participate in the session on “Religions for the Earth: The Road to Paris.”
September 16, 2015

A Cosmology of Connection: Worldview, Ecology, Justice, and Creativity”
With Drew Dellinger
Schumacher College, The Old Postern, Dartington, Totnes, Devon, UK
September 21-25, 2015

Moral March for Climate Justice”
Washington, DC, USA
September 24, 2015

Celebrating Pope Francis’ Encyclical”
Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) Convocation
An Ecumenical and Interfaith Convocation Celebrating Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home
Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL, USA
Please register by September 8, 2015.
October 3, 2015

Building and Sustaining Nonviolent Communities: What is Our Future?”
The Agape Community’s Annual St. Francis Day Event
Keynote: Michael Baxter
Agape Community, Ware, MA, USA
October 3, 2015

For more events, visit:

6. Creation Time Worship Material

Worship material for Creation Time 2015 comes from an ecumenical writing group, with contributors from the Church of Scotland, The Methodist Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the United Reformed Church. It follows the World Council of Churches theme, “Joining the Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace.” It is written to help prepare and equip congregations, churches and parishes to respond appropriately to the COP21 gathering, due to take place in Paris in early December 2015. Leaders and representatives of more than one hundred and ninety countries will be meeting together to try to agree measures necessary to avoid damaging changes to the planet and its inhabitants, including a possibly catastrophic 2°C rise in the global temperatures. The material follows the Revised Common Lectionary readings for September, with a particular emphasis on the Gospel readings, which feature Jesus journeying on the road.

7. Job Openings

Associate Director
Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing
University of Notre Dame, IN, USA
Application Deadline: September 14, 2015


Visiting Research Fellow
The Centre de recherche en éthique (CRÉ)
Université de Montréal, Quebec, Canada
Application Deadline: September 15, 2015

8. Video of Thomas Berry at Faith Community Church in Greensboro, NC, USA

The Forum on Religion and Ecology is posting videos and audio recordings of Thomas Berry’s talks on the Thomas Berry Foundation website: The videos are from the library of Lou Niznik thanks to the generous gift of Jane Blewett. We thank Don Smith and Wes Pascoe for editing them and making them available online.

This month we would like to share with you a video from March 1997 of Thomas Berry at Faith Community Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

Watch this video:

9. Graduate Programs

Joint MA in Religion and Ecology

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES) and Yale Divinity School (YDS), New Haven, CT, USA

This graduate program is aimed at students who wish to integrate the study of environmental issues and religious communities in their professional careers and for those who wish to study the cultural and ethical dimensions of environmental problems.

Faculty members: Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Fred Simmons


MA and PhD in Philosophy and Religion, concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness

California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, USA

This graduate program is dedicated to re-imagining the human species as a mutually enhancing member of the Earth community.

Faculty members: Brian Thomas Swimme, Elizabeth Allison, Sean Kelly, Richard Tarnas, and Robert McDermott


For more educational programs related to religion and ecology, visit:

10. 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:

For the online edition, visit:

Table of Contents for Volume 19, Issue 2 (2015):

• Introduction (Whitney A. Bauman)
• The Importance of Religion and Ecology in Indonesia (Zainal Abidin Bagir)
• Faiths from the Archipelago (Fachruddin Majeri Mangunjaya; Imran S.L. Tobing; Andang Binawan; Evangeline Pua and Made Nurbawa)
• The Fight over the Forest (Keith Andrew Bettinger)
• Ammatoan Indigenous Religion and Forest Conservation (Samsul Maarif)
• Islamic Law and the Environment in Indonesia (Anna M. Gade)
• Meaning-Making Practices, Copyrights, and Architecture in the Indonesian Archipelago (Whitney A. Bauman)
• Film Review: Earth, Water, Woman, by D. Fox (prod.), S. Feinbloom and A. Swati Guild (dir.) (Review by Erin Weston)
• Book Review: Systematic Theology and Climate Change: Ecumenical Perspectives, edited by Michael S. Northcott and Peter M. Scott (Review by Ernst Conradie)

To download this newsletter as a PDF, visit:

For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: