December 2010

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
4.12 (December 2010)


1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally 

2. “Time to Take Action on Climate Change Communication”

3. Blog of the Ignatian Network on Environment:

4. Journey of the Universe

5. New Books

6. Events

7. Paul Winter’s Annual Winter Solstice Celebration in the World’s Largest Cathedral

8. Online Teleseminar Series on Evolutionary Christianity

9. Call for Papers: “Traditional Knowledge, Spirituality and Lands” (Special Issue of International Indigenous Policy Journal)

10. Call for Papers: “Plant Ethics” (Special Issue of PAN Philosophy Activism Nature) 

11. Call for Papers: “Degrowth” (Special Issue of Environmental Values)

12. Eco-Congregation Scotland:

13. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the December 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 books, conferences, calls for papers, job openings, events, and more.

We always work to bring you the latest news regarding issues of climate change. Currently, the United Nations Climate Change Conference is happening in Cancún, Mexico (November 29 through December 10).  Around the same time as conference, many other efforts are taking place to facilitate the negotiation of both mitigation and adaptation to climate change as a global community. In the November 19 issue of Science, several researchers and scholars working with climate change published a letter titled “Time to Take Action on Climate Change Communication.” The letter compels the scientific community to enact an initiative to share with public and private sectors information about climate change risks and potential solutions. The letter also calls for institutions to support and fund such an initiative. To read the letter and demonstrate your support by endorsing it, please visit:

The time surrounding the UN Climate Change Conference is providing opportunities for religious communities and leaders to develop responses to climate change. An example of such a religious response to climate change can be found in the blog of the Ignatian Network on Environment. The blog began on the occasion of last year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and the blog continues to discuss Christian, specifically Ignatian, perspectives on climate change, climate justice, the UN Climate Change conferences, and many other issues that involve the intersection of faith and ecology. To visit and participate in this blog, visit:

Religious and ethical perspectives on climate change are discussed in a new book, Religion and Dangerous Environmental Change: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on the Ethics of Climate and Sustainability (LIT Verlag, 2010). Edited by Sigurd Bergmann and Dieter Gerten, this volume is a collection of essays that cross disciplinary boundaries to include the humanities and the arts with sciences to exemplify how religions can facilitate the mitigation of climate change and adaptation to its effects. 

Another publication featured in this newsletter is the groundbreaking work, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations (Earthscan, 2010), edited by Pushpam Kumar. Written by a team of international experts from fields of science, policy, and economics, this volume is part of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), a project set up by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2007. The purpose of TEEB is to study the economic value of Earth’s ecosystems and organisms, including the value of forests, freshwater, soil, and biodiversity.  TEEB reports on the global economic benefits of biodiversity and the costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.  For more info on TEEB, please visit:  Moreover, TEEB does not include religious and ethical criticisms of economic models of privatization or other policies that might reduce natural resources to economic value, such that resources are managed without sufficient concern for ethical and religious values.  

We also want to direct your attention to calls for papers recently issued by three journals. First, a special issue of the International Indigenous Policy Journal will focus on the well-being relationship among traditional knowledge, spirituality, and lands. For more information, visit: Second, a special issue of PAN Philosophy Activism Nature will focus on the topic of “plant ethics,” addressing question of the moral considerability of plants. Contributions are welcome from multiple disciplines from the humanities and life sciences.  See below for more information. Third, a special issue of Environmental Values will focus on the notion of “degrowth” (décroissance), which raises important questions for those concerned with challenging dominant models of economic growth and sustainable development. Papers are encouraged that discuss the “degrowth” movement, its principles and practices, and its ethical, economic, and philosophical implications. For more information, visit:

Finally, we want to announce Paul Winter’s Annual Winter Solstice Celebration, which will take place in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for four performances celebrating the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year. For more information, see below. To buy tickets, watch solstice videos, or download a free music collection, visit:

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

Warm wishes,
Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Web Content Managers & Newsletter Editors

2. “Time to Take Action on Climate Change Communication”

In the November 19 issue of Science, several colleagues and I published a letter titled “Time to Take Action on Climate Change Communication.”  In the letter, we issued a call to the science community to “develop, implement, and sustain an independent initiative with a singular mandate: to actively and effectively share information about climate change risks and potential solutions with the public, particularly decision-makers in the public, private and non-profit sectors.” Moreover, we called on philanthropic funding institutions to “endorse and provide sustained support for the initiative.”

I ask that you join my colleagues and me by endorsing this letter.  You can read the full letter, and demonstrate your support by endorsing it, at

Thank you in advance,

Anthony Leiserowitz, Ph.D.
Director, Yale Project on Climate Change Communication
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale University



3. Blog of the Ignatian Network on Environment:

On the occasion of the COP 15 meeting at Copenhagen, the Ignatian Network on Environment began this blog. José-Ignacio Garcia and Jacques Haers, both Jesuits active at OCIPE in Brussels (Belgium) offer food for thought and discussion. Sean McDonagh S.S.C., a Roman Catholic Columban priest who has written about Christianity and ecology, also contributes to this blog. We hope that readers will actively participate and share their own opinions and ideas.

The address of the blog is:

4. Journey of the Universe

The Journey of the Universe book, film, and educational series by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker will be available in June 2011. This is the result of a seven year process of working with talented film makers and scientists.

For further information on the book, visit the Yale University Press website:

For information on the film and educational series, visit:



5. New Books

Religion and Dangerous Environmental Change: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on the Ethics of Climate and Sustainability
Edited by Sigurd Bergmann and Dieter Gerten
Studies in Religion and the Environment Vol. 2/Studien zur Religion und Umwelt Bd. 2
LIT Verlag, 2010

Given the increasing threats of environmental changes to human societies it is imperative to complement technological and economical problem solutions with alternative perspectives from the humanities and the arts. This pioneer book attempts to advance climate and environmental sciences by including religion as a microcosm of cultural response to environmental change. The authors are renowned in disciplines as diverse as hydrology, religious studies, theology, cultural studies, philosophy and visual arts. They exemplify how religion can contribute to sustainable mitigation of climate change and to creative adaption to its impacts, thus preparing for a deep cultivation of research on religion in environmental change.


The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Ecological and Economic Foundations
Edited by Pushpam Kumar
An output of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)
Earthscan, 2010

Human well-being relies critically on ecosystem services provided by nature. Examples include water and air quality regulation, nutrient cycling and decomposition, plant pollination and flood control, all of which are dependent on biodiversity. They are predominantly public goods with limited or no markets and do not command any price in the conventional economic system, so their loss is often not detected and continues unaddressed and unabated. This in turn not only impacts human well-being, but also seriously undermines the sustainability of the economic system.

It is against this background that TEEB: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity project was set up in 2007 and led by the United Nations Environment Programme to provide a comprehensive global assessment of economic aspects of these issues. This book, written by a team of international experts, represents the scientific state of the art, providing a comprehensive assessment of the fundamental ecological and economic principles of measuring and valuing ecosystem services and biodiversity, and showing how these can be mainstreamed into public policies.

This volume and subsequent TEEB outputs will provide the authoritative knowledge and guidance to drive forward the biodiversity conservation agenda for the next decade.


Witness For The Earth: Coalescing the Religious Environmental Movement
Edited by Tom English and Frederick Krueger
National Religious Coalition on Creation Care, 2010

In this book religious leaders and their institutions call for strong national action on global climate change. This call comes from the majority of America’s religions including Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalian, Evangelical, Quakers and Baha’i. Dr. James Hansen, Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, provides scientific insights showing that climate change is real. The evidence is mounting all around us. The carbon dioxide in the air is increasing. This causes the air temperature to rise, and also increases the acidity of the ocean. Mountain glaciers are retreating. The sea ice in the Arctic is shrinking. Sea levels are rising, and water supplies are threatened. The impacts on humans and other species are already alarming.  The challenge we face is a moral test.  The statements from religious leaders are important because our world is rapidly changing.  Human population has doubled in just the past thirty years. Technologies are changing with bewildering speed. Humans are the most powerful biological and geological force on the planet. If current trends continue, the impacts of our fossil fuel addicted economy will last for millennia. If we remain on our present course, we will condemn our children and those children that follow to a much poorer existence than that with which we have been blessed. This book provides the moral basis for avoiding this catastrophe. It provides a prescription for choosing life so that we and our children may live.


Green Christianity: Five Ways to a Sustainable Future
By Mark I. Wallace
Fortress Press, 2010

The central message of this book is that religion has a special role to play in saving the planet. Religion has the unique power to fire the imagination and empower the will to break the cycle of addiction to nonrenewable energy. The environmental crisis is a crisis not of the head but of the heart. The problem is not that we do not know how to stop climate change but rather that we lack the inner strength to redirect our culture and economy toward a sustainable future. Only a bold and courageous faith can undergird a long–term commitment to change. This book is a call to hope, not despair—a survey of promising directions and a call for readers to discover meaning and purpose in their lives through a spiritually charged commitment to saving the Earth.


Dear Thomas: A Memoir for Thomas Berry
By Vic Hummert
CreateSpace, 2010

In 2004 during a visit with Thomas Berry, who lived on the top floor of a barn in Greensboro, N.C., Berry brushed off objections about “Who would want to read about my life” he had a desire to read the story. On three occasions Berry urged Vic Hummert to write his life story as “fulfillment” of a privileged life. The contents of this book are a chronological recounting of one man’s life, going from a humble origin in rural Illinois to the most densely populated region of the world, later to Latin America for only one year, with a brief interlude in Czechoslovakia and visits to nearly twenty nations. In each region environmental devastation was encountered resulting in painful awareness of the perishing planet. Nuclear warfare would be the ultimate destruction of Earth. Awareness of this cosmic threat brought the author’s path into a personal confrontation with atomic war plans inside the Nuclear War Policy Office in Honolulu, at the secret invitation of a ranking officer who disagreed with U.S. military nuclear policies. 

6. Events

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

Dimensions of Political Ecology: Conference on Nature-Society”
Keynote Speaker: Paul Robbins
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
February 18-19, 2011

American Teilhard Association Annual Meeting”
Speaker: John Haught
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, USA
May 14, 2011

Animals as Religious Subjects: A Transdisciplinary Conference”
Hosted by the European Forum for the Study of Religion and Environment
University of Chester, UK
May 21-24, 2011

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

Old World and New World Perspectives on Environmental Philosophy”
The Eighth Annual Meeting of the International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE)
June 14-17, 2011
Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Doing Good, Doing Bad, Doing Nothing: Scientific and Religious Perspectives”
The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science
Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, New York (USA)
June 18-25, 2011

This Planet as Paradise: Beauty & Ecological Restoration”
4th in a Series of Earth-Honoring Faith
Instructors: Rita Naskashima Brock, Marty Haugen, Janet Parker, Larry Rasmussen, Barbara Rossing, Daniel Spencer
Ghost Ranch Abiquiu, NM, USA
June 20-26, 2011

Minding Animals Conference 2012”
Utrecht University, the Netherlands
July 1-7, 2012



7. Paul Winter’s Annual Winter Solstice Celebration in the World’s Largest Cathedral

Music, dance and renewal of spirit at the great turning point of the year.

For more than 30 years, Paul Winter’s Solstice has been one of New York’s most popular holiday events, along with The Nutcracker and the Radio City Christmas. Winter, the six-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, will once again bring his ensemble to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for four performances celebrating the Winter Solstice and the longest night of the year.

Joining the Consort this year will be Armenian vocalist/percussionist Arto Tunçboyaciyan, gospel singer Theresa Thomason and the dancers and drummers of Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, who lit up the show last year. 

Besides the perennial Solstice classics, the program will feature new pieces born of collaborations among the special guests and the Consort, along with music from the Consort’s new album Miho: Journey to the Mountain. And of course the star of the show, the Cathedral, will contribute its acoustics and esthetic majesty to the celebration.

To buy tickets, watch solstice videos, or download a free music collection, visit:



8. Online Teleseminar Series on Evolutionary Christianity

Evolutionary Christianity is a free, online teleseminar series bringing together 30 of today’s most inspiring Christian leaders and esteemed scientists for a groundbreaking dialogue on how an evolutionary worldview can enrich your life, deepen your faith, and bless our world.

This exciting series of deep conversations begins on Saturday, December 5 and will run through February 2011 and caters to those who value evidence as divine communication. Whatever our differences, we all have deep-time eyes and a global heart—that is, we’re all committed to a just and healthy future for humanity and the larger body of life.

Join Evolutionary Christianity today by going to and signing on for free!



9. Call for Papers: “Traditional Knowledge, Spirituality and Lands” (Special Issue of International Indigenous Policy Journal)

There is evidence to suggest that cultural continuity of Aboriginal communities is a key aspect determining well-being among Aboriginal peoples.  One of the most poignant aspects of traditional culture is spirituality. It is known that Aboriginal spiritualities are undergoing a period of revitalization throughout the world.  For instance, in Canada between 1991 and 2001 Aboriginal spirituality was the only growing spiritual path found among First Nations communities.  Similar spiritual revitalization is taking place in other jurisdictions.  Questions that arise as a result of this spiritual renaissance include:  What are the impacts of spiritual revitalization on Indigenous communities?  How does the interrelation with ‘religion’ impact an individual’s and a community’s well-being?  How is this revitalization being received in settler society? What are the implications for policy development? How far an international reach and to what degree are transnational connections being forged in the revitalization of traditional spirituality?

The International Indigenous Policy Journal is pleased to announce a call for articles for a special edition addressing the well-being relationship among traditional knowledge, spirituality, and lands. This special edition will be managed by Marc Fonda. Dr. Fonda is the former Managing Editor of the IIPJ, is a senior researcher for the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, and is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Fonda can be reached at:

Deadline for article submissions: March 31, 2011
Expected date of publication: October 2011


10. Call for Papers: “Plant Ethics” (Special Issue of PAN Philosophy Activism Nature)

In 2011, PAN Philosophy Activism Nature will dedicate a Special Issue to the topic of ‘plant ethics’ – the question of the moral considerability of plants. The basis of this special issue will be an excerpt from the forthcoming publication of Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Botany (SUNY Press) by Matthew Hall, a work which challenges readers to reconsider the moral standing of plants.

Contributions to this Special Issue are welcomed from across the disciplines of philosophy, cultural anthropology, religious studies, conservation biology, animal studies, plant sciences, and literature. We especially welcome work which crosscuts the humanities and life sciences. Potential themes to engage with ‘plant ethics’ include religious ecological ethics, ideas of ‘nature’, animal ethics, vegetarian philosophies, human-plant communication, biodiversity conservation, gardening & agricultural norms, bioethics, concepts of human and non-human life, death & killing and the value of life.

Papers should be approximately 5000 words in length, to be submitted no later than June 2011.

To register interest and for further information, contact Matthew Hall

For more information on Plants as Persons see

PAN Philosophy Activism Nature is a journal publishing articles, short prose pieces and poetry exploring the philosophical, psychological, mythological, religious, and aesthetic underpinnings of sustainability thought, design and practice. PAN is pitched at a general readership with an interest in creating a new ecological culture of sustainability. Each issue includes scholarly articles which have been subject to independent peer review as well as other contributions selected by the editors.


11. Call for Papers: “Degrowth” (Special Issue of Environmental Values)

The notion of degrowth (décroissance) has assumed an increasingly high profile within political discourse and social action over the last decade. Drawing on prominent environmental concerns (including limits to growth, climate change and peak oil) and related social anxieties over the increasing globalisation of the economy and the normalisation of excessive consumption, degrowth raises important questions for those concerned with the composition of environmental values in the twenty first century.

This special issue invites papers addressing contemporary work on the social, economic, environmental, political and/or ethical aspects of degrowth. It seeks to present research that interrogates the philosophical dynamics of degrowth (in particular how it challenges prevailing orthodoxies of sustainable development), as well as studies of actual programmes of degrowth (including, inter alia, community economics programmes, transition culture initiatives, and eco-villages). Papers are also encouraged which explore the repercussions of degrowth in principle and practice especially with regard to the Global South.

At a more specific level, the editors of Environmental Values are interested in papers on one, or more, of the following themes with respect to degrowth:

* Its history, evolution, and contested construction as a movement.

* Its philosophical origins and implications.

* The challenges that its principles, and contraction economics, present to neoliberal economic orthodoxies.

* Its implications for social and environmental ethics.

* Applications in specific geographical contexts.

* Emerging political and intellectual critiques.

Interested authors should submit an abstract of no more than 200 words, outlining the main arguments of their paper, to Mark Whitehead ( by March 31, 2011.



12. Eco-Congregation Scotland:

Eco-Congregation Scotland is an ecumenical charity which offers a programme to help congregations understand environmental issues and make appropriate practical and spiritual responses. The programme is free of charge and very flexible, as each congregation has different opportunities for change.

Small actions add up to big results. Hundreds of Scottish congregations have requested information, 262 are already well on their way with environmental projects and 89 have gained awards. Could you start things off in your church?

Find out at who we are, what we do, and how you can get involved. There’s also news, a list of events, materials, a list of registered churches, and pages for regional networks. Enjoy browsing, and please contact us if you have any comments on the site.

Eco-Congregation Scotland also has a blog. To see the latest news about Eco-Congregation Scotland, upcoming events and to post your own comments, go to:

Visit the climate change pages of the Church of Scotland website:



13. 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 more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: If you know of a publication that needs to be added to this list, email



For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: