January 2009

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
3.1 (January 2009)


1. Editorial by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally 

2. Religion and Ecology Videos

3. Focus on the Web: Archived Conference Materials: http://fore.research.yale.edu/archivedconferencefiles/index.html  

4. New Books

5. Call for Papers 

6. Conference Announcements

7. New Courses with the Zygon Center for Religion and Science

8. From the Field: The Archive

9. Worldviews and Other Journals




1. Editorial by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally 


Welcome to the January newsletter of the Forum on Religion and Ecology.  We have a lot of exciting news to share with you, including information about new books, conferences, courses, videos, and calls for papers related to religion and ecology.  We hope that the contents of this newsletter provide access to the diverse and numerous engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology taking place around the globe.  The global span of this field reminds us that engagements with Religion and Ecology take place not only on local, regional, and national levels, but also on international and global levels.  In other words, the field of Religion and Ecology is intimately related to processes of globalization.  This field supports a peaceful, just, and sustainable form of globalization rooted in the complexity of human-Earth relations.


Throughout the last five centuries, new forms of dialogue and interaction between religious worldviews have been accompanied by technological, economic, and sociopolitical processes that have brought individuals and communities into networks of global communication and exchange.  Similarly, these processes of globalization have accompanied the spread of scientific perspectives that provide an understanding of humans as an evolving species inhabiting the complex ecosystems of Earth with a wondrous diversity of other species.  Although globalization has accompanied the development of new forms of interreligious dialogue and the development of scientific narratives of the ecological and evolutionary context of the human species, globalization also has imperial tendencies that support acts of oppression, violence, and destruction, including the oppression of religious communities and the destruction of the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the planet.  In short, processes of globalization harbor creative as well as destructive possibilities for human-Earth relations.  The destructive possibilities are enacted insofar as human-Earth relations are homogenized and appropriated into the globe, which is dominated by the instrumental values of technological and economic development.  In contrast, we suggest that the creative possibilities of globalization are enacted insofar as the development of human-Earth relations is rooted in the complexity of the planet and not uprooted by the homogeneity of the globe. 


The field of Religion and Ecology enacts the creative possibilities of globalization by revisioning human-Earth relations, such that the homogeneous relations of the globe are replaced with the complex relations of the planetary community.  This planetary sense of globalization affirms the peaceful and sustainable possibilities of globalization while also resonating with the anti-globalization movement and its resistance to the homogenizing and uprooting forces of globalization.  There are many intellectual sources that can help us imagine this planetary sense of globalization.  For instance, the French paleontologist and Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin articulated a process of “planetization” (planetisation), whereby humans become conscious of their complex unity with one another, with other species, and with the planet as a whole.  Planetary globalization can also be seen in the work of the contemporary Indian theorist of feminism and postcolonialism, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, who proposes a concept of “planetarity,” which exceeds the narrow confines of globalization by affirming the uniqueness and difference that compose “planetary subjects.”  A concrete example of a planetary globalization can be found in the Earth Charter (www.earthcharter.org), which presents a shared vision of values and principles for a peaceful, just, and sustainable Earth community.  It is our hope that this newsletter participates in this shared vision and supports the efforts of individuals and communities to transform the globe into a vibrant Earth community.     


Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally

California Institute of Integral Studies

Forum on Religion and Ecology

Web Content Managers & Newsletter Editors





2. Religion and Ecology Videos


We would like to inform you about a video put together by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES). This video, “Religion and a New Environmental Ethic,” is an interview with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, in which they discuss the entrance of religious worldviews into their ecological phase. Also, FES has many other videos, which address issues of climate change, environmental justice, design, industrial ecology, ecological economics, and more.  You can find these videos on the FES homepage: http://environment.yale.edu/. Some of them are also available on the FES YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/YaleFESVideo




3. Focus on the Web: Archived Conference Materials: http://fore.research.yale.edu/archivedconferencefiles/index.html  


We would like to direct your attention to the archived materials for The Religions of the World and Ecology Conference Series, found at this link: http://fore.research.yale.edu/archivedconferencefiles/index.html.  


The Religions of the World and Ecology conference series, hosted by the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) at Harvard Divinity School, was the result of research conducted at the CSWR over a three-year period (1996-1998). Conferences involved the direct participation and collaboration of more than 800 scholars, religious leaders, and environmental specialists from around the world.


This conference series was foundational for The Religions of the World and Ecology publications series, described at this link: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/books/book_series/cswr/index.html. Furthermore, this conference series was integral to the establishment of the Forum of Religion and Ecology, which just celebrated its tenth year anniversary in November 2008. 





4. New Books


There are three new books that we think you might find of interest: 1) Deep Blue: Critical Reflections on Nature, Religion and Water, 2) Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy, and 3) Transitions: Educational Reforms that Promote Ecological Intelligence or the Assumptions Underlying Modernity?




Deep Blue: Critical Reflections on Nature, Religion and Water

Edited by Sylvie Shaw and Andrew Francis

Equinox, 2008


From oceans to rivers, water sources to water resources, this edited volume traverses the academic realms of nature religion, anthropology, mythology, resource management, psychology, sociology and indigenous studies highlighting religious and eco-social discourses around water, aquatic ecosystems and conservation. It explores dimensions of the human relationship with river, sea and pool to further develop understandings of the interrelationships between spiritual practice, academic nature religion discourse and environmental concern.


Contributors to the book are among the leading writers and thinkers in the field: Penny Bernard, John Bradley, Susan Bratton, Vivianne Crowley, Douglas Ezzy, Meg Ferris, Andrew Francis, Dieter Gerten, David Groenfeldt, Adrianne Harris, Graham Harvey, Melissa Nelson, Sylvie Shaw, Veronica Strang, Bron Taylor, Katerina Martina Teaiwa, and Michael York.


For more information, visit http://www.equinoxpub.com/books/showbook.asp?bkid=236.


You can order the book online at http://www.equinoxpub.com. To receive a 25% discount when placing an order, enter the code Shaw0109 when prompted.




Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy

By Peter Brown and Geoffrey Garver

Berret-Koehler Publishers, 2009



Most people have been conditioned to accept the operation of the economy as an article of faith. Unlimited growth and wealth accumulation are seen as the “natural law” of the economy and nothing can be done to alter this fact – even if it means the integrity of Earth’s ecological and social systems are severely damaged in the process. This “inconvenient truth” is now a moral challenge. We are faced with a choice: bring the economy into right relationship with the planet and its inhabitants, or suffer the consequences – the increasing destruction of Earth’s life support systems and social structures. Drawing on the Quaker principle of “right relationship,” the book Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy presents a proposal for bringing our economy, our ethics, and our environment into alignment.


For more information about the book, visit Brown and Garver’s website: http://www.moraleconomy.org


To purchase the book as a paperback (or as pdf download at a discounted rate), visit Berrett-Koehler’s website: http://www.bkconnection.com/ProdDetails.asp?ID=9781576757628.




Transitions: Educational Reforms that Promote Ecological Intelligence or the Assumptions Underlying Modernity?

By C. A. Bowers

Ecojustice Press, 2008


This book is a collection of essays in which Chet A. Bowers addresses the challenges of a world in transition, including transitions of cultural practices as well as transitions of the natural systems on which life on Earth depends. The essays in this book touch on numerous issues, such as ecologically sustainable education reform, liberalism and conservatism, eco-justice and social justice, environmental ethics, and more. Bowers includes essays that criticize the scientism of E. O. Wilson, the environmental philosophy of John Dewey, and the theory of metaphor proposed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. 



To find more online books by Bowers, visit http://www.cabowers.net/CAPress.php.




5. Call for Papers
“In search of appropriate salvation concepts for an age of ecological destruction”

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology will publish a special double-issue in response to recent Christian re-appraisals of creation and salvation, some developed for the international “Christian Faith and the Earth” project. The journal invites papers that address the role of salvation teachings in an era of ecological destruction, interpret soteriological traditions, and/or discuss the most important soteriological concepts for articulating Christian hope for the earth. Essays may focus on particular traditions or cultural contexts, or critically respond to the recent maps of soteriology and ecology offered in Willis Jenkins’s book Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics and Christian Theology and in Ernst Conradie’s paper, “The salvation of the earth from anthropogenic destruction: In search of appropriate soteriological concepts in an age of ecological destruction”.


All essays should show their relation to the issue’s focus on how theologies of salvation matter for addressing ecological problems.


Papers may be 2,500 - 6,000 words in length, including notes. They are due by May 25th, 2009 and should be submitted to the editor of Worldviews, Christopher Chapple: cchapple@lmu.edu. For further information, see the journal’s instructions for authors.





6. Conference Announcements


We would like to inform you about four upcoming conferences, all of which address themes related to religion and ecology.




“Religion & Ecology in the Public Sphere”

2nd International Conference of the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment

Åbo/Turku, Finland

May 14-17, 2009

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2009

For the Call for Papers, visit: https://www.abo.fi/student/call

For More Information, visit: http://www.abo.fi/student/Content/Document/document/12549




Sixth Annual Joint Meeting on Environmental Philosophy

Highlands Center, Colorado, USA

June 16-19, 2009
Submission Deadline: February 15, 1009

For More Information, visit: http://groups.google.com/group/fa.philos-l/browse_thread/thread/5c87b7e3fdbfdbce/6aa9e0d537fad172?lnk=raot




The Holy Spirit, Spirit and Matter, and the African Spirit World”

Annual Meeting of the Theological Society of South Africa (TSSA) / Joint Conference of academic societies in the fields of Religion and Theology

June 22-26, 2009

Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, Western Cape, South Africa

Submission Deadline: January 31, 2009
Click here for the Call for Papers (pdf download)




Religions, Landscapes and Other Uncertain Boundaries”
Annual conference of the British Association for the Study of Religions (BASR)
Bangor University, Wales
September 7-9, 2009
Submission Deadline: June 1, 2009
For More Information, visit: http://basr.open.ac.uk/conference.htm
For More Information, contact: Bettina Schmidt, b.schmidt@bangor.ac.uk





7. New Courses with the Zygon Center for Religion and Science


The Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS) is delighted to announce two new courses for Spring Semester 2009 that meet weekly at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60615). 




The Future of Creation 2009: Foundations for a Just and Sustainable World”


Chaired by Barbara Rossing and Gayle Woloschak

Tuesday Evenings, 6:30 PM - 9:30 PM, February 3 - May 5, 2009


To live faithfully in today’s world, we need to face today’s problems. At the Zygon Center for Religion and Science (ZCRS), we believe that community coalitions between scientists and people of faith, between scholars of religion and leaders of religious communities are necessary to forge a better world. “The Future of Creation: Foundations for a Just and Sustainable World” addresses one key element in making a better world: developing effective, equitable, and sustainable responses to environmental degradation. Through the Future of Creation course, we invite you to learn, reflect, and act in response to today’s and tomorrow’s environmental crises informed by contemporary scientific insights, guided by critical religious perspectives, and trained in practical public strategies.


For the syllabus, visit: http://www.zygoncenter.org/future_creation_09.html




Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science 2009: Religion and Science through the Pages of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science


Chaired by Philip Hefner and Gayle Woloschak

Monday Evenings, 7:00 PM ­- 10:00 PM, February 2 - May 4, 2009


Religion and Science through the Pages of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science”—this is the theme for the 2009 Advanced Seminar in Religion and Science. Established in 1965, Zygon is now in its forty-fourth year of publication as a premier international academic journal. The entire corpus of articles is now available online, and it will serve as a resource for our seminar. Attention will be devoted to the origins of the journal, its aims and guiding perspectives, and representative articles that have appeared over the years. Each seminar session will be led by an author of the articles under consideration or by commentators who have specific competence in the area. The life and thought of the founding editor, Ralph Wendell Burhoe, will receive special attention, along with that of his original colleagues in the venture. Themes distinctive of Zygon’s emphasis will also be included: cultural evolution, bioethics, neurotheology, sociobiology, quantum mechanics, and the use of metaphor.


For the syllabus, visit: http://www.zygoncenter.org/adv_seminar_schedule09.html  





8. From the Field: The Archive


In each issue of the Forum newsletter, we include a short essay written from field of Religion and Ecology.  These essays are written for the Forum by members of academic and religious communities from around the world.  Written from a variety of perspectives, these essays provide short introductions to diverse engagements of individuals and communities with the intersection of religious and ecological perspectives.  We would like to take this opportunity to direct you to our newsletter archive where you can find the “From the Field” essays that have been written for the Forum:



We hope these essays are useful for your own engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.   





9. Worldviews and Other Journals

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
This journal 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; 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.

To receive a free sample copy of Worldviews, please send an email to marketing@brill.nl.

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, please send an email to: news@religionandecology.org.