January 2010

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
4.1 (January 2010)



1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally 

2. Report from the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Dec. 3-9, 2009, by John Grim & Mary Evelyn Tucker

3. Videos from the Parliament of the World’s Religions

4. “Environmental (Dis)Locations: A Conference with Religious Imagination Exploring Environmental Justice and Climate Change” (at Yale University, New Haven, CT) 

5. Call for Papers for Conference: “Daoism Today: Science, Health, Ecology” (at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA)

6. New Books

7. New Publication (online and in print): The Spirit of Sustainability

8. Events 

9. “US Cult of Greed is Now a Global Environmental Threat,” by Suzanne Goldenberg

10. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally




Welcome to the January issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. We have a lot to share with you this month, including information about upcoming conferences, calls for papers, new books, events, and websites.


We are happy to report on the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which was held December 3-9 in Melbourne, Australia. As the world’s largest interreligious gathering, the Parliament brought together religious scholars and practitioners from around the planet with the aim of facilitating interreligious dialogue in order to support the emergence of a just, peaceful, and sustainable Earth community. Along these lines, this multicultural, international event addressed the pressing challenges that face our emerging planetary civilization. 


The Parliament offered opportunities for cooperative interreligious efforts to heal Earth, to reconcile with indigenous peoples, to overcome poverty, to create social cohesion, to provide wisdom and inner peace, to secure food and water for all, and to build bonds of trust that support peace and justice. We would like to invite you to explore some of the videos of the Parliament’s events. Below, we include links to videos of Mary Evelyn Tucker’s presentations on climate change and on the Great Work of Thomas Berry. For more videos, news, and photos from the 2009 Parliament, visit: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org


Important issues of climate change are prevalent in the news lately, particularly in regards to the United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Copenhagen on December 7-18. Due to the importance of the UN Climate Conference, the Forum’s newly-designed homepage has added specific links to climate change developments: http://fore.research.yale.edu/climate-change. Three new sections are now included on the Forum website: 1) Statements from World Religions on Climate Change, 2) Climate Change Science, and 3) Climate Change Ethics. The site’s new additions underscore the urgency of the climate change crisis and the crucial roles that religions must play in constructing ethical worldviews for interacting with other people, species, and the environment in order to serve as a moral force for environmental action. We encourage you to send us news regarding religion and climate change (both statements and actions).


We hope that this newsletter offers opportunities for you to engage in the field of religion and ecology and develop your own creative engagements with the Earth community.


Warm wishes,
Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally

California Institute of Integral Studies

Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale

Web Content Managers & Newsletter Editors






2. Report from the Parliament of the World’s Religions, Dec. 3-9, 2009, by John Grim & Mary Evelyn Tucker


The first Parliament of the World’s Religions was held in Chicago in 1893. The second was 100 years later in 1993, also in Chicago. Since that time there have been three other Parliaments: Capetown, 1999; Barcelona, 2004; Melbourne, 2009. We have attended all of the Parliaments since 1993. This one in Melbourne, however, was the first Parliament to actually make the environment a primary theme. Indeed, the title was “Make a World of Difference: Hearing Each Other, Healing the Earth.” Some 5,000 people attended.


As a result of this emphasis, there were many panels on religion and ecology. Moreover, the climate change meeting in Copenhagen loomed large at the Parliament. Some people attended both meetings, and numerous messages were sent to the negotiators in Denmark urging climate justice to be part of the resolutions.


Almost two years ago the Forum on Religion and Ecology was asked by the Parliament office in Chicago to help organize panels on religion and ecology for the Melbourne gathering. We were able to put together a broad spectrum of panels, including ones on:

- Christianity and Ecology

- South Asian Religions and Ecology

- East Asian Religion and Ecology

- Plant Perspectives

- The Renewal film

- A film on the Greek Orthodox Patriarch’s symposium in Greenland

- The life and work of Thomas Berry

- The Journey of the Universe film


These were all well received, and we heard numerous expressions of appreciation for the Forum’s work as a whole. Many people assured us that through the Forum’s newsletter they feel part of a growing movement for environmental change which is gaining traction around the world. There is now a network of some 9000 people who receive the Forum’s electronic newsletter thanks to the dedicated work of Elizabeth McAnally and Sam Mickey. Feel free to add your friends or organizations to our list by sending their email address to Elizabeth and Sam at: news@religionandecology.org



John Grim & Mary Evelyn Tucker

Coordinators of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale

3. Videos from the Parliament of the World’s Religions

Thomas Berry The Great Work: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

Pt. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1I2-usobL_E

Pt. 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lskKMeCyyeM


Human Face of Climate Change: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology

Pt. 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ69wZD3cNc

Pt. 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=el6__TNZf3c

Pt. 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjTMrAIuang


For more videos, news, and photos from the 2009 Parliament, visit: http://www.parliamentofreligions.org/.

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4. “Environmental (Dis)Locations: A Conference with Religious Imagination Exploring Environmental Justice and Climate Change” (at Yale University, New Haven, CT)

The Forum on Religion and Ecology is one of the main organizers of this conference. 

Environmental (Dis)Locations: A Conference with Religious Imagination Exploring Environmental Justice and Climate Change”
Yale University
St. Thomas More Center
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
Yale Divinity School
New Haven, CT, USA
April 8-10, 2010

The conference brings together advocates for environmental justice and climate change who attempt to address global environmental problems with community-based approaches.  Environmental justice advocates have developed models of resistance to environmental racism and created models for local advocacy and political resistance.  Those working on issues of climate change have advocated for place-based ecological management schemes as a way to produce the social intelligence needed to understand and address complex environmental problems. Both groups have much to learn from each other’s approaches and this conference brings advocates of both approaches together to focus on how environmental justice communities can develop socially just steps to address climate change.  This is where the role of religion enters the conference to help participants think about how religious communities can respond to environmental racism while confronting global ecological problems. The conference features plenary talks by Carl Anthony, Robert Bullard, Dianne Dumanowski, David Orr, and Mary Evelyn Tucker.  The panelists include Anthony Leiserowitz, Nick Robinson, and Giovanna Di Chiro.  The think tank sessions, which are the heart of the conference because this is where the participants develop strategies to use in their local settings, include international leaders as Desmond D’sa and Felício Pontes.

Sponsors include the Forum on Religion and Ecology, Edward J. & Dorothy Clarke Kempf Fund, Office of the Secretary, Yale Center for Transnational Cultural Analysis, Yale Divinity School, Interdisciplinary Bioethics Center, Department of Religious Studies, Department of African American Studies, Initiative on Religion and Politics, and Middle Passage Conversations Initiative on Black Religion in the African Diaspora.


For More Information, visit:







5. Call for Papers for Conference: “Daoism Today: Science, Health, Ecology” (at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA)

“Daoism Today: Science, Health, Ecology”
6th International Conference on Daoist Studies
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA, USA

June 2-6, 2010

The sixth in a series of major conferences on Daoist studies and modern application, this continues a tradition that began in Boston (2003) and continued through Mt. Qingcheng (2004), Fraueninsel in Bavaria (2006), Hong Kong (2007), and Mt. Wudang (2009). This year’s location is the spectacular campus of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, with its scenic overlook of the Pacific Ocean and easy access to the airport and California sightseeing. The theme is the application of Daoist theory and practice in the world today. Preferred topics include: Daoism in relation to science, medicine, cultivation, spirituality, history, culture, arts, music, ecology, ethics, and more.


Keynotes: Livia Kohn, “A Win-Win World: Where Science, Politics, and Daoism Meet”
Hu Fuchen, “Daoism in China: Contributions to a New Millennium”


Presentations: individual papers (20 mins) or complete panels, with three papers plus chair, discussant (2 hour session). Topics include: Daoism and: Art; Business; Dietetics; Ecology; Ethics; Internal Alchemy; Leadership Education; Meditation; New World; Thunder Rites; Psychology; Thunder Rites; Women’s Health; Yijing


Workshops: 2 hours, with emphasis on practice and experience. Topics include: Applied Qi; Astrology; Bagua zhang; Breathing Practice; Daoist Music; Management Applications; Open Body Qigong; Women’s Qigong


Deadlines: March 15, 2010: abstracts for papers (no late submissions!)

Scholarships: fee waiver plus free on-campus housing (double occupancy) for
—graduate students or new Ph.D.s
—advanced students or new Lc.A.s
—Chinese scholars
—Daoist recluses

For More Information, contact daoconf@gmail.com or visit http://www.daoiststudies.org/dao/node/7693





6. New Books


Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Public Policy 

By James B. Martin-Schramm
Fortress Press, 2009


Energy issues and climate change have loomed up from issues at the horizon to confront humanity directly and vitally. They are now pressing public-policy challenges of monumental scale and import. James Martin-Schramm draws on decades of involvement with ethics, public policy, and environmental ethics to provide this lucid and astute analysis of the problems and options for addressing energy and climate change.

Martin-Schramm argues that reliance on fossil fuels has produced grave threats to justice, peace, and the integrity of creation. Addressing these threats requires of Christians not simply new individual sensitivities and sacrifices but a new way of living in harmony with Earth and an earnest search for policy that fosters sustainability, reflects values of equity and fairness, and operates on a scale commensurate with the problems. Martin-Schramm proposes a full analysis of the problems and causes of our situation and real principles for an ethic of ecojustice. He also provides specific assessment of norms, policy options, and recommendations in the areas of energy and climate change and a glimpse of what a workable alternative might look like, globally and locally.

Martin-Schramm’s work combines solid analysis with genuine commitment to effective policy, all driven by a Christian imperative to understand and tackle this deepest challenge to life itself.

James B. Martin-Schramm is Professor of Religion at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa. As research chair in the Center for Ethics and Public Life, Martin-Schramm has authored policy studies and statements for several denominational and Non-governmental Organizations. He is author of Population Perils and the Churches Response (1997) and editor with Robert Stivers of Christian Environmental Ethics: A Case-Study Approach (2003).




Biblical Prophets and Contemporary Environmental Ethics

By Hilary Marlow

Oxford University Press, 2009



In the context of growing concern over climate change and other environmental pressures, Biblical Prophets and Contemporary Environmental Ethics explores what an ecological reading of the biblical text can contribute to contemporary environmental ethics.  The Judaeo-Christian tradition has been held partly to blame for a negative attitude to creation – one that has legitimised the exploitative use of Earth’s resources. Hilary Marlow explores some of the thinking in the history of the Christian tradition that has contributed to such a perception, before discussing a number of approaches to reading the Old Testament from an ecological perspective.  Through a detailed exegetical study of the texts of the biblical prophets Amos, Hosea and First Isaiah, Marlow examines the portrayal of the relationship between YHWH the God of Israel, humanity and the non-human creation. In the course of this exegesis, searching questions emerge: what are the various understandings of the non-human creation that are present in the text? What assumptions are made about YHWH’s relationship to the created world and how he acts within it? And what effect do the actions and choices of human beings have on the created world? Following this close textual study, Marlow examines the problem of deriving ethical norms from the biblical text and discusses some key ethical debates in contemporary environmental theory. The book explores the potential contribution of the biblical exegesis to such debates and concludes by proposing an interrelational model for reading the Old Testament prophets in the light of contemporary environmental ethics.


Dr Hilary Marlow is a Research Associate in theology and the environment at the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St Edmunds College, Cambridge. She also teaches biblical Hebrew to undergraduates in the Faculty of Divinity and sometimes lectures on the biblical prophets for the Cambridge Theological Federation. She completed her doctorate at the University of Cambridge in 2007. This is her first full-length monograph. She has a longstanding and close connection with the Christian environmental charity A Rocha, and is currently on the operations team of the John Ray Initiative.

7. New Publication (online and in print): The Spirit of Sustainability

The work of many members of the Forum is now available in the first volume in the 10-volume Berkshire Encyclopedia of Sustainability (2009-2011). This set (which will also be an ongoing online publication) comes from Berkshire Publishing www.berkshirepublishing.com and will cover all aspects of environmental sustainability. Volume 1, The Spirit of Sustainability, was edited by Willis Jenkins with Whitney Bauman, and is designed to be a resource for scholars as well as undergraduates, high school students and their teachers, and professional people.

For more information, visit: http://www.berkshirepublishing.com/brw/Product.asp?projID=82






8. Events


Evensong & Ecology
With Gidon Bromberg
The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
New York, NY USA
January 17, 2010
For More Information, visit: http://www.stjohndivine.org/EvensongEcology.html



Building an Ethical Economy: Theology & the Marketplace
2010 Trinity Institute Webcast Conference
Christ Church Cathedral
Cincinnati, OH USA
January 27-29, 2010                 
For More Information, visit:http://www.christchurchcincinnati.org/





9. “US Cult of Greed is Now a Global Environmental Threat,” by Suzanne Goldenberg

January 13, 2010

“US Cult of Greed is Now a Global Environmental Threat”

By Suzanne Goldenberg
The Guardian

The average American consumes more than his or her weight in products each day, fuelling a global culture of excess that is emerging as the biggest threat to the planet, according to a report published today. In its annual report, Worldwatch Institute says the cult of consumption and greed could wipe out any gains from government action on climate change or a shift to a clean energy economy.

Erik Assadourian, the project director who led a team of 35 behind the report, said: “Until we recognise that our environmental problems, from climate change to deforestation to species loss, are driven by unsustainable habits, we will not be able to solve the ecological crises that threaten to wash over civilisation.”

The world’s population is burning through the planet’s resources at a reckless rate, the US thinktank said. In the last decade, consumption of goods and services rose 28% to $30.5tn (£18.8bn).

The consumer culture is no longer a mostly American habit but is spreading across the planet. Over the last 50 years, excess has been adopted as a symbol of success in developing countries from Brazil to India to China, the report said. China this week overtook the US as the world’s top car market. It is already the biggest producer of greenhouse gas emissions.

Such trends were not a natural consequence of economic growth, the report said, but the result of deliberate efforts by businesses to win over consumers. Products such as the hamburger – dismissed as an unwholesome food for the poor at the beginning of the 20th century – and bottled water are now commonplace.

The average western family spends more on their pet than is spent by a human in Bangladesh.

The report did note encouraging signs of a shift away from the high spend culture. It said school meals programmes marked greater efforts to encourage healthier eating habits among children. The younger generation was also more aware of their impact on the environment.

There has to be a wholesale transformation of values and attitudes, the report said. At current rates of consumption, the world needs to erect 24 wind turbines an hour to produce enough energy to replace fossil fuel.

“We’ve seen some encouraging efforts to combat the world’s climate crisis in the past few years,” said Assadourian. “But making policy and technology changes while keeping cultures centred on consumerism and growth can only go so far.

“If we don’t shift our very culture there will be new crises we have to face. Ultimately, consumerism is not going to be viable as the world population grows by 2bn and as more countries grow in economic power.”

In the preface to the report, Worldwatch Institute’s president, Christopher Flavin, writes: “As the world struggles to recover from the most serious global economic crisis since the Great Depression, we have an unprecedented opportunity to turn away from consumerism. In the end, the human instinct for survival must triumph over the urge to consume at any cost.”

• This article was amended on Wednesday 13 January 2010. We said “In the last decade, consumption of goods and services rose 28% to $30.5tn (£18.8bn)”. We meant £18.8tn. This has been corrected.


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: http://www.brill.nl/wo

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