January 2012

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
6.1 (January 2012)


1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. Open Letter from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Supporting the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Ban of Crude Oil Pipeline

3. The Blue River Declaration

4. Journey of the Universe Film Screenings

5. Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism

6. New Books 

7. Events

8. “Sharing the Wisdom, Shaping the Dream: Deep Transition” (Sisters of Earth Conference on July 12-15, 2012 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, USA)

9. “Creation, Humanity and Science in the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition” (Summer Course on July 29-Aug 12, 2012 at Santa Barbara, CA, USA)

10. Green Community Connections  

11. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the January 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, and more.

We wanted to let you know that we have now completed the JOURNEY TRILOGY – film, book, and educational series of interviews. The book is available through Yale University Press or your local bookstore or Amazon. The film and Educational Series are available through the website: www.journeyoftheuniverse.org We are also making copies for use overseas, as well as Blu-Ray which plays in high definition. 

The DVD Educational Series was just finished in December and consists of 20 interviews. The first 10 are conversations with scientists and historians discussing the evolution of universe, Earth, life, and humans. The last 10 are discussions with environmentalists who are working on issues such as eco-cities, eco-economics, permaculture, energy, and arts and justice.

We think these interviews will be very useful to complement the film and book. They will be excellent sources of discussion in your communities, churches, learning centers, and schools. You can see an overview of the series and short selections of each person interviewed online at: www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/ed-series-previews

There is also a helpful set of Curricular Materials that accompany the Journey of the Universe project.  Prepared by Matthew Riley, these Curricular Materials contain scientific summaries, discussion questions, and resources.  They can be downloaded free of charge at: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/curriculum/

You may also know that the film was broadcast on PBS nationwide and was carried by 67% of the stations for their December pledge drive (with 520 showings).  The PBS broadcast consists of the film and an interview with Mary Evelyn. It will continue to be broadcast over the next 2 years starting up again in March for pledge drives. It is wonderful to have this opportunity for the New Story to be available for an even wider audience. You can check the Journey website for the latest showings.

Inspired by the New Story described by Thomas Berry, the Journey of the Universe draws on the latest scientific knowledge to tell the story of cosmic and Earth evolution. It aims to inspire a new and closer relationship with Earth in a period of growing environmental and social crisis.  

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. Open Letter from the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Supporting the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Ban of Crude Oil Pipeline

January 10, 2012

OPEN LETTER: The Union of BC Indian Chiefs fully supports the Save the Fraser Declaration, the Coastal First Nations Tanker Ban and the Indigenous laws banning Crude Oil Pipeline and Tanker Shipments through BC

Dear Premier Clark and Prime Minister Harper

We are writing with respect to Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resolution 2011-54, “Support for the Save the Fraser Declaration, the Coastal First Nations Tanker Ban and the Indigenous laws Banning Crude Oil Pipeline and Tanker Shipments through BC.” which was presented, affirmed and endorsed by consensus at the UBCIC Chiefs Council on November 23rd, 2011.

The UBCIC Chiefs Council endorses the Coastal First Nations Tanker Ban and Save the Fraser Declaration that prohibit the transportation of crude oil by pipeline and tanker on the north and south coast and through the Fraser River watershed. As Indigenous Peoples, we continue to exercise our laws and jurisdiction to protect our lands, our waters, our coasts and our rivers, as we have done for thousands of years and both the Save the Fraser Declaration and the Coast First Nations Tanker Ban are grounded in our laws. Further, we draw your attention to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states:

Article 32:
1. Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands or territories and other resources
2. States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the Indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

We urge your governments to reject the proposed Enbridge pipeline and Kinder-Morgan pipeline and to respect the laws and authority of BC First Nations and ultimately to protect the environment, fisheries and health and safety of all BC communities.


Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

Chief Robert Chamberlin

Chief Marilyn Baptiste

For the PDF copy of the letter, along with the Union of BC Indian Chiefs Resolution 2011-54 and Save the Fraser Declaration, visit:

3. The Blue River Declaration 

An Ethic of the Earth Creates a Concordance between Ecological and Ethical Principles

In the ancient forests along the Blue River in Oregon, the Spring Creek Project gathered a thinking community to give voice to an ethic that responds more powerfully to current environmental emergencies. The collaborative group of ecologists, philosophers, novelists, poets, theologians, and social scientists set out to write the principles of an ethic that not only acknowledges, but emulates, the ways by which life thrives on Earth.

Here is the challenge they set themselves: Human-centered moral systems, based on out-dated science that separates humans from the world and exempts them from its limits, have allowed humanity to ransack the Earth. But contemporary science describes an interdependent world in which humans are deeply of the Earth, kin to its other lives, and members of its communities of interdependent parts. If we truly understood that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, and resilient, could we imagine a better set of ideas about our moral responsibilities to one another, to the Earth, and to the future?

Together, they wrote “The Blue River Declaration: An Ethic of the Earth.” A 2000-word document, it aligns ethics with the ways of the Earth, addressing three perennial questions: What is the world?  Who are we humans?  How, then, shall we live?

The document can be found at: http://springcreek.oregonstate.edu/documents/BlueRiverDeclaratonNov2011.pdf

For more information or for printed copies of the Declaration, please contact Kathleen Dean Moore, kmoore@oregonstate.edu.

4. Journey of the Universe Film Screenings

Wild & Scenic Film Festival
Nevada City, CA
January 14-15, 2012

Cultivating Connections
Louisville, KY
January 14, 2012

Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago
Skokie, IL
January 15, 2012

Sophia’s Portico, Inc. 
Fort Wayne, IN
January 17, 2012

Cultivating Connections
Louisville, KY
January 20, 2012

Jewish Community Center
Woodbridge, CT
Discussion with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim.
Benefit for the Massaro Community Farm in Woodbridge.
January 22, 2012

Cultivating Connections
Louisville, KY
January 24, 2012

Athens Public Library
Athens, OH
January 26, 2012

The Theater at Colorado Heights University
Denver, CO
January 27, 2012

The Well
LaGrange Park, IL
January 31, 2012

Princeton Environmental Film Festival
Princeton, NJ
Discussion with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, along with Lars Hedin from the Princeton Environmental Institute.

February 4, 2012
Blackstone Memorial Library
Branford, CT
February 5, 2012

For more information about these and other upcoming screenings, visit:

5. Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism

A new online international magazine edited Jay McDaniel can be found at: http://www.jesusjazzbuddhism.org/index.html   

The magazine encourages East-West dialog and a creative exchange of ideas concerning food, music, art, religion, philosophy, culture, education, and science.  Influenced by ecological and multicultural points of view, articles are published in English, Chinese, and Korean.

Some recent articles related to Religion and Ecology include:

Ten Ideas for Saving the Planet: An Overview”
By John B. Cobb, Jr.

Gratitude, Connectedness, and Awe: The Spiritual Side of Sustainability”
By Jay McDaniel

Small But Included in the Milky Way”
By Jay McDaniel

6. New Books

Saving Nature: Religion as Environmentalism, Environmentalism as Religion
By Tarjei Rønnow
Studies in Religion and the Environment/Studien zur Religion und Umwelt
Lit Verlag, 2011

Environmentalism has moved into the centre of the most influential social movements in late modernity. From preserving pre-industrial landscapes, advocating the intrinsic value of nature and protecting ecosystems against overexploitation, it has developed into a worldview, ethos and practice, that is radically shifting the frontiers of politics, economics and ethics.

Saving Nature approaches environmentalism as a belief system. It explores the impact of environmentalism on faith communities and vice versa, and analyses how environmental worldviews, values, attitudes and discourses affect religion. By drawing on sources in the sociology of religion and environmental sociology, the study sheds light on the religious dimensions of environmentalism. The author locates the quick growth of environmentalism in the history of allegedly secular modernity, and interprets environmentalism in the context of modernity’s re-sacralization.


Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture
By A. Whitney Sanford
Foreword by Vandana Shiva
University Press of Kentucky, 2011

In Growing Stories from India: Religion and the Fate of Agriculture, A. Whitney Sanford uses the story of the deity Balaram and the Yamuna River as a foundation for discussing the global food crisis and illustrating the Hindu origins of agrarian thought.  By employing narrative as a means of assessing modern agriculture, Sanford encourages us to reconsider our relationship with the earth. Merely creating new stories is not enough—she asserts that each story must lead to changed practices. This book demonstrates that conventional agribusiness is only one of many options and engages the work of modern agrarian luminaries to explore how alternative agricultural methods can be implemented.


In Praise of Mother Earth: The Pṛthivī Sūkta of the Atharva Veda
Translated and interpreted by O.P Dwivedi and Christopher Key Chapple
Marymount Institute Press, 2011

In Praise of Mother Earth is a new translation of the Earth Verses (Pṛthivī Sūkta) of the Atharva Veda, the youngest of the India’s four Vedas.  The Pṛthivī Sūkta of the Atharva Veda is a collection of beautiful hymns in praise of medicinal plants, inter-human relationships, and Mother Earth.  The book includes the original Vedic verses in Devanagari script, in Romanization, and in English translation.  Stunning photographs from around the world are included with each of the 63 verses of the Pṛthivī Sūkta to enhance the experience of reading these verses.  This new compilation and translation is intended to help cultivate within the reader a reverence for nature that will inspire protection and healing of the planet. 


God in an Open Universe: Science, Metaphysics, and Open Theism
Edited by William Hasker, Thomas Jay Oord, Dean Zimmerman
Pickwick Publications, 2011

Since its inception, the discussion surrounding Open Theism has been dominated by polemics. On crucial philosophical issues, Openness proponents have largely been devoted to explicating the underlying framework and logical arguments supporting their perspective against competing theological and philosophical perspectives. As a result, very little constructive work has been done on the interconnections between Open Theism and the natural sciences.

God in an Open Universe demonstrates that Open Theism makes a distinctive and highly fruitful contribution to the conversation and constructive work occurring between philosophy, theology, and the sciences. The various essays explore subjects ranging from physics to prayer, from special relativity to divine providence, from metaphysics to evolution, and from space-time to God. All who work at the intersection of theology and the sciences will benefit greatly from these essays that break new ground in this important conversation.

7. Events

“Environment and Security”
12th National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment
Washington, D.C., USA
January 18-20, 2012

The Powers of the Universe”
Screening and Discussion of Brian Swimme’s DVD Series
Knox United Church
Calgary, AB, Canada
Five Tuesday evenings, 7:00-9:00PM
January 31, February 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2012

Climate, Mind and Behavior 2012 Symposium”
3rd Annual Climate, Mind and Behavior Symposium
Garrison Institute
Garrison, NY, USA
February 15 - 17, 2012

Paul Winter’s Premiere of the Flyways Music
St John the Divine
New York City, NY, USA
March 16-17, 2012

Making Peace with the Earth: A Spiritual Imperative, A Survival Necessity”
With Dr. Vandana Shiva
Lecture: James Memorial Chapel
Reception:  The Social Hall
Union Theological Seminary
New York City, NY, USA
March 22, 2012

For more events, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/calendar/

8. “Sharing the Wisdom, Shaping the Dream: Deep Transition” (Sisters of Earth Conference on July 12-15, 2012 in St. Mary-of-the-Woods, IN, USA)

Aware of the increasingly critical times we face – and with continuity to our 2010 Sisters of Earth Conference – we will explore ‘landscapes’ of the Outer Transition Movement (e.g. food sovereignty, the localisation movement, ‘gardens of hope’) in balance with the deep, transformative Inner Transition that requires equal attention. Our conference intends a holistic experience connecting ‘soil’ and ‘body’ and ‘spirit.’ Gathering at a beautiful and inspiring mid-western location there is also opportunity to learn from a land-based model. Enjoy creative opportunities to network with attending Sisters of Earth, as primary agenda for our time together.

For the registration form, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/files/2012_SISTERS_OF_EARTH_CONFERENCE.pdf

For more about Sisters of Earth, visit: www.sistersofearth.net

9. “Creation, Humanity and Science in the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition” (Summer Course on July 29-Aug 12, 2012 at Santa Barbara, CA, USA)

Three leading Franciscan scholars will address environmental concerns from in a two week summer course title “Creation, Humanity and Science in the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition,” July 29-Aug 12, 2012, at Old Mission Santa Barbara. Br. Bill Short OFM is the Dean of the Franciscan School of Theology, and one of the top scholars in the Franciscan world. Sr. Mary Beth Ingham CSJ is internationally recognized for her pioneering work in the theology and philosophy of Bl. John Duns Scotus. Br. Keith Douglass Warner OFM has written extensively about Franciscan environmental ethics. If you want to learn what the Franciscan tradition can contribute to environmental justice, this will be an ideal two week professional development experience.

For the brochure, visit: http://webpages.scu.edu/ftp/kwarner/Fran-CHSnov9.pdf

10. Green Community Connections

Green Community Connections (http://greencommunityconnections.org/) is an emerging electronic gathering place for stimulating conversations, useful resources, neighbors helping each other, all working to build a resilient, environmentally sustainable community. Green Community Connections is a volunteer effort  by members of The Power of 10, Oak Park Energy Initiative, Openlands, Green Blocks, the Active Transportation Alliance, the Interfaith Green Network, and other volunteers. 

Green Community Connections will be what we make it together.  Please sign up now to stay informed and be involved!  Sign up for the e-newsletter at: http://greencommunityconnections.org/e-news-signup

The January issue of the Green Community Connections e-newsletter featured these articles:

Making a Difference with Low Cost Green Actions at Oak Park Temple”
By Melanie Weiss

Euclid Ave United Methodist Church Digs Deep to Install Geothermal”
By Frank Fletcher

Community Gardening at Ascension”
By John Owens

Multifaceted Approach at Unity Temple”
By Anne White

11. 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 


For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/newsletters/index.html