June 2013

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
7.6 (June 2013)


1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” (June 23-29, 2013 at Chautauqua Institution, NY, USA)

3. Journey of the Universe Events

4. Recent Addresses by Steven Rockefeller, Wes Jackson, and Gus Speth

5. New Books

6. New Documentary Film: ELEMENTAL

7. Events

8. Calls for Papers

9. Online Course: “Green Church: Earth Stewardship as an Act of Discipleship” (June 17-30, 2013)

10. Links for Indigenous Traditions

11. Chicago Wilderness Alliance: http://www.chicagowilderness.org/

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Editorial, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the June 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, calls for papers, and more.

I am pleased to let you know that the Annual Meeting of the American Teilhard Association was a huge success. The meeting was held at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City on May 11, 2013. Mary Evelyn Tucker gave a lecture on “The Teilhardian Roots of Journey of the Universe” to an audience of 125 people. To see photos from the meeting, visit: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.542805889096182.1073741825.179213572122084&type=1

The EMMY® award-winning Journey of the Universe film and Educational Series (now titled “Conversations”) are available now via Amazon.com as well as the Journey of the Universe website at http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/buy/

I would like to remind you about the upcoming conference at Chautauqua Institution in New York on June 23-29, 2013. The theme is “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” where scientists (such as Brian Greene) will speak in the morning and religion scholars in the afternoon. The afternoon sessions will include responses to Journey of the Universe from the perspectives of the world religions and are being organized by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim with colleagues from the Forum, including Heather Eaton, Chris Chapple, David Haberman, and James Miller. We hope you might join us so that we can continue the conversation with others interested in the Great Work. For more information, visit two pages on the conference website: http://www.ciweb.org/religion-lectures-week-one/ and http://www.ciweb.org/education-lectures-week-one/ For lodging information for this conference, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/calendar/item/our-elegant-universe/

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. “Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe” (June 23-29, 2013 at Chautauqua Institution, NY, USA)

Journey of the Universe


The history of the Universe is both a scientific and a spiritual story. It is the scientific story of a 14-billion-year continuum from a speck of pure energy to everything we can see around us. It is also a spiritual story, one that transcends individual, human and geo-political boundaries. This understanding brings us into the present urgent need to protect our planet’s future and ensure a flourishing and spiritually connected Earth community.

Week One of the 2013 Season features a roster of scholars of world religions, led by Yale University professor and historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker, exploring the themes of Tucker’s Emmy-winning documentary Journey of the Universe. The film (based on her book with evolutionary philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme) draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology and biology with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.

Journey of the Universe will be screened throughout Week One. To learn more, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/

Confirmed Lecturers:
Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, Heather Eaton, Chris Chapple, David Haberman, James Miller, Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Safei Eldin Hamed, Lisa Sideris, and Christopher Ives.



Our Elegant Universe”

Chautauqua opens the 2013 Season with an exploration into the wonders of the cosmos. What theories are leading thinkers wrestling with, and how do they inform our understanding of space and time? Where do they disagree? We’ll hear from pioneering scientists, deep space explorers and others who pursue answers to the most basic questions of existence.

Confirmed Lecturers:
Brian Greene, Natalie Batalha, Kobie Boykins, and Jennifer Wiseman



For lodging information for this event, visit:

3. Journey of the Universe Events

“A Universe Story Retreat”: Havertown, PA (June 14-19, 2013)

A contemplative retreat featuring Mary Evelyn Tucker, Jean Newbold, SHCJ, and Terry Moran

Mary Evelyn Tucker will give a presentation on “The Ecological Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin” on Saturday, June 15, 2pm, in St. Raphaela’s chapel. This talk is free and open to the public.

Havertown, PA, USA




Emergent Universe Oratorio Premiere”: Shelburne, VT (September 15, 2013)

Breeding Barn at Shelburne Farms
Shelburne, VT


Composition by Sam Guarnaccia
Visual art by Cameron Davis

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will participate in the Premiere.

The Oratorio Premiere is co-hosted by collaborative partners Shelburne Farms and All Souls Interfaith Gathering. It is a project of 2020 Strategies, is supported by grants from the Argosy Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and sponsored by the American Teilhard Association.

For more information, call 802 734 0279 or visit:

For the flyer, visit:


For more information about film screenings, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/upcoming-events/

4. Recent Addresses by Steven Rockefeller, Wes Jackson, and Gus Speth

What Hope Requires of Us”
An Address by Steven C. Rockefeller
South Carolina Coastal Conservation League Conference on “Prosperous Lowcountry, Flourishing Planet”
May 8-9, 2013

The Serious Challenge of Our Time”
By Wes Jackson
Commencement Address at the University of Kansas
May 19, 2013

Commencement Address at the University of Massachusetts at Boston
By Gus Speth
May 31, 2013

5. New Books

Animals as Religious Subjects: Transdisciplinary Perspectives
Edited by Celia Deane-Drummond, Rebecca Artinian-Kaiser and David L. Clough
Bloomsbury, 2013

This book examines one of the most pressing cultural concerns that surfaced in the last decade - the question of the place and significance of the animal. This collection of essays represents the outcome of various conversations regarding the animal studies and shows multidisciplinarity at its very best, namely, a rigorous approach within one discipline in conversation with others around a common theme. The contributors discuss the most relevant disciplines regarding this conversation, namely: philosophy, anthropology, religious studies, theology, history of religions, archaeology and cultural studies. The first section, Thinking about Animals, explores philosophical, anthropological and religious perspectives, raising general questions about the human perception of animals and its crucial cultural significance. The second section explores the intriguing topic of the way animals have been used historically as religious symbols and in religious rituals. The third section re-examines some Christian theological and biblical approaches to animals in the light of current concerns. The final section extends the implications of traditional views about other animals to more specific ethical theories and practices.

For the flyer with 35% discount (valid until August 1, 2013), visit:


Sacred Groves and Local Gods: Religion and Environmentalism in South India
By Eliza F. Kent
Oxford University Press, 2013

Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu over seven years, Eliza F. Kent offers a compelling examination of the religious and social context in which India’s “sacred groves,” small forests or stands of trees set aside for a deity’s exclusive use, take on meaning for the villagers who maintain them, and shows how they have become objects of fascination and hope for Indian environmentalists. Sacred Groves and Local Gods traces a journey through Tamil Nadu, exploring how the localized meanings attached to forested shrines are changing under the impact of globalization and economic liberalization. Confounding simplistic representations of sacred groves as sites of a primitive form of nature worship, the book shows how local practices and beliefs regarding sacred groves are at once more imaginative, dynamic, and pragmatic than previously thought.


Integrating Religion within Conservation: Islamic Beliefs and Sumatran Forest Management
A Darwin Initiative Case Study (DICE)
Edited by Jeanne E. McKay
University of Kent, 2013

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and religion has a strong influence on daily life. There are several key principles written in the Qur’an that underpin nature conservation and outline the human role in conserving natural resources. Integrating Religion with Conservation: Islamic beliefs and Sumatran Forest Management focuses on the application of a faith-based approach to conservation during a three-year Darwin Initiative project funded by the UK government in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Co-authored by a wide range of experts from noteworthy organisations such as the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, Fauna and Flora International, the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, British Council and Conservation International, it provides a model for how future conservation efforts using such an approach can be directed across SE Asia and the rest of the Muslim world.

For a synopsis, visit: http://www.arcworld.org/news.asp?pageID=614

Download a free PDF: www.kent.ac.uk/sac/news/index.html?view=966


America the Possible: Manifesto for a New Economy
By Gus Speth
Yale University Press, 2012

In this third volume of his award-winning American Crisis series, Gus Speth looks unsparingly at the sea of troubles in which the United States now finds itself, charts a course through the discouragement and despair commonly felt today, and envisions what he calls America the Possible, an attractive and plausible future that we can still realize. The book identifies a dozen features of the American political economy—the country’s basic operating system—where transformative change is essential. It spells out the specific changes that are needed to move toward a new political economy—one in which the true priority is to sustain people and planet. Supported by a compelling “theory of change” that explains how system change can come to America, the book also presents a vision of political, social, and economic life in a renewed America. In short, this is a book about the American future and the strong possibility that we yet have it in ourselves to use our freedom and our democracy in powerful ways to create something fine, a reborn America, for our children and grandchildren.

Related articles by Gus Speth:

What is the American Dream?: Dueling dualities in the American tradition”
Grist, June 25, 2011

America the Possible: A Manifesto,” Part I – From decline to rebirth
Orion magazine, March/April 2012

America the Possible: A Manifesto,” Part II – A new politics for a new dream
Orion magazine, May/June 2012


Water, Cultural Diversity, and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures?
Edited by Barbara Rose Johnston, Lisa Hiwasaki, Irene J. Klaver, Ameyali Ramos Castillo, and Veronica Strang
UNESCO, 2012

A product of the UNESCO-IHP project on Water and Cultural Diversity, this book represents an effort to examine the complex role water plays as a force in sustaining, maintaining, and threatening the viability of culturally diverse peoples. It is argued that water is a fundamental human need, a human right, and a core sustaining element in biodiversity and cultural diversity. The core concepts utilized in this book draw upon a larger trend in sustainability science, a recognition of the synergism and analytical potential in utilizing a coupled biological and social systems analysis, as the functioning viability of nature is both sustained and threatened by humans.

Download a free PDF: http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002151/215119E.pdf

6. New Documentary Film: ELEMENTAL

Now Available on iTunes and showing in select theaters

Film Website: http://elementalthefilm.com/

Trailer: http://elementalthefilm.com/trailer/

ELEMENTAL is a beautiful and inspiring documentary that provides much insight into the intimate relationships between humans and the natural world. ELEMENTAL tells the story of three individuals united by their deep connection with nature, confronting the most pressing ecological challenges of our time. The film follows Rajendra Singh, a former Indian government official, on a 40-day pilgrimage down India’s once pristine Ganges River. Singh works to shut down factories, halt construction of dams, and rouse the Indian public to treat their sacred “Mother Ganga” with respect. In northern Canada, Eriel Deranger mounts her struggle against the world’s largest industrial development, the Tar Sands, an oil deposit larger than the state of Florida. A young mother and native Denè, Deranger struggles with family challenges while campaigning tirelessly against the Tar Sands and its proposed 2,000-mile Keystone XL Pipeline, which are destroying Indigenous communities and threatening an entire continent. And in Australia, inventor and entrepreneur Jay Harman searches for investors willing to risk millions on his conviction that nature’s own systems hold the key to our world’s ecological problems. Harman finds his inspiration in the natural world’s profound architecture and creates a revolutionary device that he believes can slow down global warming.

Community Screening Packages are available at: http://elementalthefilm.com/store/elemental-community-screening-package/

Bring ELEMENTAL to your local theater with Tugg:


The educational version of ELEMENTAL, plus a free downloadable Discussion Guide and set of Conversation Cards, is available now for schools, universities, businesses, and libraries. Visit: http://elementalthefilm.com/education/

7. Events

Thinking and Acting Ecologically”
Tenth Annual Meeting on Environmental Philosophy
The International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE)
The University of East Anglia, UK
June 12-14, 2013

The Ecological Spirituality of Teilhard de Chardin”
Lecture by Mary Evelyn Tucker
St. Raphaela’s, Haverford, PA, USA
The talk is free and open to the public.
June 15, 2013 at 2pm

Vedanta: Its Many Manifestations Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”
2012 - 2013 Navin and Pratima Doshi Bridgebuilder Award
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, USA
June 15-16, 2013

Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability”
Presentation by Pankaj Jain
India International Center, New Delhi, India
June 26, 2013

International Law, Global Governance and The Earth Charter Principles”
University for Peace/Earth Charter International, Costa Rica
July 3-7, 2013

Science in the Service of Animal Welfare: Priorities Around the World”
UFAW International Animal Welfare Science Symposium
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
July 4-5, 2013

AASG@Sydney: Life in the Anthropocene”
5th Biennial Conference of the Australian Animal Studies Group
University of Sydney, Australia
July 8-9, 2013

Spiritual Ecology: A Spiritual Response to our Present Ecological Crisis”
Lecture by Llewellyn Vaughan Lee
California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, USA
July 11, 2013

Sustainability and the Sacred”
Hampshire College Summer Retreat Program
Amherst, MA, USA
July 14-20, 2013

The Earth is the Lord’s: Renewing the Covenant of Creation”
High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
July 15-18, 2013

Integral Theory Conference 2013: “Connecting the Integral Kosmopolitan”
San Francisco, CA, USA
July 18 - July 21, 2013

The Mystery of Nature and Soul”
Sophia Summer Institute 2013
Holy Names University, Oakland, CA, USA
Summer Institute: July 18 – 21, 2013
Post Institute Retreat: July 21 – 23, 2013

Scientific, Spiritual, and Moral Challenges in Solving the World Food Crisis”
59th Annual Summer Conference of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS)
Silver Bay Conference Center on Lake George, NY, USA
July 27 - August 3, 2013

For more events, visit:

8. Calls for Papers

2014 Central Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association (APA)
Palmer House Hilton, Chicago, IL, USA
February 26 - March 1, 2014
Submissions are invited for the International Society for Environmental Ethics (ISEE) sessions at this meeting.
Submission Deadline: August 15, 2013

Sensing Wonder, Serious Play: Ecology and Children’s Literature”
A Graduate Student Conference
Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
October 25, 2013
Deadline for Submissions: August 15, 2013

Religion and the Environment”
Special Issue of Journal of the Sociology and Theory of Religion (JSTR)
Submission Deadline: October 1, 2013

9. Online Course: “Green Church: Earth Stewardship as an Act of Discipleship” (June 17-30, 2013)


Based on the book by the same name, and facilitated by its author, Rebekah Simon-Peter, this two week course held on June 17-30, 2013 is designed to introduce participants to biblical concepts of stewardship of the earth and how to integrate them into the life of the believer. Through this online community, participants will receive support, share insights, and generate creativity to move their communities of faith into becoming Green(er) Churches. In this empowering class you’ll learn how you can take positive and inspiring actions that move your congregation toward a deeper shade of green. Each participant will need a copy of Green Church, available on Kindle, e-book, or in softcover. The course will include a project designed to be shared in one’s church or faith community.

Register here: http://beadisciple.com/layservantministries.html

10. Links for Indigenous Traditions

The Forum on Religion and Ecology website provides annotated bibliographies, sacred texts, statements, engaged projects, and links for each of the world’s religious traditions.

Links for Indigenous Traditions are found on this page:

Some of many links on this page include:

Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources

Center for World Indigenous Studies

Cultural Survival

Defenders of the Land

First Nations Environmental Network

Honor the Earth

Indigenous Environmental Network

11. Chicago Wilderness Alliance: http://www.chicagowilderness.org/

Chicago Wilderness is a regional alliance that connects people and nature. This group consists of more than 260 organizations working together to restore local nature and improve the quality of life for all who live in the region, by protecting the lands and waters on which we all depend. The members of Chicago Wilderness include local, state and federal agencies, large conservation organizations, cultural and education institutions, volunteer groups, municipalities, corporations, and faith-based groups.

Four key initiatives—to restore nature to health, to protect green infrastructure, to mitigate climate change, and to leave no child inside—reflect their commitment to using the best science, a collaborative approach to conservation, and a caring for both people and nature, to benefit all the region’s residents. The initiatives direct efforts to protect and restore healthy, functioning natural systems that support healthy, vibrant communities across the region.


12. 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.com/worldviews-global-religions-culture-and-ecology

For more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/journals/. 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: