November 2014

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
8.11 (November 2014)


1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. New Publications

3. Events 

4. Calls for Papers

5. Job Openings

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology


1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the November 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 publications, conferences, events, job openings, and more.

The Forum on Religion and Ecology has organized a conference at Yale Divinity School on November 7-9, 2014 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Thomas Berry’s birth. The conference is titled “Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe.” Major theologians and ethicists are gathering from across North America to discuss the impact of this new story of evolution and its implications for the flourishing of the Earth community. For further information, see the program and biographies of participants at:

Gus Speth is receiving the Thomas Berry Award on November 8 at the “Living Cosmology” conference at Yale. His latest book is entitled Angels by the River: A Memoir (Chelsea Green Publishing). For more about this memoir, see below or visit:

The Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion will be held in San Diego, CA on November 22-25, 2014. The focus of this year’s meeting is climate change. For a list of religion and ecology sessions at this event, visit: For more, visit:

The Parliament of the World’s Religions will be held in Salt Lake City, UT on October 15-19, 2015. The super saver discount for registration ends November 30, 2014. The submission deadline for proposals is January 15, 2015. For more, visit:

We 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. New Publications

Angels by the River: A Memoir
By James Gustave Speth
Chelsea Green Publishing, 2014

Reflections on race, environment, politics, and living on the front lines of change

Angels by the River follows James Gustave Speth’s unlikely path—from a Southern boyhood to his career as an influential mainstream environmentalist to his current system-changing activism. In this compelling memoir, Speth explores the issues, and realities, that have shaped the nation since the 1950s, and that turned an “ultimate insider” into someone willing to be arrested in front of the White House. Born and raised in a town where both the best and worst of the South shone through—a town that eventually became the scene of South Carolina’s horrific Orangeburg Massacre—Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South’s agrarian roots influenced his academic career at Yale and later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he helped launch two landmark and influential environmental groups—the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute—advise the White House on climate and other emerging issues, and lead the UN’s development efforts around the globe. Speth fought to create and uphold the nation’s toughest environmental laws, but now believes a new environmentalism is needed to confront today’s challenges. The advancing climate crisis cannot be addressed, he warns, as long as we remain fixated on endless growth and consumption, corporate profits, increasing the incomes of the well-to-do, neglecting those just getting by, and helping abroad only modestly. An American tale, in all its complexity, Speth’s memoir is an inspiration—especially for readers contemplating how to make a difference in an increasingly complex world.

“A longtime friend and ally, Gus Speth is a tireless advocate for the environment. His accumulated stories and knowledge, the kind that could only come from decades of experience at the highest levels, provide a unique and insightful look into our history, and the way forward from here.”

- Al Gore, former vice president of the United States

Angels by the River does what the best memoirs hope to do—launch the reader into a larger collective story. Gus Speth, a native son of the Deep South, has spent his life in the service of justice. He has not only been part of America’s social and environmental history, but his leadership has helped shape it. This book is a testament to spirited engagement, showing us how ‘the gift of having a cause beyond ourselves’ can translate to personal and political transformation. Angels by the River is an antidote against despair and a prayer for action.”
- Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Open Space of Democracy

For more reviews, visit:


Now in Paperback:

Journey of the Universe
By Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Yale University Press, 2014 (paperback version)

Today we know what no previous generation knew: the history of the universe and of the unfolding of life on Earth. Through the astonishing combined achievements of natural scientists worldwide, we now have a detailed account of how galaxies and stars, planets and living organisms, human beings and human consciousness came to be. And yet…we thirst for answers to questions that have haunted humanity from the very beginning. What is our place in the 14-billion-year history of the universe? What roles do we play in Earth’s history? How do we connect with the intricate web of life on Earth? In Journey of the Universe Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker tell the epic story of the universe from an inspired new perspective, weaving the findings of modern science together with enduring wisdom found in the humanistic traditions of the West, China, India, and indigenous peoples. The authors explore cosmic evolution as a profoundly wondrous process based on creativity, connection, and interdependence, and they envision an unprecedented opportunity for the world’s people to address the daunting ecological and social challenges of our times. Journey of the Universe transforms how we understand our origins and envision our future. Though a little book, it tells a big story—one that inspires hope for a way in which Earth and its human civilizations could flourish together. This book is part of a larger project that includes a documentary film, a series of Conversations, and a website. For more information, visit:


Divinanimality: Animal Theory, Creaturely Theology
Edited by Stephen D. Moore
Fordham University Press, 2014

A turn to the animal is underway in the humanities, most obviously in such fields as philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies, and religious studies. One important catalyst for this development has been the remarkable body of animal theory issuing from such thinkers as Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway. What might the resulting interdisciplinary field, commonly termed animality studies, mean for theology, biblical studies, and other cognate disciplines? Is it possible to move from animal theory to creaturely theology? This volume is the first full-length attempt to grapple centrally with these questions. It attempts to triangulate philosophical and theoretical reflections on animality and humanity with theological reflections on divinity. If the animal–human distinction is being rethought and retheorized as never before, then the animal–human–divine distinctions need to be rethought, retheorized, and retheologized along with it. This is the task that the multidisciplinary team of theologians, biblical scholars, philosophers, and historians assembled in this volume collectively undertakes. They do so frequently with recourse to Derrida’s animal philosophy and also with recourse to an eclectic range of other relevant thinkers, such as Haraway, Giorgio Agamben, Emmanuel Levinas, Gloria Anzaldua, Helene Cixous, A. N. Whitehead, and Lynn White Jr. The result is a volume that will be essential reading for religious studies audiences interested in ecological issues, animality studies, and posthumanism, as well as for animality studies audiences interested in how constructions of the divine have informed constructions of the nonhuman animal through history.


Deuteronomy and Environmental Amnesia
By Raymond F. Person, Jr.
Series: Earth Bible Commentary, 3
Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014.

Modern Westerners suffer from environmental amnesia, our failure to remember properly our intimate connections to the places in our lives and to the other inhabitants of these places, both human and non-human. Although environmental amnesia may be the underlying diagnosis of our contemporary ecological problems, in Deuteronomy and Environmental Amnesia Raymond Person argues that environmental amnesia has roots in ancient Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, and that ancient forms of environmental amnesia are evident in the book of Deuteronomy. Raymond Person combines the ecological hermeneutics of the Earth Bible project for the first time with an emerging approach in environmental philosophy—that is, environmental hermeneutics which draws significantly from the works of Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas and Ricoeur. As he explores the presence of ancient forms of environmental amnesia in Deuteronomy, he draws extensively from other approaches to the ancient Near East and the Bible that emphasize the interactions between material culture and text and that take seriously the Other as portrayed in the Bible, especially household archaeology, zooarchaeology, feminist approaches, and postcolonial approaches. His analysis discovers not only forms of environmental amnesia that the Deuteronomic school suffered from and promoted ideologically, but also partial remedies for forms of ancient environmental amnesia in some of the Deuteronomic legislation. His reflection on environmental amnesia and its partial remedies in the text of Deuteronomy provides insights into our modern forms of environmental amnesia and how we may begin to lessen its effects on the Earth community.


Sacred Seed: A Collection of Essays
Compiled and edited by the Global Peace Initiative of Women
Introduction by Vandana Shiva
Golden Sufi Center, 2014

Essential to survival, seeds have profound spiritual implications. For centuries the planting of seed in the earth not only nourished humanity, but also symbolized the mystery of life and the journey of the soul. In our current supermarket lifestyle of pre-packaged products, far removed from the cycles of planting, we have nearly forgotten this mystery. Now as the integrity of the seed is threatened, so is its primal meaning. Inspired by physicist and environmental leader Dr. Vandana Shiva, each essay draws on the wisdom of ancient and modern traditions. Mystics, shamans, monastics and priests remind us of the profound sacredness of the seed—how in its purity, it is the source and renewal of all of life. Tenderly composed of original writings and vibrant photos, this book bears witness that the Earth is alive, and establishes that only by working together with the Earth—with its wonder and mystery—can we help in its healing and regeneration and once again bring meaning back into the world. Edited and compiled by the Global Peace Initiative of Women, the book includes contributions from His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, H. H. the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje, Sister Joan Chittister, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Swami Veda Bharati, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Blu Greenberg & others.


A Monk in the Bee Hive: A Short Discourse on Bees, Monks and Sacred Geometry
By Skye ann louise Taylor
Logosophia, LLC, 2014

A Monk in the Bee Hive introduces and carries the reader to a higher octave of beekeeping. It has been called forth by the need for a recognition of the forces informing all of life itself. Drawing on her experiences as a Buddhist monk, Skye ann louise Taylor is adroit in her perception and application of sacred principles to life in the bee hive. Sacred geometry, astronomy, sacred queens and holy drones meld and swirl together in hives made of wood that resonate with the underlying formative forces moving throughout the hive and its surrounds. A Monk in the Bee Hive is a book for a twenty-first century connection to all things bee.


Zoogenesis: Thinking Encounter with Animals
By Richard Iveson
Pavement Books, 2014

Zoogenesis: Thinking Encounter with Animals offers radical new possibilities for encountering and thinking with other animals, and thus for the politics of animal liberation. Examining the machinations of power that legitimize the killing of nonhuman animals, Zoogenesis shows too how thoroughly entangled they are with the ‘noncriminal’ putting to death of human animals. Such legitimation consists in a theatrics of displacement that transforms singular, nonsubstitutable living beings into mute, subjugated bodies that may be slaughtered but never murdered. Nothing less than the economy of genocide, Iveson thereafter explores the possibility of interventions that function in the opposite direction to this ‘animalizing’ displacement – interventions that potentially make it unthinkable that living beings can be ‘legitimately’ slaughtered. Along the way, Zoogenesis tracks just such ‘animal encounters’ across various disciplinary boundaries – stumbling across their traces in a short story by Franz Kafka, in the bathroom of Jacques Derrida, in a politically galvanising slogan, in the deaths of centipedes both actual and fictional, in the newfound plasticity of the gene, and in the sharing of an inhuman knowledge that saves novelist William S. Burroughs from a life of deadly ignorance. Such encounters, argues Iveson, are zoo-genetic, with zoogenesis naming the emergence of a new living being that interrupts habitual instrumentalisation and exploitation. With this creative event, a new conception of the political emerges which, as the necessary supplement of an ethical demand, offers potentially radical new ways of being with other animals.


Earth Jurisprudence: Private Property and the Environment
By Peter D. Burdon
Routledge, 2014

The idea of human dominion over nature has become entrenched by the dominant rights-based interpretation of private property. Accordingly, nature is not attributed any inherent value and becomes merely the matter of a human property relationship. Earth Jurisprudence: Private Property and the Environment explores how an alternative conception of property might be instead grounded in the ecocentric concept of an Earth community. Recognising that human beings are deeply interconnected with and dependent on nature, this concept is proposed as a standard and measure for human law. This book argues that the anthropocentric institution of private property needs to be reconceived; drawing on international case law, indigenous views of property and the land use practices of agrarian communities, Peter Burdon considers how private property can be reformulated in a way that fosters duties towards nature. Using the theory of earth jurisprudence as a guide, he outlines an alternative ecocentric description of private property as a relationship between and among members of the Earth community. This book will appeal to those researching in law, justice and ecology, as well as anyone pursuing an interest more particularly in earth jurisprudence.


Ecology and Religion
By John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Island Press, 2014
(For a 20% discount, use the code 4ECOREL)

From the Psalms in the Bible to the sacred rivers in Hinduism, the natural world has been integral to the world’s religions. John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker contend that today’s growing environmental challenges make the relationship ever more vital. This primer explores the history of religious traditions and the environment, illustrating how religious teachings and practices both promoted and at times subverted sustainability. Subsequent chapters examine the emergence of religious ecology, as views of nature changed in religious traditions and the ecological sciences. Yet the authors argue that religion and ecology are not the province of institutions or disciplines alone. They describe four fundamental aspects of religious life: orienting, grounding, nurturing, and transforming. Readers then see how these phenomena are experienced in a Native American religion, Orthodox Christianity, Confucianism, and Hinduism. Ultimately, Grim and Tucker argue that the engagement of religious communities is necessary if humanity is to sustain itself and the planet. Students of environmental ethics, theology and ecology, world religions, and environmental studies will receive a solid grounding in the burgeoning field of religious ecology.

3. Events

Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe
Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Thomas Berry’s birth
Yale Divinity School, New Haven, CT, USA
November 7-9, 2014

Thomas Berry at 100: Emergent Cosmos, Earth Community, Expanding Conversations”
Impact Hub Oakland, Oakland, CA, USA
November 9, 2014

Ethical Underpinnings of Climate Economics”
Helsinki, Finland
November 11-13, 2014

Cultural and Spiritual Significance of Nature in the Management and Governance of Protected Areas”
IUCN World Parks Congress, Sydney, Australia
November 18, 2014, 10:30am – 12:00pm

China’s Green Religion”
Lectures by James Miller
University of California, Santa Barbara, CA, USA - November 18, 5:00-7:00pm
University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA - November 19, 4:00-5:30pm

American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting”
Concurrent with the Society of Biblical Literature
San Diego, CA, USA
November 22-25, 2014
For a list of religion and ecology sessions at this event, visit:

Philosophy and Life World”
Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) International Conference
Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS), P.R. China
December 15-16, 2014

Reconstruction of Values and Morality in Global Times”
Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) International Conference
Yangzhou University, P.R. China
December 18-19, 2014

Value Conflict and Consensus in the Context of Cultural Diversity”
Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) International Conference
Liaoning University, Shengyang, P.R. China
December 22-23, 2014

For more events, visit:

4. Call for Papers

Global Ethics and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda”
Journal of Global Ethics
Submission deadline: December 1, 2014

Environmental Ethics between Action and Reflection”
Conference of the International Society for Environmental Ethics
Christian Albrechts Universität Kiel, Germany
July 23-25, 2015
Submission deadline: December 14, 2014

The Ethics of Using Animals in Research”
Second Oxford Summer School on Animal Ethics
St Stephen’s House, Oxford, UK
July 26-29, 2015
Submission deadline: January 1, 2015
All selected papers will be published in book form or in the Journal of Animal Ethics.

Manufacturing Landscapes - Nature and Technology in Environmental History”
Renmin University of China, Beijing
May 28–31, 2015
Submission deadline: January 1, 2015

Parliament of the World’s Religions”
Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 15-19, 2015
Super saver discount for registration ends November 30, 2014.
Submission Deadline: January 15, 2015

5. Job Openings

Assistant Professor in Ethics/Applied Ethics
San Diego State University, Department of Philosophy, San Diego, CA, USA
Applications received by October 31, 2014 will receive full consideration.
The position will remain open until filled.
Anticipated start date for the position is Fall 2015.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Qualification: competency in Bioethics, Environmental Philosophy, or Philosophy of Science
Ball State University, Dept. of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Muncie, IN, USA
Complete applications received by November 14, 2014, are guaranteed full consideration.
Position will begin August 2015.

6. 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 the online edition, visit:

Table of Contents for Volume 18 (2014):

• Enfleshed in Cosmos and Earth (Matthew Eaton)
• Religion and Sustainability in Global Civil Society (Evan Berry)
• The Integrative Worldview and its Potential for Sustainable Societies (Annick Hedlund-de Witt)
• Spiritual Roots of the Land (Christopher Golden)
• When you have seen the Yellow Mountains (Ole Bruun)
• Environmental Conservation and Preservation of Cultural Heritage (Paul Sarfo-Mensah, Akwasi Owusu-Bi, Samuel Awuah-Nyamekye, Steve Amisah)
• Ecology and Vision (Matthew T. Eggemeier)
• Of Gardens and Prosperity (Paul Walker)
• Co-Creator or Creative Predator? (Daniel P. Scheid)
• Leonardo da Vinci Our Contemporary? (Nina Witoszek)
• “Green” Reproduction, Resource Conservation, and Ecological Responsibility (Cristina Richie)


• Anne Primavesi. Exploring Earthiness: The Reality and Perception of Being Human Today. (Review by Frederica Helmiere)
• Sigurd Bergmann, Irmgard Blindow and Konrad Ott (eds). Aesth/Ethics in Environmental Change: Hiking Through the Arts, Ecology, Religion and Ethics of the Environment. (Review by Christopher Hrynkow)
• Gretel Van Wieren. Restored to Earth: Christianity, Environmental Ethics, and Ecological Restoration. (Review by Daniel T. Spencer)
• Clayton Crockett and Jeffrey W. Robbins. Religion, Politics, and the Earth: The New Materialism (Radical Theologies). (Review by Whitney A. Bauman)
• George Alfred James. Ecology is Permanent Economy: The Activism and Environmental Philosophy of Sunderlal Bahuguna. (Review by Sam Mickey)
• Eliza F. Kent. Sacred Groves and Local Gods: Religion and Environmentalism in South India. (Review by Pankaj Jain)
• Cynthia Moe-Lobeda. Resisting Structural Evil: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation. (Review by Max Thornton)
• Roger S. Gottlieb. Spirituality: What is it and Why it Matters. (Review by Daniella Vaclavik)

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