October 2014

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
8.10 (October 2014)


1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. “‘Good Energy and Hope All Around’: Reflections on the People’s Climate March,” by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

3. Journey of the Universe Events

4. New Publications

5. Events

6. Calls for Papers

7. Job Openings and Fellowships

8. “Advent in the New Universe Story”

9. Caring for the Future through Ancestral Time

10. Documentary:
Wildest India: Thar Desert - Sacred Sands

11. Graduate Programs

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the October 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 announcements, and more.

We are delighted to share news about the recent climate change events in New York. On September 19-21, the Union Theological Seminary in New York hosted the “Religions for the Earth” conference where 200 religious and spiritual leaders of diverse traditions from around the world convened for a dialogue about spirituality and faith based action on climate change. On September 21, the People’s Climate March brought over 310,000 people to New York for the largest climate mobilization in history. After the march, many gathered at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine for a multifaith service of covenant and commission for the future of our Earth. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim participated in these events and have shared their reflections in an inspiring article. See below or visit: http://environment.yale.edu/news/article/reflections-on-the-peoples-climate-march/

The paperback version of Journey of the Universe by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker was recently released by Yale University Press. You can order this book at: http://www.yalebooks.com/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=9780300209433

We would like to draw your attention to a number of important upcoming events.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum Design and Journey of the Universe,” a conference for teachers and administrators, will be held at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey on October 9-12. Conference presenters include Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Ursula Goodenough, Julianne Lutz Warren, Thomas Collins, and Kevin Mattingly. For more, visit: https://www.lawrenceville.org/journeyoftheuniverse

A St. Francis Day gathering entitled “A Vital Conversation: Integrating Ecology, Justice, and Peace” with John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker will be held at Agape Community in Ware, MA on October 4. A screening of Journey of the Universe will take place at Agape the night before. For more, see below or visit: http://agapecommunity.org/ai1ec_event/saint-francis-day-october-4th-2014/

Meeting China’s Environmental Crisis: Religion’s Unlikely Role” will be held at Max Palevsky Cinema at the University of Chicago on October 28. Panelists include Mary Evelyn Tucker, Ian Johnson, Dali Yang, Liu Jianqiang, Gary Marcuse, and Sim Chi Yin; Jon Sawyer will moderate. For more, visit: http://pulitzercenter.org/event/china-environmental-crisis-panel-religion-university-of-chicago-confucianism-daoism

Mary Evelyn Tucker will be the keynote speaker at “Faith Communities Acting on Climate Change” held at St. Paul’s Church in Fairfield, CT on October 26. For more, visit: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/faith-communities-acting-on-climate-change-tickets-12964104987

The Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion will be held in San Diego, CA on November 22-25. The focus of this year’s meeting is climate change. For a list of religion and ecology sessions at this event, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/files/AAR_2014.pdf For more, visit: http://www.aarweb.org/

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. “‘Good Energy and Hope All Around’: Reflections on the People’s Climate March,” by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

By Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
Co-directors, Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
September 30, 2014

The watershed People’s Climate March, held in New York on Sept. 21, demonstrated that people and planet are one force, and that climate justice and ecosystems preservation are part of a holistic way forward.

The People’s Climate March on September 21 in New York was an amazing event.

So many people — over 310,000 with some estimates at 400,000.

So many groups — environmentalists, scientists, religious leaders, teachers, ordinary folk, and over 1,500 sponsors.

So many ages — mostly under 35 including 50,000 college students. But there were also people in wheel chairs and grandparents pushing strollers, marching for the next generation.

So much good energy and hope all around.

It was electrifying and hard to describe the emotions that washed over us during the day. We waited for an hour and a half for the march to begin as there were so many people who had assembled. We talked with the students from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies with whom we marched. They were filled with excitement, overflowing with a sense of solidarity, as were we. As we began to march we were all called to a collective moment of silence. And then from behind a vast roar, like a wave of unstoppable energy, swept over us.

We were buoyed by pictures along the route of those marching with us around the world in 160 countries where climate marches were taking place. The realization of the suffering already being caused by climate change was evident — from the Pacific Island nations, to those who weathered Sandy and Katrina, to those dealing with extreme droughts and floods.

This climate march, the largest in human history, was indeed a watershed moment. It demonstrated that people and planet are one force; and that climate justice and ecosystems preservation are part of a holistic way forward. The Earth community was visible there with such variety of humans and such boundless determination for protecting the Earth.

The religions were also present in a major way and it was deeply encouraging to witness their deepening commitment to the cause. There was a two day conference titled “Religions for the Earth” that preceded the march at Union Theological Seminary in New York. It was organized by Karenna Gore and supported by the president of the seminary, Serene Jones. Terry Tempest Williams orchestrated a rich and inclusive final session.

Other organizations involved were the Parliament of World Religions, the Interfaith Center of New York, Green Faith, Interfaith Power and Light, the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, and the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale.

Several key foundations contributed to the conference, including the Wallace Global Fund, which has divested from fossil fuels and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which announced their divestment plans the day after the march. Both institutions are encouraging other foundations to follow suit saying climate change is a moral issue.

On Sunday evening after the march we participated in a celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine with Paul Winter playing and Al Gore speaking. There religious leaders and laity pledged to make a difference on the climate change challenge. It was wonderful to see so many colleagues from this work over the years going all the way back to the Harvard conferences in the mid-90s, to those who supported the Earth Charter, to those at Yale Divinity School now.

The march began a week of meetings at the United Nations and elsewhere on the climate challenge. At the end of the week, on Sept. 28, the New York Times ran an editorial in full support of the march, saying:

It was important to put climate change back on the radar screen of world leaders, whose last effort to strike a deal, in Copenhagen five years ago, ended in acrimonious disaster. President Obama, for one, was as eloquent as he has ever been on the subject: ‘For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week — terrorism, instability, inequality, disease — there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.’”

This urgency captures the feeling at the march and with the religious leaders and academics at the Union Seminary conference and at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The hopes over several decades of the Forum on Religion and Ecology to become a dynamic field within academia and a transforming force within society were realized last weekend in New York. Now to determine the ways forward to build collaboratively on the remarkable energies visible there!


Here we are at the end of the march with our friends from Bucknell University who are pictured with us. Notice the blue t-shirt with Gus Speth, our former Yale Dean, on it. These were made by the Yale students with whom we marched. See photo by Alisa Zomer: http://tiny.cc/g40ymx

Mary Evelyn and Bill McKibben meet up during the march and exchange a sense of gratitude that the religious communities - leaders and laity - were present in such force. See photo by Joe Brusky: http://tiny.cc/q50ymx


“Religions for the Earth” conference schedule

New York Times Editorial, September 28, 2014

The Economist on the climate march

New Yorker article on divestment of foundations from fossil fuels as a moral issue:

3. Journey of the Universe Events

A Vital Conversation: Integrating Ecology, Justice, and Peace”

With John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker

St. Francis Day at Agape Community
2062 Greenwich Rd.
Ware, MA, USA

October 4, 2014 at 10am - 4pm

Panel with Ben Thompson, Patrick Cage, and Frida Berrigan.
Music courtesy of Midwives of Mystery with Chris Nauman

Mary Evelyn and John will be showing the Journey of the Universe film on Friday, October 3, at 7pm. Please RSVP to peace@agapecommunity.org.

If you would like to stay overnight at Agape, there will be some bed space and floor space available. Agape has 34 acres of land, so feel free to bring a tent and camp on the land.

For the flyer, visit:

Contact peace@agapecommunity.org (413-967-9369) for further info.



Interdisciplinary Curriculum Design and Journey of the Universe

A Conference for Teachers and Administrators

October 9-12, 2014

Lawrenceville School
2500 Main Street
Lawrenceville, NJ, USA

Conference Presenters: Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Ursula Goodenough, Julianne Lutz Warren, Thomas Collins, Kevin Mattingly

Supported by the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, the Lawrenceville School, and the Kalliopeia Foundation.

For the flyer, visit:

Contact: journeyoftheuniverse@lawrenceville.org



Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to Journey of the Universe

November 7-9, 2014

Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Thomas Berry’s birth

Yale Divinity School
409 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT, USA



For more events, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/upcoming-events/

4. New Publications

From Teilhard to Omega: Co-creating an Unfinished Universe
Edited by Ilia Delio
Orbis Books, 2014

Edited by Ilia Delio, thirteen scholars fulfill Teilhard de Chardin’s hope that a future generation apply his learnings to the needs of their age. Each chapter sheds new insight on God and humankind’s role in co-creation, and the wisdom we need to forge the future. Most of all, these visionaries inspire us to do our share to advance a spiritual universe. The contributors include: John F. Haught, Edward Vacek, S.J., Patrick H. Byrne, Francois Euve, S.J., Ilia Delio, Denis Edwards, Kathleen Duffy, S.S.J., Ursula King, and John C. Haughey, S.J. A landmark effort in the work of evolutionary theology, From Teilhard to Omega will be of interest to scholars, students, and seekers alike.


Teilhard’s Mysticism: Seeing the Inner Face of Evolution
By Kathleen Duffy, SSJ
Orbis Books, 2014

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a French Jesuit priest and scientist, charted a new path in reconciling Christian theology with evolutionary science. Here, a physicist examines Teilhard’s mysticism, showing how science can illuminate the mystical path, while also demonstrating the compatibility between Teilhard’s thought and current frontiers in scientific exploration.


Saving Beauty: A Theological Aesthetics of Nature
By Kathryn B. Alexander Fortress Press, 2014

Kathryn B. Alexander argues that natural beauty is a source of religious insight into the need and way of salvation, and this project develops a theological aesthetics of nature and beauty with an aim toward cultivating a theological and ethical framework for redeemed life as participation in ecological community.

With interdisciplinary verve, engaging systematic, philosophical, and art theory systems of aesthetics, the volume fosters the cultivation of the sense of beauty through creative, religious, and sacramental experience. All three types, in fact, are critically necessary, as the author argues, in eliciting hope for ecological redemption. This volume makes a vital contribution to the systematic and philosophical framework for ecological theology, aesthetics, and theological ethics.


Sustainable World Sourcebook
Sustainable World Coalition, 4th edition, 2014

Information – it’s the lifeblood of hope for creating a thriving world. But the blessing of information has a dual flip side: overwhelm and distortion. What’s most essential to stay informed about can be hard to discern. In response to this dilemma, the nonprofit Sustainable World Coalition has published the 4th edition of the Sustainable World Sourcebook, winner of the International Book Award, Environment category. The Sourcebook is a “one-stop shop” for the concerned global citizen. Following a foreword by Paul Hawken, the Sourcebook’s 165 magazine-style pages explore:

• the most pressing global issues affecting the well-being of all life,
• the most promising solutions to multiple issues, and
• “best practices” for individuals desiring to make a difference

Topics examined in the Sourcebook include environmental issues and impacts; energy crises and renewable solutions; the global financial mess and the “new economy”; social justice issues and their interconnections; local, resilient communities; and green lifestyle choices, including the importance of embracing a spiritual framework. New for the 2014 edition, each chapter ends with an “Explore & Engage” activities section, intended for a study circle, class, or practice community. The Sustainable World Coalition, producer of the Sustainable World Sourcebook, is a nonprofit project of Earth Island Institute.


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.

5. Events

Mindfulness and Climate Action”
A Series of Online Conversations
October 5 – November 2, 2014

Anthropocene Monument: a colloquium-performance”
Les Abattoirs, 76 Allées Charles de Fitte, 31300 Toulouse, France
October 10-12, 2014

Climate change: should science guide politics - or politics guide science?”
A Day Conference and Colloquium arranged by the Philosophical Society of England
Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, UK
October 11, 2014 at 10.30am–4.30pm

Earthkeeping Summit 2014”
Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
October 12-13, 2014

National Bioneers Conference”
Marin Center, San Rafael, CA, USA
Specific speakers, panels and events related to the Nature, Culture and Spirit track are collected here: http://conference.bioneers.org/nature-culture-spirit-honoring-mystery/
October 17-19, 2014

The Role of Religion in Reducing Violence in Human Relationships”
Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) International Conference
Shahid Beheshti University, Teheran/Qom, Iran
October 18-19, 2014

Ways of Knowing”
3rd annual graduate student conference on religion at Harvard Divinity School
Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, USA
Special module on “Religion and Environmental Imagination”
October 23-25, 2014

Religion and the Natural Elements”
Graduate student conference
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
October 24-26, 2014

Faith Communities Acting on Climate Change”
Mary Evelyn Tucker will be the keynote speaker.
St. Paul’s Church, Fairfield, CT, USA
October 26, 2014 at 2:00-4:30pm

Meeting China’s Environmental Crisis: Religion’s Unlikely Role”
Panelists: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Ian Johnson, Dali Yang, Liu Jianqiang, Gary Marcuse, and Sim Chi Yin; Moderator: Jon Sawyer
Max Palevsky Cinema, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
October 28, 2014 at 5:00-6:30 pm
RSVP: https://cischicago.wufoo.com/forms/zlc5bjn07xth5s/

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

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

6. Calls for Papers

Moral Cultures of Food: Access, Production, and Consumption from Past to Present”
UNT Initiative in Food Culture and Environment
University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA
April 2-4, 2015
Submission deadline: December 1, 2014

Ruling Climate: The Theory and Practice of Environmental Governmentality 1500-1800”
University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
May 16, 2015
Submission deadline: December 10, 2014

Unsettling Science and Religion: Contributions and Questions from Queer Studies”
2015 Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) conference
Star Island, NH, USA
August 8-15, 2015
Submission Deadline: February 1, 2015

7. Job Openings and Fellowships

Environmental Ethics Professor
University of Chicago Divinity School, Chicago, IL, USA
Review of candidates began September 1, 2014.

Assistant Professor in Environmental Humanities
University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh, WI, USA
Review of applications begins October 1, 2014.
Position will begin September 1, 2015.

Assistant Professor in Religion, Ethics and Society
Haverford College, Haverford, PA, USA
Application deadline: October 15, 2014

Assistant Professor in Cultural Anthropology/Environment and Sustainability
University of Colorado Boulder, USA
Review of applications begins November 1, 2014.

Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Sustainable Development
Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Application deadline: October 31, 2014

Postdoctoral Fellowship in Animal Studies
Department of Philosophy, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Application deadline: January 15, 2015.
The 2015-16 fellowship will start on July 1, 2015.

8. “Advent in the New Universe Story”

Advent in the New Universe Story” is a four-session resource created by Terri MacKenzie for those interested in deepening their understanding of the Christmas/Incarnation reality in the context of the new creation story. The Incarnation is a Mystery that a lifetime of contemplation would not exhaust, and yet we are continually called to explore this Mystery, and specifically during Advent. These reflections will facilitate that exploration. Useful for individuals but designed for groups, the weeks’ topics include the following:

• New Consciousness, New Christian Understanding
• The Cosmos Prepares for New Life
• Evolving Understanding of Humanity’s Place in Creation
• Incarnation Revisited

This 10-page resource is available free at:

9. Caring for the Future through Ancestral Time

Engaging the Cultural and Spiritual Presence of the Past to Promote a Sustainable Future

This project will investigate the contrast between short term temporalities and the long run temporality of ‘ancestral time’ in order to understand and repair the failure of modern industrial societies to mitigate human climate impacts. The project brings together the ecumenical charity, Eco-Congregation Scotland, consisting of over 280 churches across Scotland, with an interdisciplinary team from the University of Edinburgh. Drawing on insights from theology, environmental philosophy, economic history, geography, and political theory, the project will enable eco-congregations to clarify and re-imagine their vision of the future.

For more, visit:

10. Documentary: Wildest India: Thar Desert - Sacred Sands

Wildest India series, Part 1
Discovery Channel, 2011

Covering 200,000 square kilometers, India’s Thar Desert is one of the harshest places on the planet. Baking heat, desiccating winds and near permanent drought has earned this unforgiving land another name – “the region of death.” As we explore India’s great desert we unveil its hidden secrets, and ultimately shed light as to how the Thar has become the most crowded desert in the world.

Watch this documentary:

11. Graduate Programs

Joint MA in Religion and Ecology

Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (FES) and Yale Divinity School (YDS), New Haven, CT, USA

This graduate program is aimed at students who wish to integrate the study of environmental issues and religious communities in their professional careers and for those who wish to study the cultural and ethical dimensions of environmental problems.

Faculty members: Mary Evelyn Tucker, John Grim, and Fred Simmons



MA and PhD in Philosophy and Religion, concentration in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness

California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, CA, USA

This graduate program is dedicated to re-imagining the human species as a mutually enhancing member of the Earth community.

Faculty members: Brian Thomas Swimme, Elizabeth Allison, Sean Kelly, Richard Tarnas, and Robert McDermott



For more educational programs related to religion and ecology, visit:


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: brill.com/wo

For the online edition, visit: http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/content/journals/15685357

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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