October 2015

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
9.10 (October 2015)


1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. Journey of the Universe Workshop at the American Academy of Religion Meeting (November 20, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, USA)

3. New Publications (including For Our Common Home: Process-Relational Responses to Laudato Si’, edited by John Cobb, Jr. and Ignacio Castuera)

4. Calls for Papers

5. Events

6. “Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource: On Care for Our Common Home”

7. Lutheran Study Guide to Pope Francis’ Letter on Climate Change

8. Video of “Ecology, Economy and Ethics: Mobilizing for a Just Transition” (Center for Earth Ethics Conference at Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, USA)

9. Video of “Pope Francis’ Encyclical: Climate Change Evokes Moral Change” (Panel at Saint Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale)

10. Video of Presentation on “Integral Ecology” by Mary Evelyn Tucker at University of San Francisco

11. Video and Call for Support: Pope Francis and Climate Action

12. Video: “The Celebratory Liturgy of the Universe” (conversation with Thomas Berry and Miriam MacGillis)

13. The People’s Climate Covenant

14. “Contemplation and Care for Creation” (Certificate program at the Center for Religion and Environment at Sewanee)

15. Graduate Programs

16. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the October 2015 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 videos, publications, calls for papers, events, and more.

Pope Francis recently made a momentous visit to the United States, spending time in Washington D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia.  During his visit, he addressed a joint session of Congress on September 24, as well as the United Nations General Assembly on September 25. The Pope’s visit was a very important event in support of the encyclical on the environment, “Praised Be: On the Care of Our Common Home” (Laudato Si’), in which Pope Francis highlights issues of “integral ecology,” namely concerns for people and the planet. There are a number of resources on the Forum site (http://fore.yale.edu/) to provide you more information on the encyclical.

Many items in this newsletter are related to Pope Francis’ encyclical.  We are happy to share the recent release of two study guides for the encyclical (one by Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ and another by Terra Rowe).  Also, a new book edited by John Cobb, Jr. and Ignacio Castuera has been published, entitled For Our Common Home: Process-Relational Responses to Laudato Si’.  In addition, you can watch the following videos: 1) the Yale panel on “Pope Francis’ Encyclical: Climate Change Evokes Moral Change,” 2) a recent presentation by Mary Evelyn on “Integral Ecology: Concern for Environmental and Economic Justice,” and 3) a short video produced by Next Gen entitled “Dear World” that shares the Pope’s view on climate change.  For more about each of these resources, see below.

We want to share a free e-book with you entitled Ecological Civilization, which features the proceedings of the International Conference on Ecological Civilization and Environmental Reporting at the Yale Center Beijing on June 16, 2015. For more information, see below.

Also, we are excited to let you know that the upcoming American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA will include a special workshop entitled “Journey of the Universe: Hope for the Future.” Heather Eaton, Nancy Menning, and Mary Evelyn Tucker will preside at this workshop on November 20, 2015 at 2-5pm.  For more, see below or visit: http://fore.yale.edu/calendar/item/american-academy-of-religion-annual-meeting6/  For more Religion and Ecology Events at the AAR, visit: http://fore.yale.edu/files/AAR_2015_Religion_and_Ecology_Events.pdf

The Forum on Religion and Ecology now has a Facebook page!  Please show your support by “liking” us and sharing our page with your Facebook friends. Visit the new page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Forum-on-Religion-and-Ecology-at-Yale/807941202606307

Journey of the Universe also has a Facebook page that we invite you to visit: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Journey-of-the-Universe/179213572122084?fref=nf  Journey of the Universe Conversations is available on Vimeo for streaming and downloading. You can access the individual episodes or the complete collection here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/jotuconversations  For a list of stores where the Journey project is available, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/buy/

We hope this newsletter supports your own work and helps you further your own engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.

Take care,
Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Website Manager & Newsletter Editor

2. Journey of the Universe Workshop at the American Academy of Religion Meeting (November 20, 2015 in Atlanta, GA, USA)

Journey of the Universe: Hope for the Future”

American Academy of Religion (AAR) Annual Meeting
Atlanta, GA, USA

November 20, 2015
Hilton Crystal Ballroom CD

Heather Eaton, Nancy Menning, and Mary Evelyn Tucker, Presiding

Journey of the Universe narrates the history of the cosmos in a mythic mode richly informed by contemporary science, bringing religion and science together in compelling ways. In this workshop we will explore the pedagogical potential of this universe story, at the cosmological as well as more localized scales. We will examine the ways in which this narrative shapes our understanding of the long arc of history, defines our human place in the grander ecological or cosmological journey, and suggests possibilities for ethical action. The goal of the workshop is to strengthen our capacity to awaken awe and wonder in the classroom with implications for our students’ capacity to participate effectively in much-needed environmental activism. Focusing on hope and working with the Journey of the Universe curricular materials we will develop skills in analyzing the emotional resonance of this narrative structure, the ways the materials will engage students, and how this contributes to an effective pedagogy.

The cost for this Religion and Ecology workshop is $35, which includes the entire afternoon of sessions and a coffee break. Registration is limited to the first 120 participants.

For more Religion and Ecology Events at the AAR, visit:

3. New Publications (including For Our Common Home: Process-Relational Responses to Laudato Si’, edited by John Cobb, Jr. and Ignacio Castuera)

For Our Common Home: Process-Relational Responses to Laudato Si’
Edited by John B. Cobb, Jr. and Ignacio Castuera
Series: Toward Ecological Civilization, Volume 7
Process Century Press, 2015

On June 18, 2015, Pope Francis addressed the world about the fate of the planet, focusing especially on the threat of climate disaster. He called for a worldview that would emphasize the interconnectedness of things and what he called an “integral ecology.” In Claremont, CA, earlier the same month, a conference called “Seizing an Alternative,” also focused attention on climate change and called for a new worldview that would reflect the interconnectedness of all things, or an “ecological civilization.” The conference leaders saw that their aims and hopes now had a global leader. The goals of an integral ecology and an ecological civilization are the same. The task now for those who care about the fate of the world is to give whatever support they can to Pope Francis. As a first step, more than 60 persons involved in that conference answered the pope’s call for dialogue and wrote responses to the pope’s encyclical letter, Laudato si’. This book is a collection of those essays, written by people representing a diversity of faith traditions and cultures and many fields of activity and inquiry. They offer support, constructive criticism, and proposals for implementing the pope’s ideas. To engage a larger public, it is important to engage the encyclical seriously, by widening and deepening the discussion. This book is offered in the hopes of facilitating that conversation.  An introduction is provided by Bill McKibben, and contributions are included from Mary Evelyn Tucker, Vandana Shiva, Rosemary Ruether, Roger Gottlieb, Catherine Keller, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Stuart Kaufmann, Philip Clayton, and Ellen Brown.


Ecological Civilization
Proceedings of the International Conference on Ecological Civilization and Environmental Reporting
Yale Center Beijing, June 16, 2015
Download PDF:
Download book at iTunes:

On June 16, 2015, academics, journalists, scientists, government, religious and business leaders from China, the U.S., and other countries came together for the first time to discuss the environmental challenges facing China and the world—and the increasingly important role of religion and traditional cultures in finding sustainable solutions to the challenges we face. Ecological Civilization is a compendium of the talks and proceedings of the International Conference on Ecological Environment. It took place at the Yale Center Beijing and was o-sponsored by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, Communication University of China, and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. This e-book begins with an introductory essay by Jon Sawyer, founding director of the Pulitzer Center, and features presentations by Dean Liu Chang, director of the School of Journalism at Communication University of China, and by Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-director of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. Ecological Civilization includes photos and videos by Pulitzer Center grantees Sean Gallagher, Sim Chi Yin, Shi Lihong, and Gary Marcuse.


From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World
By Norman Wirzba
Series: The Church and Postmodern Culture
Baker Publishing Group, 2015

How does Christianity change the way we view the natural world? In this addition to a critically acclaimed series, renowned theologian Norman Wirzba engages philosophers, environmentalists, and cultural critics to show how the modern concept of nature has been deeply problematic. He explains that understanding the world as creation rather than as nature or the environment makes possible an imagination shaped by practices of responsibility and gratitude, which can help bring healing to our lands and communities. By learning to give thanks for creation as God’s gift of life, Christians bear witness to the divine love that is reconciling all things to God.


Ocean Country: One Woman’s Voyage from Peril to Hope in her Quest To Save the Seas
By Liz Cunningham
North Atlantic Books, 2015

Ocean Country is an adventure story, a call to action, and a poetic meditation on the state of the seas. But most importantly it is the story of finding true hope in the midst of one of the greatest crises to face humankind, the rapidly degrading state of our environment. After a near-drowning accident in which she was temporarily paralyzed, Liz Cunningham crisscrosses the globe in an effort to understand the threats to our dazzling but endangered oceans. This intimate account charts her thrilling journey through unexpected encounters with conservationists, fishermen, sea nomads, and scientists in the Mediterranean, Sulawesi, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Papua, New Guinea.


Environmental Ethics and Film
By Pat Brereton
Routledge, 2015

Environmental ethics presents and defends a systematic and comprehensive account of the moral relation between human beings and their natural environment and assumes that human behaviour toward the natural world can and is governed by moral norms. In contemporary society, film has provided a powerful instrument for the moulding of such ethical attitudes.  Through a close examination of the medium, Environmental Ethics and Film explores how historical ethical values can be re-imagined and re-constituted for more contemporary audiences. Building on an extensive back-catalogue of eco-film analysis, the author focuses on a diverse selection of contemporary films which target audiences’ ethical sensibilities in very different ways. Each chapter focuses on at least three close readings of films and documentaries, examining a wide range of environmental issues as they are illustrated across contemporary Hollywood films.  This book is an invaluable resource for students and scholars of environmental communication, film studies, media and cultural studies, environmental philosophy and ethics.


Spaces in-between: Cultural and Political Perspectives on Environmental Discourse
Edited by Mark Luccarelli and Sigurd Bergmann
Studies in Environmental Humanities, Vol. 2
Brill, 2015

Spaces in-between goes beyond the emphasis on externalities signaled by the term ‘environment’ to address the isolation of modern technological culture from nature. Solutions require more than an awareness of ‘natural surroundings’ and human destructiveness. We think in terms of the re-conceptualization, re-design and re-negotiation of space. The book is concerned with social practices, belief systems, urban designs, the organization and representation of landscapes and modes of living. These aspects of ‘spatiality’ suggest how to conceive and practice the intermingling of nature and culture and how to develop public commitment to such practices. In the process we show how concern for the environment as an aspect of space helps us to reconceive and reinterpret what it means to be human.

4. Calls for Papers

“A Catholic Environmentalism: Laudato Si and Beyond”
St. Nicholas of Myra Conference on Catholic Social Thought II
Providence College, Providence, RI, USA
December 5-7, 2015
Submission Deadline: October 15, 2015

The Greening of Religions: Hope in the Eye of the Storm”
University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA
April 1-4, 2016
Submission Deadline: October 31, 2015

Persons as Animals: Understanding the Animal Bases of Agency, Perceptual Knowledge and Thought”
Weetwood Hall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
July 6-7, 2016
Submission Deadline: November 6, 2015

“Religion and Nature in a Globalizing World”
Special Issue of the journal Religions
Guest Editor: Evan Berry
Submission Deadline: March 1, 2016

5. Events

“Interfaith Conversations about Laudato Si”
Whidbey Island, WA, USA
September 28 – November 9, 2015

Sustainability Ethics, The Earth Charter, and Aldo Leopold”
This is the virtual component of a hybrid live/virtual event co-organized by Earth Charter International and the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
October 8, 2015 at 1:45pm (CST)

Book Launch Event for Ocean Country by Liz Cunningham
Books, Inc., Berkeley, CA, USA
October 9, 2015 at 7pm

Ecocinema: Celebrating Landscapes and Waterscapes”
tiNai Ecofilm Festival 2015
K.K. Birla Goa Campus, Goa, India
October 9-10, 2015

Parliament of the World’s Religions”
Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
October 15-19, 2015

Bioneers Conference
Marin Center, San Rafael, CA, USA
October 16-18, 2015
Nature, Culture, Spirit track: http://conference.bioneers.org/schedule/?track=87

Hope in the Age of the Climate Crisis: Finding Our Moral Compass”
2015 Annual Conference of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light
The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, PA, USA
October 25, 2015

How to think the Anthropocene? Anthropologists, philosophers and sociologists facing climate change”
Collège de France, Paris
November 5-6, 2015

Acting on Pope Francis’ Call: Divestment and Investment in Care for Our Common Home”
University of Dayton River Campus, Dayton, OH, USA
November 5-7, 2015

American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting
Atlanta, GA, USA
November 21-24, 2015

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

6. “Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource: On Care for Our Common Home”

Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource: On Care for Our Common Home,” developed by Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ, is a 5-session resource for group use.  Pope Francis writes: I would like to enter into dialog with all people about our common home. (par. 3) That dialog is one goal of Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource. Others include gathering for prayerful reflection on this document, and deepening our appreciation of integral ecology and our call to care for our common home.

Advantages of Laudato Si’ Reflection Resource:
•    Reading, praying, and discussing quotes from the Encyclical in a group provide a powerful experience and motivate further study;
•    Devoting the first of five sessions to the encyclical’s Introduction establishes a solid foundation for accepting the full document;
•    Scripture excerpts included are useful now or any time, including Lent;
•    Pertinent videos and hymns enrich the sessions;
•    Practical weekly action suggestions lead to lasting commitments;
•    Material is free and 5-sessions are manageable.

This resource is available now at

For more, visit:

7. Lutheran Study Guide to Pope Francis’ Letter on Climate Change

The Lutheran Study Guide to Pope Francis’ letter on climate change is now available! This is a four week study intended for church adult education, college, or seminary classrooms. The study takes up the theme of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation coming in 2017, so may be a great way to start thinking about how your community and congregation will mark this momentous occasion. Please consider adding this curriculum to your adult educational opportunities in the coming year. Questions or comments on the study can be sent to Terra S. Rowe (trowe03@gmail.com) at the Hudson Valley Cooperative.

Download this study guide here:

8. Video of “Ecology, Economy and Ethics: Mobilizing for a Just Transition” (Center for Earth Ethics Conference at Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, USA)

We are happy to share the video recording of “Ecology, Economy and Ethics: Mobilizing for a Just Transition,” a conference held on September 16, 2015 at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  This conference, almost exactly between the release of the papal encyclical on the environment and the COP21 climate change summit, covered topics from divestment to energy ethics to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and with a special session on linking locally-rooted struggles to our broader climate movement. The Forum on Religion and Ecology was one of the co-sponsors of this event, along with the Center for Earth Ethics, GreenFaith, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, and Forum 21 Institute. Mary Evelyn Tucker participated in the session on “Religions for the Earth: The Road to Paris.”

Watch the video here:

9. Video of “Pope Francis’ Encyclical: Climate Change Evokes Moral Change” (Panel at Saint Thomas More Chapel & Center at Yale)

This panel discussion, held October 1, 2015 at the Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University, discussed how Pope Francis’ encyclical will re-frame the issue of climate change for Catholics and non-Catholics. John Grim was the moderator. Panelists included: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Teresa Berger, Joanna DaFoe, Rabbi Joshua Ratner, and Omer Bajwa.

Watch the video here:

10. Video of Presentation on “Integral Ecology” by Mary Evelyn Tucker at University of San Francisco

We are excited to share a video of “Integral Ecology: Concern for Environmental and Economic Justice,” an event held at the University of San Francisco on September 3, 2015.  In her presentation, Mary Evelyn Tucker reflected on the invitations and challenges of Pope Francis’ new encyclical on care for creation, responsible development and the impact of environmental injustice on the world’s poor.  A response was given by Fr. John Coleman, SJ of St. Ignatius Parish, followed by discussion with the audience.

Watch the video:

11. Video and Call for Support: Pope Francis and Climate Action

Watch a video by NextGen Climate entitled “Dear World” that shares the Pope’s view on climate change in 30 seconds:

The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.” In these powerful and moving words, Pope Francis reminds us of our moral duty to one another, and to our children, to care for our environment and protect the next generation. We agree. Around the world, the most vulnerable — particularly children, the elderly, and poor communities — are already experiencing the devastating impact of climate change.

Join us in supporting Pope Francis’ urgent call for climate action by adding your name here:

Once you sign, we will send your name to Pope Francis to let him know you stand with him on climate action. You’ll also be plugged in for more updates from Sojourners (https://sojo.net/) and NextGen Climate (https://nextgenclimate.org/) on ways to put faith into action for social justice and and moving America toward an equitable clean energy economy.

12. Video: “The Celebratory Liturgy of the Universe” (conversation with Thomas Berry and Miriam MacGillis)

The Forum on Religion and Ecology is posting videos and audio recordings of Thomas Berry’s talks on the Thomas Berry Foundation website. The videos are from the library of Lou Niznik thanks to the generous gift of Jane Blewett. We thank Don Smith and Wes Pascoe for editing them and making them available online. We are also very grateful to Don for creating the summary and discussion questions for the videos.

Watch these videos:

The video we are featuring this month is “The Celebratory Liturgy of the Universe,” a conversation between Thomas Berry and Miriam MacGillis of Genesis Farm, filmed at Riverdale Center on May 29, 1991.  Here Thomas provides an overview of the context in which he sets all of his thinking, namely, the ongoing devastation of Earth systems by the commercial-industrial economy, the incompetence of human institutions to deal with this devastation, and the emergence, in our time, of a new vision, a New Story, to address these issues.

Watch this video:

For a summary of the video and discussion questions, visit: 

13. The People’s Climate Covenant

America must transition from a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewable energy, and bring our lifestyles in line with fundamental faith values: of equity and respect for Creation, in a sacred trust to sustain and protect our God-given source of life.  Organized by Climate Justice @ Union Theological Seminary and Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, the People’s Climate Covenant provides a formula for achieving those necessary changes. It can and should be the United States’ position at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP-21) in Paris.

We invite you to join in this effort by endorsing the People’s Climate Covenant.



14. “Contemplation and Care for Creation” (Certificate program at the Center for Religion and Environment at Sewanee)

The Center for Religion and Environment at Sewanee is pleased to announce a Certificate program in Contemplation and Care for Creation. This unique program will offer participants a combined exposure to the theology and the spirituality of creation care and its social implications.  It begins with a two-week period of instruction on Sewanee’s beautiful 13,000-acre Domain from May 30 to June 10, 2016. This will be followed by a one-year practicum in spiritual formation (based on classic monastic spirituality), project development and practical implementation.  Throughout the program, participants will encounter the sacred in nature, interpret that experience, and reflect on its implications for their own lives and how to share with others practical measures of earthcare. Tuition for the program is $2,600 with a deposit of $500 due November 30, 2015, to be assured of securing a seat. For more information, visit:


15. 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:

16. 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/15685357/19/3

Table of Contents for Volume 19, Issue 3 (2015):

•    Islamic Attitudes towards Environmental Problems and Practices (Azman Ahmad)
•    Homogenizing Violence, Isa 40:4 (and Luke 3:5) and MTR (Mountaintop Removal Mining) (Anne Elvey)
•    The Post-Colonial Ecology of Siberian Shamanic Revivalism (Eleanor Peers and Lyubov’ Kolodeznikova)
•    Theorizing Logger Religion within the Pacific Northwest Timber Conflict (Christopher Serenari; Nils Peterson and Brett Clark)
•    “All My Means are Sane, My Motive and My Object Mad” (Daniel T. Spencer)
•    Film Review: Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey, by M. Yeoh (exec.prod.) and W.J.N. Lee (prod./dir.) (Review by Erin Weston)

For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit:
To download this newsletter as a PDF, visit: