September 2014

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
8.9 (September 2014)


1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally

2. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Launches First Online Courses in Religion and Ecology

3. Journey of the Universe Events

4. Archive and Videos of the Religions of the World and Ecology Conference Series (1996-1998)

5. New Publications

6. Online Interfaith Course on Climate Change

7. Events

8. Job Announcements

9. InsideClimate News

10. Season of Creation Resources

11. Feast of St. Francis Resources

12. Pebble Mine and Religious Activism

13. Khaleafa

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

1. Overview, by Elizabeth McAnally


Welcome to the September 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 very happy to let you know that Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim are now teaching the first online courses in Religion and Ecology at Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). During the spring semester, they will offer the introductory course and East Asian Religions and Ecology. Over the next three years they will also teach online courses in South Asian Religions, Indigenous Religions, and Native American Religions and Ecology. You can read about these courses, view syllabi, and watch videos at:

The Journey of the Universe film continues to move out into the world. It is available on Netflix, and since it went up in December, it has been rated by over 54,000 people. For more about the Journey project, visit:

The paperback version of Journey of the Universe by Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker will be published by Yale University Press on October 28. You can order this book at:

A conference for teachers and administrators on “Interdisciplinary Curriculum Design and Journey of the Universe” 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:–October_2014.pdf

We are excited to let you know about a variety of climate change events held in New York this month. On September 19-21, the Union Theological Seminary is hosting an invitational conference entitled “Religions for the Earth” where 200 religious and spiritual leaders of diverse traditions from around the world will convene for a dialogue about spirituality and faith based action on climate change. On September 21 beginning at 11:30am, the “People’s Climate March” will bring thousands to New York for the largest climate mobilization in history. For more information, visit: After the march, join people from across a range of faiths and traditions in a ritual of covenant and commission for the future of our Earth at the “Religions for the Earth: A Multifaith Service” held at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine at 6pm. Request a pass here:

Please note that the University of Chicago Divinity School is hiring a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Environmental Ethics. For the job description, 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. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Launches First Online Courses in Religion and Ecology


By Kevin Dennehy
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES)
August 13, 2014


Across the world, the ecological and policy implications of climate change become more obvious with each passing year. But Professors Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) suggest that for the global community to adequately respond to the crisis it has to recognize another key element: Climate change is also a moral and social justice issue.


As communities worldwide face the consequences of rising seas, drought, and food shortages, religious leaders are adding their voices to the climate discussion. Indeed, these leaders are increasingly speaking on a range of environmental issues, from biodiversity loss to deforestation to toxic pollution.


The study of how religious traditions interact with the natural world — and how these communities can play a greater role in environmental stewardship — is a field that Tucker and Grim have helped develop for more than two decades in the classroom and through the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale.


This fall, they will introduce this emerging field to the world of online education for the first time, offering a “blended learning” version of two of their courses — Introductions to Religion and Ecology and Western Religions and Ecology.


During the spring semester, they will offer the introductory course and East Asian Religions and Ecology. Over the next three years they will also teach online courses in South Asian Religions, Indigenous Religions, and Native American Religions and Ecology.


Read the full article, view the syllabi, and watch videos about the courses:

3. Journey of the Universe Events

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

With John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker

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

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

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 (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

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.

Please register by September 15th at:



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:

4. Archive and Videos of the Religions of the World and Ecology Conference Series (1996-1998)

We are delighted to let you know about a new section of the Forum on Religion and Ecology website that contains an archive of the Religions of the World and Ecology conference series. Hosted by the Center for the Study of World Religions (CSWR) at Harvard Divinity School, this conference series was the result of research conducted at the Center over a three-year period (1996-1998). Conferences involved the direct participation and collaboration of some eight hundred scholars, religious leaders and environmental specialists from around the world.

In this archive, you will find programs for each of the conferences, bios of the participants, and abstracts of the papers.

Explore this archive at:

You will also find videos of the United Nations / American Museum of Natural History Culminating Conferences in 1998. You can watch these videos and find a helping video viewing guide at:

5. 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.


Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change
By George Marshall
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014

Most of us recognize that climate change is real, and yet we do nothing to stop it. What is this psychological mechanism that allows us to know something is true but act as if it is not? George Marshall’s search for the answers brings him face to face with Nobel Prize-winning psychologists and the activists of the Texas Tea Party; the world’s leading climate scientists and the people who denounce them; liberal environmentalists and conservative evangelicals. What he discovered is that our values, assumptions, and prejudices can take on lives of their own, gaining authority as they are shared, dividing people in their wake.

With engaging stories and drawing on years of his own research, Marshall argues that the answers do not lie in the things that make us different and drive us apart, but rather in what we all share: how our human brains are wired—our evolutionary origins, our perceptions of threats, our cognitive blindspots, our love of storytelling, our fear of death, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. Once we understand what excites, threatens, and motivates us, we can rethink and reimagine climate change, for it is not an impossible problem. Rather, it is one we can halt if we can make it our common purpose and common ground. Silence and inaction are the most persuasive of narratives, so we need to change the story. In the end, Don’t Even Think About It is both about climate change and about the qualities that make us human and how we can grow as we deal with the greatest challenge we have ever faced.


A Bishops’ Letter about the Climate
Church of Sweden, Bishops’ Conference, Uppsala, 2014

The Bishops of the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden have recently published a 100-page “Bishops’ Letter about the Climate”. Since climate change probably is the biggest common challenge ever faced by humanity, “it is time for science, politics, business, culture and religion, everything that is an expression of human dignity, to work together”, the bishops state.

After giving an account of the facts and uncertainties, the letter traces some historical developments that have contributed to current views of nature and economy. A third chapter discusses the human situation between threat and hope, with pastoral attention to the needs of adults and the young. The fourth chapter, The Earth, hope and the future – how can we have faith? outlines a theology and anthropology that encourages appropriate action, grounded in wonder, grace and hope. The last chapter presents ways forward and is followed by challenges to the Church, citizens, political and public leaders, companies and organizations, member states of the UNFCCC as well as religious leaders worldwide.


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.

6. Online Interfaith Course on Climate Change

The Wilmette Institute will offer an 8-week online course on climate change, from September 20 to November 15, 2014.

The objectives of the course are

• to help participants become literate in the basic science of climate change and to acquire an understanding of how it impacts people today and in the future,

• to explore ethical questions related to climate change and to address them within the context of the spiritual teachings of the world’s religions, especially of the Baha’i Faith,

• to enable participants to make enlightened decisions for their lives that are consistent with their own spiritual and ethical values.

For those interested in a more thorough study of climate change or who are interested in specific aspects of it, the course offers numerous optional resources.

The Wilmette Institute is an online Baha’i Learning Center. Its courses are open to members of all religions.

For more information or to register, visit:

For more about the Wilmette Institute, visit:

7. Events

International Forum on Environmental Ethics
DoE International Conference Hall, Pardisan Eco-Park, Tehran, I. R. Iran
September 6, 2014

5th Annual Pacific Northwest Climate Science Conference
Keynote by Washington State Governor Jay Inslee
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
September 9-10, 2014

The Psychology of Climate Change”
With George Marshall
Seattle Town Hall, Seattle, WA, USA
September 11, 2014 at 7:30 – 8:30pm

India For Animals”
National conference organised by Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO)
Clarks Amer Hotel, Jaipur, India
September 12-14, 2014

Just & Holy Food”
Conference on the moral and theological imperative for food policy, security, and justice
Co-presented by the Interreligious Eco-Justice Network and the CT Conference of the United Church of Christ
Keynote by Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Keiner
Local, organic, and kosher reception afterward
Common Ground High School, New Haven, CT, USA
September 14, 2014

Religions for the Earth Conference”
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, USA
Please note that this is an invitation-only event.
September 19-21, 2014

People’s Climate March”
New York City, NY, USA
September 21, 2014

Religions for the Earth: A Multifaith Service”
The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine, New York, NY, USA
September 21, 2014 at 6pm
Request a pass:

Interfaith Summit on Climate Change”
Hosted by the World Council of Churches (WCC)
New York City, NY, USA
September 21-22, 2014

Spiritual Ecologies and New Cosmologies Convergence”
Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
September 22-25, 2014

Human-Animal Relationships in Religious Traditions”
Bonn University, Bonn, Germany
September 25-27, 2014

Ecomusicologies 2014: Dialogues”
University of North Carolina at Asheville (USA)
This conference allows for participation as presenter or audience member via the Internet.
October 4-5, 2014

Towards Ecocultural Ethics: Recent Trends and Future Directions”
International Conference
Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Goa, India
October 9-11, 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:
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

For more events, visit:

8. Job Announcements

Environmental Ethics Professor

University of Chicago Divinity School, Chicago, IL, USA

The University of Chicago Divinity School seeks to make an appointment for a new, tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Environmental Ethics.

Review of candidates began on September 1. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


Executive Director of the David Rockefeller Fund

We are seeking an individual with at least 10 years’ relevant experience in the areas described below.

• Managing, supporting, funding or advocating for local or national programs and initiatives.
• Utilizing her/his deep professional networks in philanthropy and programs.
• Being an advocate for mission-driven causes.
• Facilitating discussions that cover a wide range of ideas and ambitions.
• Speaking publicly to large and small audiences.
• Communicating with a wide range of individuals, e.g., family members, grantees and partners.
• Writing professionally.
• Using anecdotal reports, program data and site visits to evaluate impact.

For the full job specification, visit:

9. InsideClimate News

InsideClimate News is a Pulitzer prize-winning, non-profit, non-partisan news organization that covers clean energy, carbon energy, nuclear energy and environmental science—plus the territory in between where law, policy and public opinion are shaped. Our mission is to produce clear, objective stories that give the public and decision-makers the information they need to navigate the heat and emotion of climate and energy debates.

Climate and energy are defining issues of our time, yet most media outlets are now hard-pressed to devote sufficient resources to environmental and investigative reporting. Our goal is to fill this growing national deficiency and contribute to the accurate public understanding so crucial to the proper functioning of democracy.

Subscribe here:

For more, visit:

10. Season of Creation Resources

September 1st was proclaimed as a day of prayer for the environment by the late Ecumenical Patriarch Dimitrios I in 1989. On October 4th, Roman Catholics and other churches from the Western traditions commemorate Saint Francis of Assisi. Faith communities are invited to organize ecumenical events during the “Season of Creation,” from September 1st to October 4th.

For Season of Creation resources, visit:

• United Church of Canada:
• World Council of Churches:
• Let All Creation Praise:
• Seasons of the Spirit:
• Web of Creation:

11. Feast of St. Francis Resources

How do we care for Creation? The Feast of Saint Francis, the patron saint of those who promote ecology, offers an ideal time for reflection on the role we play as stewards of God’s gifts.

The Feast of Saint Francis program, “Creating a Climate for Solidarity: From St. Francis to Pope Francis to You,” helps your parish, college, or small study group explore how climate change affects the world’s poor. Created by the Catholic Climate Covenant, this dynamic multi-media presentation will help your group dig in deeply on questions of Creation care and social justice.

We provide all the materials you need to make your program a success. You’ll receive
• simple instructions to help you organize a successful event;
• a multi-media presentation with discussion guide;
• action steps to deepen attendees’ experience; and
• promotional resources to help you attract an interested audience.

Our versions specific to parish, college, and youth audiences ensure that your materials suit your audience.

Download these free resources at:

12. Pebble Mine and Religious Activism

The Orthodox Church of America’s Alaskan diocese has been heavily active in activism related to the proposed copper mine in Bristol Bay called Pebble Mine. In 2008 the Diocese of Alaska voted unanimously on a resolution saying the church would bless any development to improve life for the local population, but would not if the development would pollute aquifers and land. The diocese wanted proof that any developer had done previous projects without polluting the water and land because the Church believed mining developers have a poor track record.

A year and a half later, the Renewable Resources Coalition (an Alaskan organization opposed to Pebble) approached Fr. Oleksa, a priest in the Diocese of Alaska, asking what he could do based on this resolution. With funding from the RRC, Oleksa, the bishop, and other priests made the expensive (chartered) flights to the Bristol Bay region to perform the blessing of the water ceremony. This ceremony was not developed for this issue, it is part of the Orthodox tradition and unique to the Orthodox Church. The purpose of the blessing is to reaffirm Christians’ awareness of sacredness of creation, to reaffirm their commitment to nature.

Watch a video of the Great Blessing of Water in Bristol Bay:

Read a letter by the National Council of Churches to the Environmental Protection Agency on Pebble Mine:

13. Khaleafa

The term ‘Khaleafa’ is the Arabic term for steward and represents the sacred responsibility that has been bestowed upon us by Allah. The concept of stewardship is the inspiration of this project and has formed for the foundation for discussion of the environmental ideals already present within the Islamic faith. The goal of this website is to reignite the discourse surrounding the Islamic approach to environmentalism and to draw upon the essence of these teachings, emphasizing the movement from a Canadian perspective.

For more information, visit:

14. 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)

For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit:

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