Season Four

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Check back here (or on our homepage) every other Monday for a new episode. 


Spotlights, 4.1, Heather Eaton on Religion, Ecology, Gender, and Nonviolence
This is the inaugural episode of the fourth year of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology podcast. This episode features a prominent contributor to the field, Heather Eaton, PhD, professor of conflict studies in the faculty of human sciences at Saint Paul University, Ottawa, Canada. We talk about her numerous interdisciplinary contributions to the field of religion and ecology, including her engagement with the intellectual legacy of Thomas Berry (a teacher of hers), the enduring relevance of ecofeminism, the philosophy of new materialism, the role of nonviolence in facilitating social change, and the political problem posed by religious nationalism, and more.


Spotlights, 4.2, Wilderness, Morality, and Value, with Joshua Duclos
This episode of Spotlights features Joshua Duclos, PhD, Instructor of Humanities and Philosophy at St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. We talk about his book, Wilderness, Morality, and Value (Lexington Books, 2022), where he rethinks the ethical implications of wilderness in light of the complex conditions of life in the Anthropocene. We discuss issues around anthropocentrism, intrinsic value in nature, the religious significance of wilderness, and some of the moral conflicts that arise when the value of wilderness is juxtaposed with concerns for animal suffering. There are no easy answers when it comes to understanding wilderness, conservation, and animal welfare, but there are many ways to deepen our understanding of the questions involved in those issues.


Spotlights, 4.3, Christiana Zenner on Theology, Ethics, and Freshwater Crises
This episode of Spotlights features Christiana Zenner, PhD, Associate Professor of Theology, Science and Ethics in the Department of Theology at Fordham University. She is a deeply interdisciplinary scholar and teacher, so we cover a lot of topics, including her research into emerging and established fresh water ethics, religious ecologies, the Anthropocene, the ecological turn in Catholic social teaching (including Laudato Si', the ecological encyclical from Pope Francis), the tensions between the degrowth movement and ecomodernist advocates of green growth, our shared hope in the youth and their energy for communication and community organizing, citational politics, bingo games, and a lot more. Her book Just Water: Theology, Ethics, and Global Fresh Water Crises is on its second edition with Orbis Books (2018).


Spotlights, 4.4, Blair Nelsen and Waterspirit
This episode of Spotlights features Blair Nelsen, Executive Director of Waterspirit, a spiritual ecology nonprofit that informs, inspires, and empowers people of all beliefs to deepen their consciousness of the sacredness of water and the interdependence of all Earth’s systems. We discuss her journey in the world of spiritual ecology and nonprofit management, with particular attention to water issues. Reenchanting our relationship with water opens up possibilities for responding to environmental crises with gratitude, hope, and regenerative activism. Go to https://www.waterspirit.org to learn more.


Spotlights, 4.5, Will W. Adams & Nature-Psyche-Spirit
This episode of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology podcast features Will W. Adams, PhD, an ecopsychologist, psychotherapist, and meditation teacher who serves as a psychology professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We talk about many perspectives that he integrates into his ecopsychological work, including transpersonal psychology, phenomenology, Christian mysticism, and Buddhism. We touch on many themes, from hope to heartbreak, including the heartbreaking realities of mountaintop removal. All of these compelling ideas and topics are part of his book, A Wild and Sacred Call: Nature–Psyche–Spirit (SUNY Press, 2023). You can find more information about the book on the publisher’s website: https://sunypress.edu/Books/A/A-Wild-…


Spotlights, 4.6, Laudate Deum Review, with Christiana Zenner
In this episode of Spotlights, Christiana Zenner, PhD, returns to the podcast (see episode 4.3) for a discussion about Laudate Deum, the Apostolic Exhortation that Pope Francis has issued as an update to his 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home. We talk about some of the similarities and differences between the encyclical and the new exhortation. Some main themes include Pope Francis' use of scientific argumentation to refute climate denial, his critique of the United States as the world's leading carbon emitter per capita, his critique of what he calls the “technocratic paradigm” currently dominant around the globe (especially in the Global North), and his call for a global politics of multilateralism to address the climate crisis. We also discuss the usual absence of women from citations in these sorts of documents, which is remedied in Laudate Deum with a very strange reference to a well-known feminist scholar of science studies, Donna Haraway, who grew up Catholic but has taken highly critical stances toward Catholicism throughout her career. National Catholic Reporter featured an interview profile of Haraway in response to the citation, which you can find here: https://www.ncronline.org/earthbeat/j…


Spotlights, 4.7, Theopoetics and Planetary Politics with O'Neil Van Horn
This episode of Spotlights features O'neil Van Horn, PhD, Assistant Professor of Theology at Xavier University. We discuss the difference between theology and theopoetics, the ethical and political challenges of our current planetary situation, and grounds for hope. Along the way, we talk about his book, On the Ground: Terrestrial Theopoetics and Planetary Politics (Fordham University Press, 2023). You can find more information about the book on the publisher's website: https://www.fordhampress.com/97815315…


Spotlights, 4.8, Kate Rigby
This episode of Spotlights features Kate Rigby, PhD, Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of Cologne. We talk about her many contributions to environmental humanities and ecocriticism. Some of the topics we cover include her work with European Romanticism, decolonization, and the enduring legacy of the ecofeminist philosophy of Val Plumwood. We also discuss her most recent book, Meditations on Creation in an Era of Extinction (Orbis Books, 2023), where she reflects on the challenges of extinction through theological interpretations of the Biblical account of creation. She draws on an ancient genre of theological writing about the days of creation, the hexameron. You can find more information about the book on the publisher's website: https://orbisbooks.com/products/97816…


Spotlights, 4.9 Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion at 10 Years, with Elizabeth Allison, PhD
This episode of Spotlights features Elizabeth Allison, PhD, Professor of Ecology and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, where she founded and chairs the graduate program in Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion (ESR). This year is the 10th anniversary of the program, so it was the perfect opportunity to reflect on ESR's past, present, and future. We discuss a wide variety of topics, including transdisciplinary education, contemplative practice, environmental humanities, the relationship between religion and spirituality, online and in-person teaching, and more. We also discuss the Religion & Ecology Summit series of annual conferences that ESR hosts. The 6th annual Summit will take place April 8-11 in 2024, with the theme of Queer Ecologies and Religions. More information about the event is available here: https://www.ciis.edu/events/6th-annua…


Spotlights, 4.10, Year in Review and Preview, with Kimberly Carfore
Tis the season for reflecting on the past year and the year to come. Kimberly Carfore, PhD, came on the podcast to do just that, particularly in light of her role as the co-chair of the Religion and Ecology unit for the American Academy of Religion (AAR). We talk about some of the main topics and trends covered by the unit in this past year's AAR, and we discuss what's coming for this year's AAR, including more focus on decolonization and environmental justice, more consideration of questions about violence and nonviolence, more attention to activism and advocacy, and more research into the varieties of sentience in animals, plants, fungi, and more. Drawing on the field and force of religion and ecology, the Religion and Ecology unit is helping connect all areas of religious studies to the urgent and inspiring work of engaging with ecological issues.


Spotlights, 4.11, Music, Faith, and Ecological Crisis, with Mark Porter
This episode of Spotlights features Mark Porter, research associate at the University of Erfurt, in Germany. With a background in ethnomusicology, his current work focuses on Christian musical innovation and changing ecological relationships, based at his university’s department for theology and religious studies. We discuss his work at the intersection of music, religion and ecology, particularly in light of his forthcoming book, For the Warming of the Earth: Music, Faith, and Ecological Crisis (due out in June 2024 with SCM Press). Some of the topics covered include climate albums, music and acts of protest, song festivals, ecological Requiems, and the future of ecomusicology. You can learn more about his work on his website: https://markporter.co.uk


Spotlights, 4.12, Degrowth, Faith, and the Future, with Chad Baron
This episode of Spotlights features Chad Baron, co-founder of a new organization, Degrowth California. Degrowth is a hotly contested and frequently misunderstood movement among advocates of environmental sustainability and social justice. We discuss degrowth and its relationship to faith, particularly in light of Chad’s graduate work at the intersection of degrowth and Catholic Social Teaching. Some of the topics we touch on include the ways that degrowth differs from green growth and from austerity, differences between degrowth in different countries in the Global North and Global South, and connections between degrowth and Catholicism, from early Christianity to Catholic Social Teaching and Pope Francis. You can learn more about Degrowth California here: https://degrowthcalifornia.org/


Spotlights, 4.13, Chantal Forbes & Charlie Forbes on the Field & Force of Religion & Ecology
This episode of the FORE podcast features Chantal Forbes, PhD, and her partner Charlie Forbes. Chantal is a transdisciplinary scholar, storyteller, and educator at the intersection of ecology, spirituality, and culture. She is a visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Randolph-Macon College and Adjunct Faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Charlie is a cultural ecologist who employs a mixed-media approach to the study of ecology, spirituality, and religion. He currently serves as the program coordinator for the Ecology, Spirituality, and Religion program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. We had a wonderful and wide-ranging conversation about the field and force of religion and ecology, touching on topics like interfaith/interreligious perspectives, Indigenous lifeways, decolonization, ethnographic and community-based methods, nonprofit management, and more.


Spotlights, 4.14, Integration and Synthesis with Craig Patterson
This episodes of Spotlights features Craig Patterson, a long-time activist and advocate weaving together multiple perspectives to address contemporary environmental issues. We talk about his commitment to integration and synthesis, seeking alliances and unity amidst difference. Some points of integration we discuss include science and spirituality, East and West, and theory and practice. He shares his formative experience in Auroville, the experimental city grounded in the integral thinking of the Indian philosopher and yogi Sri Aurobindo. He also talks about his dedication to issues of forestry in Oregon, where environmental science, policy, and management converge.