Season Three

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Spotlights ~ Ep. 3.1 Joseph Wiebe and Kimberly Carfore on the Future of Religion and Ecology
This is the beginning of the third year of the podcast for the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. This new beginning intersects with another new beginning: the Religion and Ecology unit of the American Academy of Religion has two new co-chairs, Joseph Wiebe, PhD, and Kimberly Carfore, PhD. In this episode, they both reflect on the past, present, and future of the academic field and activist force of religion and ecology. We talk about the success of previous chairs and others who have contributed to the field, , especially the recent leadership of Rev. Dr. Christopher Carter. We also discuss some ways that the field of religion and ecology is opening to decolonial perspectives. You can learn more about Joseph Wiebe's work here:… More information about Kimberly Carfore is available here:…

Spotlights ~ Ep. 3.2 André Daughtry, Sketches for WILDERNESS

This episode of Spotlights features André Daughtry, an award-winning speculative social documentarian who explores contemporary expressions of the spiritual, mystical, and theological in the contexts of pluralistic democracies. He talks about his latest project, WILDERNESS, a speculative documentary photography, film and performance project that engages an integral ecological approach to sustainability and spirituality, specifically in relationship to Indigenous populations and their respective cosmologies and traditions. Captured in the Cauca region of southern Colombia, WILDERNESS attempts to share experiences that can bring us back to place. Visit this website to learn more about this project and watch a visual travelogue that sets the tone, “Sketches for WILDERNESS”:… You can also learn more about André's work here:

Spotlights ~ Ep. 3.2 Andreas Karelas, Solar Energy, and the Inflation Reduction Act
This episode of Spotlights features Andreas Karelas, the founder and executive director of RE-volv, a nonprofit organization that empowers people around the country to help nonprofits in their communities go solar and raise awareness about the benefits of clean energy. He is also the author of Climate Courage: How Tackling Climate Change Can Build Community, Transform the Economy, and Bridge the Political Divide in America. Andreas talks about new developments in renewable energy, particularly in light of the Inflation Reduction Act in the USA. Signed into law in August 2022, the IRA includes almost $400 billion in spending on energy and climate change. Along with the IRA, Andreas discusses some new projects he is working on, including a partnership with Green The Church and Interfaith Power & Light, aimed at accelerating the deployment of solar energy in underserved communities by assisting BIPOC houses of worship around the country go solar. You can learn more about Re-volv here: More information about Climate Courage is available here: Go here for more information about the Solar for BIPOC initiative:

Spotlights ~ 3.4, The Cosmic Common Good, with Daniel Scheid, PhD
This week's episode of Spotlights features Daniel Scheid, PhD, the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of Theology at Duquesne University. We talk about his work with comparative theology and ecological ethics, including questions of interreligious dialogue, the cosmological context of religion and ecology, and the enduring value of Catholic Social Teaching. We also talk about his book where many of these questions are raised, The Cosmic Common Good: Religious Grounds for Ecological Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016). You can learn more about his book on the publisher's website:… More information about his work can be found here:…

Spotlights ~ 3.5, Bruno Latour: In Memoriam
This episode of Spotlights pays tribute to the French philosopher and social theorist, Bruno Latour (1947-2022). His work has been widely influence for science and technology studies, philosophy, and ecological thought. Religion also figures into his work, although it is not as well known as his writings on science and ecology. Several good overviews of his life and thought have been published since his passing. Here is one from The Guardian:…

Spotlights ~ 3.6, A Meeting with the Forum Team
This week's episode of Spotlights features a short behind-the-scenes look at a team meeting for the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology, with some brief remarks about the Forum from Tara Trapani, Elizabeth McAnally, Sam King, Anna Thurston, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim, including a final comment from our host, Sam Mickey. We hope you enjoy this little glimpse into our team meeting and get a better understanding of the way the Forum functions as a watershed for so many activities, projects, and resources that make up the field and force of religion and ecology.

Spotlights ~ 3.7, Eco-Anxiety
This episode of Spotlights features our host, Sam Mickey, discussing eco-anxiety, which is generally defined as a chronic worry, distress, or fear concerning ecological devastation. Struggles with eco-anxiety have increased in recent years, and they have been exacerbated by the conditions of the coronavirus pandemic. Sam reflects on two recently published anthologies that he edited with Douglas A. Vakoch, Eco-Anxiety and Pandemic Distress: Psychological Perspectives on Resilience and Interconnectedness (Oxford University Press, 2022), and Eco-Anxiety and Planetary Hope: Experiencing the Twin Disasters of COVID-19 and Climate Change (Springer, 2022). You can find more resources for understanding eco-anxiety at the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology website:…

Spotlights ~ 3.8, Radical Animism with Rowan Deer
This episode of Spotlights features Rowan Deer, PhD, author of Radical Animism: Reading for the End of the World (Bloomsbury, 2020), which brings together literary, philosophical, and scientific perspectives to rethink animism for the Anthropocene. She discusses the way her book juxtaposes authors like Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll, and William Shakespeare with the Copernican Revolution, Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, and Sigmund Freud's theory of the unconscious. She also discusses the the role of deconstruction in her writing, correcting some common misunderstandings of deconstruction and Jacques Derrida. More information about her book is available on the publisher's website:… Some other pieces of interest include her article on fungi and language, “Mycorrhizal Metaphors,” available open access at Ecozona here: Another relevant essay is “Reading in the Dark,” published by Orion Magazine:…

Spotlights ~ 3.9, Religion and Ecology at the American Academy of Religion
This episode of Spotlights features Kimberly Carfore, PhD, co-chair of the Religion and Ecology unit of the American Academy of Religion (AAR). The annual meeting of the AAR happened at the end of November. Dr. Carfore talks about the various panels hosted by the Religion and Ecology unit this year, including a panel on Dr. Christopher Carter’s book The Spirit of Soul Food, which was featured on this podcast earlier in the year.…

Dr. Carfore also gives a preview of what the Religion and Ecology unit is putting together for the 2023 meeting of the AAR. Overall, they are continuing their efforts toward a more decolonial, international, and multicultural approach to studying the intersection of religion and ecology.

Spotlights ~ 3.10, Contemplative Posthuman Design, a Conversation with Sam Mickey & Kimberly Carfore
This episode of Spotlights features Sam Mickey and Kimberly Carfore in conversation with a topic Sam has been researching recently: contemplative posthuman design, which is a way of bringing design thinking into dialogue with contemplative studies and the ecological sensibilities of posthumanism. It is a design approach that works with contemplative practices to envision ways of harmoniously integrating humans with the more-than-human world. Sam draws connections between these ideas and the work of the contemporary German philosopher, Peter Sloterdijk.

Spotlights ~ 3.11, God and Gaia with Michael Northcott
This episode of Spotlights features Michael S. Northcott, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Ethics at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. He talks about his new book, God and Gaia: Science, Religion and Ethics on a Living Planet (Routledge, 2023), which explores the overlap between traditional religious cosmologies and the scientific Gaia theory of James Lovelock. The book engages with traditional cosmologies from the Indian Vedas and classical Greece to Medieval Christianity, including case material from Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, and Great Britain. He discusses how it is possible to repair the destabilizing impacts of contemporary human activities on the Earth community, particularly by drawing on sacred traditions and honoring the differential agency of humans and nonhumans. More information about the book can be found on the publisher's website:

Spotlights ~ 3.12, Psychedelics and Climate Activism, with Amber X Chen
This episode of Spotlights features Amber X. Chen, a freelance journalist from Southern California whose work focuses on environmental justice. She contributed to several publications, including the climate and culture magainze Atmos, where she recently wrote a piece about the relationship between psychedelics, climate change, and environmental justice, “Tripping for the Planet: Psychedelics and Climate Change.” She discusses the problems and promises that psychedelics hold for the climate action toolkit, noting the particular importance of prioritizing the Indigenous communities for whom sacred plant medicines are part of their culture. You can read the full story here:

Spotlights ~ 3.13, Larry Rasmussen and The Planet You Inherit
This episode of Spotlights features Larry Rasmussen, PhD, Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics, emeritus, at Union Theological Seminary.  He discusses his new book, The Planet You Inherit: Letters to My Grandchildren When Uncertainty's a Sure Thing. The book is composed of a series of letters that he wrote for his grandchildren. The letters talk about the uncertain future that his grandchildren will live through, including the myriad challenges facing the Earth community during the Anthropocene, not least of which is the ongoing task of understanding the place of human beings in the universe. You can find more information about the book on the publisher's website:

Spotlights ~ 3.14, Process Studies and Imagination, with Matthew Segall
This episode of Spotlights features Matthew Segall, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness program at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Matt discusses a recent conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Center for Process Studies, which is a research center at the Claremont School of Theology at Claremont University, focusing particularly on the relevance of Alfred North Whitehead's process-relational philosophy. Whitehead has been a profound influence on environmental ethics and eco-theology for several decades. Matt also discusses his forthcoming book, Crossing the Threshold: Etheric Imagination in the Post-Kantian Process Philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead. He highlights the role of imagination in bringing science, spirituality, and philosophy into harmony with one another and with our planetary and cosmic context. Recordings of the conference livestream are available through the following links: Day 1 on Reimagining Religion:… Day 2 on Science and Philosophy:… Day 3 on Practical Applications:    • The 50th Annivers…  

Spotlights ~ 3.15, Mallory McDuff and Women for Climate Justice
This episode of Spotlights features Mallory McDuff. She is an author, educator, and mother, teaching environmental education at Warren Wilson College outside Asheville, North Carolina. Her writing stems from ordinary life–raising children and teaching students–amidst the enormity of our uncertain times, especially our changing climate. She talks about her new book, Love Your Mother: 50 States, 50 Stories, and 50 Women United for Climate Justice (Broadleaf Books, 2023). The book tells stories about women of diverse ages, backgrounds, and vocations–one from each of the fifty US states–as inspiration for a new kind of leadership focused on the heart of the climate crisis. More information about the book is available on the publisher's website:… More information about the author can be found on her website:…

Spotlights ~ 3.16, The Book of Nature, with Barbara Mahany
This episode of Spotlights features Barbara Mahany, a freelance journalist, essayist, collector of stories, and author of five books. She discusses her latest book, The Book of Nature: The Astonishing Beauty of God’s First Sacred Text (Broadleaf Books, 2023). We talk about the myriad ways of reading the natural world and discovering its sacredness through practices of attention, including perspectives from religions, poetry, nature writing, and sciences. More information can be found on the publisher's website:…

Spotlights ~ 3.17, Interfaith Environmentalism with Gopal Patel
This episode of Spotlights features Gopal D. Patel, a faith-based environmental activist, campaigner, and consultant. He is co-Founder and Director of Bhumi Global, an international Hindu faith-inspired NGO that works to promote environmental care. He is also a senior advisor for the Center for Earth Ethics, co-chair of the United Nations Multi-faith Advisory Council, and an Advisor to the World Wildlife Fund Beliefs and Values Programme. We discuss his personal experience of Hinduism, his background with multi-faith dialogue, and the challenges and opportunities facing religious environmentalism around the world, including some ways that religious environmentalism can facilitate constructive responses to climate grief and eco-anxiety.

Spotlights, 3.19, Reflections on Metamodernism
This week’s episode of Spotlights focuses on metamodernism—an emerging cultural movement that recovers sincerity and big picture thinking following the postmodern focus on irony and skepticism. Our host Sam Mickey provides some context for thinking about metamodernism, especially as it relates to postmodernism. He notes how postmodern theory already includes metamodern ideas in several ways, both in constructive postmodernism (e.g., Alfred North Whitehead) and deconstructive postmodernism (e.g., Jacques Derrida). While there is much to praise about metamodernism, it is important not to perpetuate confused misreadings of postmodernism. Furthermore, it is important to continue attending to the postcolonial and postindustrial conditions that postmodern theory addresses.

Spotlights, 3.20, Beatrice Marovich
This episode of Spotlights features writer and scholar Beatrice Marovich, PhD, associate professor of theological studies at Hanover college. We talk a little about her path into theology through engagements with literature and journalism. Then we discuss her new book, Sister Death: Political Theologies for Living and Dying (Columbia University Press, 2023), diving into theological, philosophical, political, cultural, and ecological implications of the way we think, feel, and act about death and its relationship to life. The figure of Sister Death comes from St. Francis of Assisi, and the book engages with and beyond that image of death as a relative, challenging assumptions about death as the enemy of life and opening up new ways of cultivating accepting and meaningful relations with death. You can find more information about the book on the publisher’s website:… You can find more information about her work on her personal website:

Spotlights, 3.21, Ecological Existentialism with Sam Mickey
This episode of Spotlights features our host, Sam Mickey, discussing ecological existentialism, particularly in light of his book on the topic, Coexistentialism and the Unbearable Intimacy of Ecological Emergency (Lexington Books, 2016). Ecological existentialism (also called coexistentialism) extends insights from existential philosophy about meaning-making amid the paradoxes, absurdities, and uncertainties of mortal existence, applying those insights to living and dying in a time of mass extinction. Coexistentialism finds productive alliances and tensions amidst many areas of inquiry, including environmental humanities, eco-spirituality, object-oriented ontology, feminism, phenomenology, deconstruction, new materialism, and more. More information can be found on the publisher's website:…

Spotlights, 3.22, Extractivism and Petro-theology, with Terra Schwerin Rowe

This episode of Spotlights features Terra Schwerin Rowe, PhD, Associate Professor in the Philosophy and Religion Department at the University of North Texas. We discuss her most recent book, Of Modern Extraction: Experiments in Critical Petro-theology (Bloomsbury, 2022), where she draws on energy humanities in an intersectional-feminist analysis of extractivism, exploring material and discursive intersections of oil, religion, white supremacy, colonialism, and capitalism. A key take-away is that US citizens have not only made economic, technological, and infrastructural investments in oil, they've also made theological investments in oil that still inform 21st-century high energy culture. Consequently, in the pursuit of alternative energy imaginaries and more just energy cultures, these spiritual-theological investments will also need critical analysis and creative re-interpretation. More information about the book is available on the publisher's website:…

Spotlights, 3.23, Sigurd Bergmann and Transdisciplinary Eco-Theology

This episode of Spotlights features Sigurd Bergmann, PhD, Sigurd Bergman, professor emeritus in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and founding contributor to the European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment. He discusses his transdisciplinary approach to eco-theology and the study of religion and ecology, taking a global perspective and crossing disciplinary fields of art, architecture, ethics, religion, and the environment. He also discusses some of his many books, including Weather, Religion and Climate Change (2021), Religion, Materialism and Ecology (2023, edited with Kate Rigby and Peter Manley Scott), and Sweden’s Pandemic Experiment (2023, edited with Martin Lindström), which is available to download free (open access) from the publisher's website:…

Spotlights, 3.24, Freya Mathews and the Dao of Civilization

This episode of Spotlights features Freya Mathews, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Philosophy at Latrobe University, and author of several books, including The Ecological Self (1991, reissued with new intro in 2021), For Love of Matter: A Contemporary Panpsychism (2003), Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture (2005), and her new book, The Dao of Civilization: a Letter to China (2023). We discuss her personal and professional path toward metaphysics, conservation ethics, and ecological civilization, with special attention to the unique role that Indigenous and Daoist principles can play in contemporary global society. This episode begins with a few verses from a poem, “Let the Mountain be your Temple,” by Freya Matthews. The full poem can be found here: More information about The Dao of Civilization can be found on the publisher's website:…

Spotlights, 3.25, Reviewing Karen Armstrong's Sacred Nature

In this episode of Spotlights, Sam Mickey reviews the newest book by the renowned scholar of comparative religion, Karen Armstrong, Sacred Nature: Restoring Our Ancient Bond with the Natural World (2022). It's an accessible and inspiring exploration of some of the ways that religious myths, practices, and disciplines can facilitate aesthetic and ethical appreciation of the natural world. The book also has some limitations, which compel further reflection on some of the main issues addressed by the field and force of religion and ecology. This is the final episode of the third season of the podcast. We'll be back with more episodes in a few weeks. More information about Sacred Nature is available on the publisher's website:…