This section of films on Christianity and Ecology is divided into Greek Orthodoxy under the leadership of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Roman Catholicism with the leadership of Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si,’ and a final section of general videos on Christianity and Ecology, including ones from noted ecotheologians. In addition to this sampling, you can also view a YouTube playlist of Christianity and Ecology videos here.
The following videos of the Religion, Science, and Environment (RSE) Symposia were produced by Becket Films. For an overview of the work of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, we encourage you to read this essay by the theologian John Chryssavgis: “The Green Patriarch: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew as a Pioneer of Ecological Change.”
THE GREEN PATRIARCH
As we humans drive our fragile planet toward ecocide, what force can stop us, change our behavior? Can religion, espousing an environmental ethic, change how we act? The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the first major Christian leader to make the environment a moral imperative, is a man on a spiritual mission to save our earth, save God’s creation. This intimate portrait of the 270th successor to the Apostle Andrew follows him from the Patriarchate in Istanbul to the burning rainforests of the Amazon to the melting glaciers of the Arctic where he gathered representatives of the world’s religions in a silent prayer for the planet. Bartholomew has been dubbed “The Green Patriarch” for his defense of the environment and the stewardship of all God’s Creation.
THE AEGEAN: APOCALYPSE, REVELATION AND ENVIRONMENT (1995)
“We are assembled on a kind of latter day Ark which in itself is a symbol which would have delighted St. John. We shall be voyaging to Patmos on the sea of possibility from which life emerged.” – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
This film follows the first ever ship borne symposium that traveled the Aegean Sea, culminating on the island of Patmos where St. John wrote the Book of Revelation 1900 years ago. It was on this island that St. John urged Humankind to “not hurt the Earth, neither the Seas.” With his words in mind, the voyage brings more than 200 scientists, religious leaders from many faiths, environmentalists, policy makers and artists together to identify the degeneration of the world’s waters as a new apocalypse confronting the planet. The event is an important step to finding common ground among religious and scientific leaders who share similar concerns about the environment–but whose historical antagonism has often blocked collaboration.
“The work which lies ahead for all those who love life is to translate this world community, which exists as an object under threat more and more, into a subject of promise and hope.” – His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
THE ADRIATIC: A SEA AT RISK (2002)
The need for a universal ecological consciousness is now essential to the planet’s survival. With this in mind the Religion, Science and the Environment symposium that sailed the Adriatic Sea focused on how humanity can be inspired towards an ecological ethos. The six countries of the Adriatic range from one of the wealthiest to some of the poorest in Europe, their problems ranging from those of an advanced industrial economy to those in transition and recovery from recent wars. The voyage included visits to toxic hotspots and successful projects protecting the environment. Most memorable was the first Orthodox service held in the Byzantine Basilica of Sant Apollinare in Classe, (Ravenna) and our ships entry into Venice at dawn. The symposium concluded in Venice where the Patriarch and Pope John Paul II came together to sign the Venice Declaration, in which they laid the foundation for developing a joint environmental ethos. “Sailing along the Adriatic coast, it is precisely in an area like this that the question is inevitably raised in our minds - why and how has humankind reached such a deplorable situation? How is it possible that the same human being can create such an admirable culture and destroy their natural environment at the same time?” Metropolitan John of Pergamon
THE BALTIC: A SEA IN PERIL (2003)
Because it is almost entirely enclosed, the Baltic Sea is the world’s most fragile and most polluted of the planet’s bodies of water. It receives pollution from nine countries that have widely disparate natural resources, economies, social structures and mores. Some states are active in protecting the environment, but others are not.
With these geographical circumstances, the Baltic suffers from pollution, utrification, invasive species, oil spills, and dumped World War II chemical weapons. As a result, it has more than 800 toxic hot spots. In this film theologians, scientists, policy makers, environmentalists and journalists generate practical initiatives to protect the Baltic. It illustrates the ecological damage in the Baltic as well as the considerable efforts underway to heal it. In addition, it explores the participants’ continuing quest for a wisdom-based environmental ethos for the world.
The Amazon forest—The Green Ocean—is not only the source of the highest biodiversity of life on Earth, but it also acts as a massive hydrological pump that is essential to maintaining climate stability for the whole planet. In effect, the health of the river and the rainforest is fundamental to our survival. But in the last thirty years vast tracts of the Amazon forest have been decimated. To date an area larger than France has been destroyed, and though industry has been good for the Brazilian economy, the cost has been unprecedented drought in Amazonia, increased–and more intense–hurricane activity in North America, and the imminent demise of the Bolivian glaciers.
In Amazon: The End of Infinity, representatives of the indigenous people of Amazonia, Western religious leaders, scientists, environmentalists and policy makers come together to examine the ecological reality in the Amazon basin, the global impact of deforestation and, importantly, to propose sustainable solutions to preserving the forest for the future. The film examines the historical split between religion and science in regards to the environment; the ecological lessons to be learned from the indigenous people of Amazonia; the interdependence of ecosystems and sustainable livelihoods for all those who live in the region; and how compensation for ecological services must be factored into economic equations regarding the ecosystems on which we all depend.
While the inhabitants of the Arctic have done nothing to contribute to the global ecological crisis, they are first in line to suffer the consequences. Greenland is the canary in the coal mine of immense environmental change in the world. The most obvious crisis is the rapid melting of the ice cap which portends the demise of numerous Arctic species and has made life dangerous for the local Inuit. In addition, global winds and sea currents have brought massive amounts of toxic pollution from other countries, causing disease and birth anomalies in both humans and animals who inhabit the area.
This film follows the coming together amidst the icebergs of top experts on the Arctic, politicians, environmental scientists and religious leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hebrew, Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sikh traditions—along with Saami and Inuit leaders—as they draw attention to the environmental changes in Greenland that are already affecting the rest of the planet. At the same time, they talk about what can be done to turn things around. The Nuclear Power Issue: The symposium featured a debate on nuclear power with both experts and survivors of Hiroshima and Chernobyl. With Hans Blix and Mary Evelyn Tucker.
In this film scientists, religious leaders, environmental activists, politicians, and the media focus on ecological questions facing the world’s third largest water system. Should coastal areas be abandoned or defended? Is global capitalism compatible with a habitable planet? What lessons were learned from Hurricane Katrina? And is there a way that religion can help save the planet? Though the Mississippi River plays a key role in the American economy, the forces of human progress and the forces of Nature have always been in conflict. Humankind’s goal is for economic growth and prosperity, and for this we have shackled the river with dams to produce electricity and irrigation, built levees to protect from flooding as well as straighten channels to facilitate navigation. With each new imposition on the river for our benefit, however, Nature has fought back and we’ve paid the price later: Now we are dealing with wetland loss, hurricane damage, ecosystem collapse, flooding, pollution, dead zones in the Gulf, toxic spills, and human ill-health. How can we sustain the Mississippi and those who depend upon it? This film offers invaluable clues.
Watch videos related to Pope Francis and his encyclical Laudato Si’ here.
Laudato Si’ and the U.S. Catholic Church: A Conference Series on Our Common Home
July 21, 2021
Creation Justice Ministries
June 16, 2021
The Line 3 Expansion is a massive tar sands oil pipeline under construction through the heart of Northern Minnesota. If completed, it would cross more than 200 bodies of water, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River. It would also pass near the border of multiple Native nations and across hundreds of miles of treaty-protected land. In this webinar, learn more about Line 3 and what faith communities can do to stop it. Featured speakers will include the Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs from the Minnesota Council of Churches, Nina Berguland from Youth Council and Indigenous Council for Earth Guardians, and Julia Nerbonne from Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light. The webinar is co-hosted by the Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt of the United Church of Christ Environmental Justice Ministry and the Rev. Michael Malcom of Alabama Interfaith Power & Light and the People’s Justice Council.
Miguel A. De La Torre Interview on “Gonna Trouble the Water: Ecojustice, Water, and Environmental Racism”
June 6, 2021
Meet Miguel A. De La Torre, author of Gonna Trouble the Water | Ecojustice, Water, and Environmental Racism. Gonna Trouble the Water considers the sacred nature of water and the ways in which it is weaponized against non-white communities. Firmly grounded at the intersection of environmentalism and racism, Gonna Trouble the Water makes clear the message: to deny water is to deny life.
Bringing Ecojustice Education to Your Congregation and Moving Your Church to Action
May 21, 2021
The webinar, “Bringing Ecojustice Education to Your Congregation and Moving Your Church to Action,” provides church leaders and laypeople with tools for engaging their congregations in tough conversations around eco-justice and other contemporary social issues, with the ultimate goal of equipping church members to work for biblical justice.
Preparing Your Congregation for Climate Disasters
Creation Justice Ministries
May 13, 2021
The question around disasters is not if a disaster will happen here but when—especially as we see climate change increasing the severity and frequency of severe weather events. When disasters occur, congregations can offer vital care and resources for their members and wider communities. Advance preparation and planning can position churches to respond well. As we enter another season of climate-driven disasters, it is time to step back and ask: How can our congregations be hubs of climate resilience, helping our communities weather the spiritual and physical storms of the climate crisis? In this workshop, participants will learn about the domestic and global context of climate disasters, get connected with resources for disaster response and recovery, and engage in conversations and activities for developing context-specific disaster preparedness and response plans.
Social + Environmental Justice Through Local Action: Imani Village: Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
May 7, 2021
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, tells a story of how his congregation is working towards climate justice as a faith community.
Environmental Justice 101
Unitarian Universalist Congregation Atlanta & Georgia Interfaith Power and Light
April 27, 2021
Georgia Interfaith Power and Light presented a three-part series starting in April 2021. Environmental Justice (EJ) is the idea that all people and communities have the right to equal environmental protection under the law, and the right to live and work in communities that are safe and healthy. The sessions will provide an introduction to EJ as well as address Georgia-specific EJ issues. This first session, Environmental Justice 101, was facilitated by Hannah Shultz, GIPL’s Program Associate.
The Role of the Church in Environmental Justice
Creation Justice Ministries
April 24, 2021
In the midst of intersecting crises of climate change, race, and the pandemic, how can the church do more than ‘rearrange furniture on the Titanic.’ The work to be done is huge, and the will to do it is equally demanding. We know being paralyzed into inaction is not an option, and for people of faith, we have not only a unique, but a compelling moral obligation to care deeply about this creation and its inhabitants. So what can we and our congregations do to be allies, activists and actors who are open to solutions and living into this call? How can our churches be arks of resilience, supporting communities through the spiritual and physical storms of the climate crisis? Through this workshop, Creation Justice Ministries and the Climate Witness Project, a campaign of World Renew and the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice, explored these questions and shared how we partner with congregations and individuals to achieve climate justice through four theme areas of: education, advocacy, prayer and resilience. This workshop highlighted specific case studies of churches moving to take significant action and what motivated them to get involved. In all of these stories we’ve paid special attention to equip these faith communities with the resources they need to respond in meaningful ways and to build hope in the fight for justice in the face of intersecting crises. We want you to be part of these stories.
Laudato Si’ Dialogue: Plight of Environmental Defenders Around the World
Global Catholic Climate Movement
March 13, 2021
A dialogue about the Plight of Environmental Defenders around the world with Fr. Xavier Jeyaraj SJ + Melvin Purzuelo.
A Laudato Si’ Focus on Environmental Justice, Part 2
Catholic Climate Covenant
March 2, 2021
The second part of the series included presenters also providing first-hand stories of their communities addressing environmental injustice, and which focused on how U.S. Catholics can accompany them.
The Faithful Work of Environmental Justice
Ecojustice Program of the North Carolina Council of Churches/North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light
March 1, 2021
NC Council of Churches Eco-Justice Connection and NCIPL campaign host a conversation on the work of environmental justice with community leaders Sherri White-Williamson, Environmental Justice Community Action Network and the North Carolina Conservation Network and the Rev. Michael Malcom, People’s Justice Council and Alabama Interfaith Power & Light. We discussed the importance and legacy of the environmental justice movement in North Carolina, the realities of environmental racism, opportunities to work toward environmental justice in this political moment, and the faithful work of justice that we are being called to. This conversation is vital to our calling as people of faith and conscience.
Environmental Justice Project’s Work
Environmental Justice Project of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Stockton
February 25, 2021
As program coordinator of the Environmental Justice Project of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Stockton, Jonathan Pruitt discusses the project’s work to bring environmental justice to the Northern Central Valley of California. He presents a history of the environmental injustices perpetrated in Stockton, as well as an overview of the Project’s legislative/policy wins, achieved over the years through local Catholic organizing for climate equity.
A Laudato Si’ Focus on Environmental Justice, Part 1
Catholic Climate Covenant
January 21, 2021
In this first part of the series, Dr. Catherine Wright unpacks the meaning of environmental justice and how Catholic Social Teaching (in particular Laudato Si’) gives us a helpful lens to view and act on this important issue. Veronica Coptis presents on her organization’s respectful collaboration with area residents living with the daily impacts of fossil fuel extraction, to improve oversight of and accountability for fossil fuel extraction and use, and protect public and environmental health
Ecojustice for All/Temple of Understanding
September 11, 2020
Earthkeepers: A Circlewood Podcast on Creation Care and Spirituality
August 23, 2020
When her faith is challenged by a hurricane, a young evangelical mom must find a new way forward. This film presents her journey with the aim of bringing Christians together to protect God’s creation.
Reconciling with the Land: Christi Renaud and Plant with Purpose
Earthkeepers: A Circlewood Podcast on Creation Care and Spirituality
June 29, 2020
In this episode we talk with Christi Renaud, Director of Marketing and Development for an organization called Plant with Purpose. Plant with Purpose works with impoverished communities around the world, helping people to build strong local economies by encouraging good agriculture and financial management practices. What sets Plant with Purpose apart from many other international development agencies though is their emphasis on ecology and environmental health. In essence, they help farmers to become better earthkeepers. Importantly though, Plant with Purpose doesn’t teach earthkeeping in a way that dismisses or dishonors what farmers already know. Instead, they work alongside them, offering ideas and resources, but also asking questions that respect local knowledge. Join us as we discuss the importance of local knowledge in community development, the connections between environmental justice and social justice, and creation care’s rootedness in yearning for God.
Doing Justice: The Role of Faith in Building Climate Equity
June 26, 2020
This webcast features a conversation with Rev. Michael Malcom, MDiv MBA, Founder & Executive Director, The People’s Justice Council and Lindsay Harper, National Core Support Team Coordinator, Arm in Arm. People of faith are called to do justice in the world. It is our moral responsibility to care for our neighbors and all of Creation. We must listen to and amplify the voices of those impacted by the systemic inequities that directly impacts some while indirectly impacting us all. Join in this call to action and how to engage your congregation and others in building climate equity for all.
Our Faith, Our Vote Issue Education Series: Environmental Justice/Climate
United Church of Christ
May 22, 2020
This is the first video in the UCC’s Our Faith Our Vote Issue Education Series. In this episode, we talk with a panel of faith leaders about the issues of Environmental Justice and Climate and how they relate to the upcoming elections. We are grateful to have the voices of Shantha Ready Alanso, Executive Director of Creation Justice Ministries, Rev. Michael Malcom, Executive Director of Alabama Interfaith Power and Light, Rev. Brooks Berndt, Environmental Justice Minister for the United Church of Christ, and Madison Mayhew, Justice and Peace Policy Fellow for the UCC DC Office.
Educating for Earth Justice: Matt Ryan and the Talking Farm
Earthkeepers: A Circlewood Podcast on Creation Care and Spirituality
May 18, 2020
In this episode we talk to Matt Ryan, an urban farmer in Chicago who makes it his mission to educate the community about the social and environmental justice dynamics of growing food. The conversation includes crucial topics such as the intimacy of a farmer’s relationship to the land; the sustainability of small-scale farming; urban and backyard farming; the global food supply chain; and winter gardening.
Urban Community: Tahmina Martelly and World Relief, from Earthkeepers
A Circlewood Podcast on Creation Care and Spirituality
March 24, 2020
In this episode Tahmina Martelly of World Relief explains the connections between social and environmental justice, and how they play out in her work with immigrants and refugees. As a community developer, she prioritizes the voices of the poor and marginalized, and collaborates with them to create solutions to food deserts, the absence of greenspaces, and the challenges of being landless. The community garden that they have built together has become a center for multicultural community, where people celebrate ethnic, cultural, economic, and religious diversity. Tahmina also addresses resistance among some religious folks to matters of global warming and climate change, and challenges us to think about the sort of grace it takes to model a different approach to creation care.
Urban Oil Drilling and the Intersection Between Faith and Environmental Activism
Ecojustice Radio Podcast
November 20, 2019
On Episode 45 of EcoJustice Radio our guest Reverend Oliver Buie, Minister of Community Engagement at the Holman United Methodist Church in South Los Angeles, speaks with Jessica Aldridge on the important relationship between faith and environmentalism. As a member of the Steering Committee of Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling (STAND-LA), he speaks to the environmental justice movement to institute a 2,500-foot health and safety buffer between oil drilling and where people live, in particular motivated by the Murphy Oil Drilling site near his South Los Angeles church.
Heather Eaton: “Christianity and Ecology”
Heather Eaton discusses Christianity and Ecology with Mary Evelyn Tucker. “Christianity and Ecology” is part of the larger “Conversations on World Religions and Ecology” project. Watch the whole “Conversations on World Religions and Ecology” series on the Forum on Religion and Ecology YouTube Channel.
“The Abrahamic Response to Journey of the Universe”
Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Heather Eaton, and Safei Eldin Hamed
Journey of the Universe and Our Elegant Universe Symposium
Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Dr. Heather Eaton, and Dr. Safei Eldin Hamed offer responses from Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions to Journey of the Universe. Rabbi Troster, a late Jewish environmental activist, draws from the Books of Genesis and Isaiah to suggest that the science of the universe story is offering people a vision of a new heaven and a new Earth. Dr. Heather Eaton, a theologian at Saint Paul University, highlights the need for Christians to retrieve its focus on creation, to reinterpret justice as ecojustice, and to reconstruct theologies of incarnation to encompass the entire Earth community. Dr. Safei Eldin Hamed, a scholar of environmental planning at Chatham University, interprets the Quran to suggest that there is equality between all creatures and that Islam can offer a holistic and functional cosmology for our contemporary world.
Sallie McFague: “A New Climate for Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming”
Renewing Hope Conference
Yale Divinity School
February 28, 2013
The late theologian Dr. Sallie McFague speaks to the need for a new anthropology that orients humanity and challenges the Western paradigms of individualism, consumerism, and ecological destruction. For Dr. McFague, the scientific story of the universe can help Christians reconstruct a functional cosmology grounded in creation and a broadened understanding of salvation that encompasses the entire Earth community.
Katharine Hayhoe: “Climate Change: Faith and Fact”
Interview by Bill Moyers
Christian and climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe talks to Bill about ending the gridlock between politics, science and faith.
“We Will Be Part of the Solution”
Au Sable Institute
September 30, 2019
A short introduction to Au Sable Institute and the Biblical mandate to care for God’s good earth.
Watch videos of 2020 Earth Day Sermons here.
Header photo: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in the Antarctic, ©Nikolaos Manginas