December Religion & Ecology Events

Tara C. Trapani

Warmest greetings to all of you as the colder days approach here in the Northern Hemisphere. Here we highlight some of the wonderful events happening this December related to religion and ecology. To see all upcoming offerings, check out our event page.


12/8, 3pm EST
Green Sabbath Project Gathering
“The Time of Progress and the Times of the Planet” with Whitney Bauman
Online. Free and open to all. Register here

During the covid pandemic (now endemic) many people experienced a different sense of time than that of the 24 hour GMT. This is a good starting point for understanding and experiencing non-chronological time (or the time of progress). Many religious traditions and rituals help to focus us on alternative understandings of time: sabbath practices, meditation, yoga, and rituals that involve psychoactive substances, just to name a few. It is also the case that chronological time does not map on to human embodied experiences of the world, nor that of other earth bodies. Might we turn the “slow down” into an opening for experiencing planetary times: the times of seasons, of rivers, of forests and of other animals on the planet? Perhaps such thinking and acting can help us to mitigate the problems caused by the current climate crisis.


12/10, 1pm EST
Yamuna/Anacostia: Rivers and Environmental Justice
Online and in person (
National Museum of Asian Art, 1050 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC, USA)
Free and open to all. In-person attendees register on Eventbrite here. Virtual attendees register on Zoom here.

From the Yamuna River in northern India to the Anacostia River running through Washington, DC, and Maryland, the fate of rivers in urban centers reveals that the consequences of industrialization are often felt most intensely by those already marginalized along racial, religious, caste, and socioeconomic divisions. This program will draw on key themes from the current exhibitions A Splendid Land: Paintings from Royal Udaipur and Unstill Waters: Contemporary Photography from India, creating dialogue with the National Museum of Asian Art’s environs in Washington, DC. Artists and scholars will explore the parallel histories of the Yamuna and Anacostia Rivers, contemporary community-led efforts to address the harm done to the rivers and the communities that rely on them, and the role of image-making as a tool for environmental justice. Speakers include: Ravi Agarwal, artist, environmental campaigner, writer, and curator; Katrina Lashley, Program Coordinator, Anacostia Community Museum; Dr. Anne Rademacher, Professor of Environmental Studies, New York University; Dr. Bishnupriya Ghosh, Professor of English and Global Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.


12/12, 9:30am CET, 3am EST
The Message of the Mountains Conference
Online and in person (Vatican City, Casina Pio IV)
See the full conference schedule. Watch remotely on Zoom (use password 

This conference on mountains is anchored in the words of the Laudato Sì. It is hosted by the Department of Culture and Education of the Holy See together and the Mountain Partnership – the United Nations alliance dedicated to the development of mountain areas – in collaboration with Giovane Montagna, the Italian Alpine Club and Guide Don Bosco 6000 - Peru, as a contribution to the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development 2022 and International Mountain Day. The United Nations General Assembly established International Mountain Day was in 2003. It is celebrated every year on 11 December to underline the importance of mountains to life. This year, the theme of the Day is “Women Move Mountains ” in recognition of the crucial role women play in the preservation of traditions and knowledge, and the conservation of natural resources and biodiversity in all mountain ecosystems of the world. The conference will feature a variety of mountain actors, including mountaineers, scientists, sustainable development experts, tourism operators, volunteers, and sports enthusiasts. It will offer a moment of shared reflection to highlight the invisible thread that spurs everyone to admire the panorama of a summit, which can be reached along the many possible paths that have the principles of sharing, dialogue, solidarity and care. 


12/21, 7pm EST
Paul Winter Consort Winter Solstice Celebration
Online. Free and open to all. View live on the Paul Winter Consort YouTube channel

The 43rd annual Paul Winter Consort Winter Solstice Celebration, in the form of a video retrospective, will be streamed free on Youtube, on the evening of Wednesday, December 21st, at 7pm. Entitled Solstice Saga, this epic three-hour journey interweaves iconic performances from the first four decades of this event at New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The cast of performers includes the Paul Winter Consort; Russia’s Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble; Brazil’s Ivan Lins, Fabiana Cozza and Renato Braz; Ireland’s Nóirín Ní Riain and Uillean Piper Davy Spillane; Procol Harum’s Gary Brooker; griot singer Abdoulaye Diabate of Mali; Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary; and the West African dancing and drumming of the Forces of Nature Dance Theatre. Consort players include singer Theresa Thomason; cellist Eugene Friesen; oboist Paul McCandless; keyboardists Paul Halley, Paul Sullivan and Jeff Holmes; flutist Rhonda Larson; euphonium player Clark Goering; bassist Eliot Wadopian; drummers Jamey Haddad and Ted Moore; percussionists Glen Velez and Café; and Paul Winter on soprano sax.


12/22, 1pm EST
On Respecting Plants: A Conversation with Marc Bekoff

Hosted by the Plant Initiative
Online. Free and open to all. Register here

What does it mean to treat plants with respect? Can we think of plants as well as animals as “minded beings”? What kind of ethical issues are raised by recent scientific research on plant sentience and intelligence? These are some of the questions that we will explore with Dr. Marc Bekoff, a world expert on animal emotions and animal behavior. Dr. Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He has published over 30 books, won many awards for his research on animal behavior, animal emotions, compassionate conservation, and animal protection, has worked closely with Jane Goodall, and is a former Guggenheim Fellow.