The Forum’s 25th Anniversary & Release of the Collected Thoughts of Thomas Berry!

Tara C. Trapani

Today, October 20, 2023, is the 25th Anniversary of the founding of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology!

25 years ago today, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim convened the first of two culminating conferences in NYC to cap off the two years of the Harvard Religions of the World and Ecology conference series. This 2-day event was titled “Religion and Ecology: Discovering the Common Ground.” The event on October 20 was held at the United Nations, and included a press conference at which the formation of the Forum was announced. Speaking at the conferences were such notables as Tim Wirth, Tu Weiming, Sallie McFague, and Oren Lyons. And the second day, held at the American Museum of Natural History, included a round table moderated by Bill Moyers and a speech by Wangari Maathai. You can read about these events on our site here and view select video of the events here

We couldn't be more thrilled to be sharing this milestone with you. And to celebrate, we've decided to kick off a year of celebration, in which we'll be releasing to the public some rare Thomas Berry content. These video and audio recordings have been experienced by few over the years, and to honor and recognize Thomas' tremendous inspiration on the founding of the Forum and our ongoing work, we are now making them widely available in digital format. 

The first piece that we'll be sharing with you is a collection of Thomas's reflections on audio, in conversation with Brian Thomas Swimme, titled “The Collected Thoughts of Thomas Berry.” We'll be releasing one section a month, beginning today. You can now listen to Mary Evelyn Tucker's Introduction to the project and Part 1: Where Are We and How Did We Get Here? with an introduction by John Grim. 

You can access these recordings and future “Collected Thoughts” releases here:

Thomas Berry Website

Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology YouTube Channel

From the Collected Thoughts Introduction:
In 1998, the same year the Forum was created, Thomas Berry recorded a series of perceptive reflections on our environmental challenges. They reveal his understanding, 25 years ago, of many of the pressing issues we are now facing. Berry was in conversation with Brian Thomas Swimme, and evolutionary cosmologist, and the audio tapes were produced by Bruce and Pamela Bochte. We are delighted to release them for the first time in digital form to celebrate Thomas’s inspiration for the work of the Forum on Religion and Ecology.

The 1998 recordings include these notes: “Thomas Berry’s life has spanned the 20th Century. In his earlier years he witnessed the intrusion of industrial society into the hill country of the Southern Appalachians. Later as a scholar and historian he became increasingly concerned over the disruption of the basic life systems of this continent and of the Earth itself. In his view the devastation resulting from our industrial way of life is so severe that we must now reshape the human venture in a more benign mode of presence to the natural world, if either the planet or ourselves are to survive into the 21st century in any acceptable manner. Such is the Great Work assigned to us in these years of transition into the 21st century. Already this new period begins to dawn over the horizon. These thoughts that he presents here should be of benefit to everyone, for we are all responsible for the world that we will be giving over to our children.”