The Christian Science Monitor
Nature's Lion Lie Down with Religion's Lamb?
Staff writer of The
Christian Science Monitor
Thursday, October 1, 1998
Copyright 1998 Christian Science Monitor
In 1992, scientists from 70 countries issued a warning: Earth's
environment is in such a grave state it demands the urgent attention of
religious leaders as well as politicians, scientists, and educators. That
call, says Mary Evelyn Tucker - associate professor of religion at
Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. - helped galvanize a three-year
exploration of world faiths and their views on the natural world that will
conclude later this month at the United Nations.
Past UN environment conferences revealed the need for a shared ethic,
and an Earth Charter is being drafted. The series of conferences
coordinated by Dr. Tucker and her husband, John Grim, seeks common ground
among faiths and other disciplines for altering our worldviews and
lifestyles. An academic discipline is being developed combining religion
The environmental crisis "is also a moral and spiritual
crisis," Tucker says, and with this effort, "we are creating new
modes of being religious in the contemporary world."
Since May 1996, conferences have been held on ecology and Judaism,
Christianity, Islam, indigenous traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism,
Confucianism, Shintoism, and Jainism.
The recent interdisciplinary gathering at the American Academy of Arts
and Sciences here explored the relation of religious values to
environmental education, science, economics, and public policy. On Oct. 20
and 21, culminating sessions about faiths and the environment will be held
at the UN and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The aim
is to spur new alliances for transforming values and practices,
"reinventing industrial society on a sustainable basis."
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