A series published by the Center for the Study of World Religions and distributed by Harvard University Press.
This series is the result of research conducted at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School over a three-year period. The Religions of the World and Ecology conference series, from which these volumes emerge, has involved the direct participation and collaboration of more than 800 scholars, religious leaders, and environmental specialists around the world.
The projected series of ten volumes will examine the ten religious traditions of the world and their ecological implications. The intention of this series is to map the contours of a new field of study in religion which will have implications for other disciplinary studies such as contemporary environmental ethics and public policy.
Ecology and Justice Series
The Ecology and Justice Series published by Orbis Books seeks to integrate an understanding of the Earth as an interconnected life system with concerns for just and sustainable systems that benefit the entire Earth.
Ecology and Religion
By John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Island Press, 2014
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From the Psalms in the Bible to the sacred rivers in Hinduism, the natural world has been integral to the world’s religions. John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker contend that today’s growing environmental challenges make the relationship ever more vital. This book explores the history of religious traditions and the environment, illustrating how religious teachings and practices both promoted and at times subverted sustainability. Subsequent chapters examine the emergence of religious ecology, as views of nature changed in religious traditions and the ecological sciences. Yet the authors argue that religion and ecology are not the province of institutions or disciplines alone. They describe four fundamental aspects of religious life: orienting, grounding, nurturing, and transforming. Readers then see how these phenomena are experienced in a Native American religion, Orthodox Christianity, Confucianism, and Hinduism. Ultimately, Grim and Tucker argue that the engagement of religious communities is necessary if humanity is to sustain itself and the planet. Students of environmental ethics, theology and ecology, world religions, and environmental studies will receive a solid grounding in the burgeoning field of religious ecology.
Religion and Ecological Sustainability in China
Edited by James Miller, Dan Smyer Yu, and Peter van der Veer
New York: Routledge, 2014
This book sheds light on the social imagination of nature and environment in contemporary China. It demonstrates how the urgent debate on how to create an ecologically sustainable future for the world’s most populous country is shaped by its complex engagement with religious traditions, competing visions of modernity and globalization, and by engagement with minority nationalities who live in areas of outstanding natural beauty on China’s physical and social margins. The book develops a comprehensive understanding of contemporary China that goes beyond the tradition/ modernity dichotomy, and illuminates the diversity of narratives and worldviews that inform contemporary Chinese understandings of and engagements with nature and environment.
Background regarding the birth of this volume by Dan Smyer Yu:
This multidisciplinary volume has a "Tucker and Grim character." The story of it began with Chen Xia, a friend of Mary Evelyn and John, and a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In 2009, when Chen Xia was teaching a course at a U.S. study abroad center in Beijing directed by Dan Smyer Yu, she introduced Dan to the works of Mary Evelyn and John and connected Dan with them. Dan soon began to seek funding for a religion and ecology conference in China. Finally in 2011 Dan successfully received funding from the School of Ethnology & Sociology at Minzu University of China and Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Yang Shengmin, the former Dean of the ethnology school at Minzu and Peter van der Veer, Director of the Max Planck Institute, were instrumental in making this international collaborative project possible. Throughout the preparation of the conference and the envisioned volume, Dan, as the principal organizer, sought advice from Mary Evelyn and John. Both of them generously shared their wisdom and experience, and also recommended James Miller of Queen's University as a co-editor of the volume. With their advice and encouragement, the conference organizers and volume editors decided to expand the study of religion and ecology further into other disciplines of social sciences and humanities, especially anthropology, ethnology and sociology. This trans-disciplinary expansion is particularly needed in the context of China as environmental issues are mostly tackled among scholars of natural and social sciences with a clear applied orientation. The conference took place in Beijing in March 2012. The "Tucker and Grim influence" is shown in these aspects of the volume: an urgent sense of ecological crisis worldwide; advocating critical understandings of progress and development; exploring diverse modes of environmental sustainability from different religious traditions including those from smaller scale, indigenous societies; the effort to recover the feelings of affection and bonding with the Earth from "the feeling of alienation" resulting from our exploitative relationship with the natural environment; and advancing the study of religion and ecology as "an inter-religious project."
Eco-Spirit: Religions and Philosophies For the Earth
Edited by Laurel Kearns and Catherine Keller
From the Publisher: We hope--even as we doubt--that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species' self-destructiveness as material beings in a material world is growing, but so is the destructiveness. The practical interventions needed for saving and restoring the earth will require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on a spiritual and religious intensity. This transformation has in part already begun. Traditions of ecological theology and ecologically aware religious practice have been preparing the way for decades. Yet these traditions still remain marginal to society, academy, and church. With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. From new language for imagining the earth as a living ground to current constructions of nature in theology, science, and philosophy; from environmentalism's questioning of postmodern thought to a garden of green doctrines, rituals, and liturgies for contemporary religion, these original essays explore and expand our sense of how to proceed in the face of an ecological crisis that demands new thinking and acting. In the midst of planetary crisis, they activate imagination, humor, ritual, and hope.
Laurel Kearns is Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion and Environmental Studies in the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion of Drew University.
Catherine Keller is Professor of Constructive Theology in the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University. She co-edited with Virginia Burrus the first volume of the Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia, Toward a Theology of Eros: Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline (Fordham).
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Fordham University Press, 2007.
Christianity and Ecological Theology: Resources for Further Research
From the book cover: The aim of this volume is not to repeat what has already been discussed elsewhere. Instead, the aim is to provide resources and a sense of direction for postgraduate research in the field of Christianity and ecological theology. Three such resources are offered here, namely 1) A “guide for further research”, 2) A bibliography with more than 5000 entries of texts with an explicitly focus on Christianity and ecological theology which have been published in Afrikaans, Dutch, English and German, and 3) An index to the entries in the bibliography which provides an overview of the wide range of topics that have been discussed in the literature thus far. The aim of the guide for further research is to offer a brief orientation and a critical review of the literature, to provide a “map” to organize various aspects of the debates, to reflect on the relevance of these debates in the South African context, and more, specifically, to stimulate, facilitate and direct further research in the field of Christianity and ecological theology.
Ernst M. Conradie is an Associate Professor in the Department of Religion and Theology at the University of the Western Cape where he teaches Systematic Theology and Ethics. He is the author of the following recent monographs in the field of ecological theology: Hope for the Earth: Vistas on a new Century (UWC, 2000 / Wipf & Stock 2005), An Ecological Christian Anthropology: At Home on Earth? (Ashgate, 2005), and Waar op dees aarde vind mens God? Op soek na’n aardse spiritualiteit (Lux Verbi.BM, 2006).
A Communion of Subjects: Animals in Religion, Science, and Ethics
Edited by Paul Waldau and Kimberley Patton
The first comparative and interdisciplinary study of humans' conceptualization of animals in world religions.
Cultural historian Thomas Berry eloquently insists that "the world is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects." Using the implications of this statement as a starting point, the contributors to this collection treat animals as subjects and consider how major religious traditions have incorporated them into their belief systems, myths, and rituals. Their findings offer profound insight into humans' relationships with animals and a deeper understanding of the social and ecological web in which we all live.
Leading scholars from a wide range of disciplines and religious traditions, including Marc Bekoff (cognitive ethology), Wendy Doniger (study of myth), Peter Singer (animals and ethics), Jane Goodall (biology), and Thomas Berry (theology), have supplied original material for this volume. They address issues such as sacrifice, animal consciousness, suffering, and stewardship in innovative methodological ways. By grappling with the nature and ideological features of these religious views, the contributors cast religious teachings and practices in a new light. They also reveal how we either intentionally or inadvertently marginalize "others," whether they are human or otherwise, and the ways in which we construct value.
Though it is an ancient concern, the topic of "religion and animals" has yet to be systematically worked out by modern scholars. This groundbreaking collection takes the first steps toward a meaningful analysis.
Paul Waldau is the director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Boston. He is also cochair of the Animals and Religion Consultation at the American Academy of Religion and president of the Religion and Animals Institute. Kimberley Patton is professor in the comparative and historical study of religion at Harvard Divinity School. She is the author of many books, including the forthcoming The Sea Can Wash Away All Evils: Modern Marine Pollution and the Ancient Cathartic Ocean (Columbia).
Columbia University Press, 2006
$60.00/£ 38.50 cloth
640 pages/13 illus., 1 table
When Worlds Converge: What Science and Religion Tell Us about the Story of the Universe and Our Place in It
Edited by Clifford Matthews, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and Philp Hefner
This new book is the result of dialogue between scientists and theologians regarding the story of the universe. These scholars convened at the 1999 Parliament of World Religions Meeting to consider questions regarding the religious implications of science, how science effects our religious interpretations of the universe, and what type of narrative(s) can be found to be both spiritually satisfying and in accordance with scientific findings. For more information regarding this title, contact:
Open Court Publishing Company
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Peterborough, NH 03458
"Invoking the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in the Quest for A Sustainable World"
Worldwatch Paper 164
The Worldwatch Institute has published a paper, written by Gary Gardner entitled, "Invoking the Spirit: Religion and Spirituality in the Quest for a Sustainable World."
Gardner argues that a powerful pro-environmental coalition may be emerging worldwide as religious people and institutions begin to partner with advocates of sustainable development. The past decade saw a small but growing number of meetings, advocacy initiatives, educational programs, and lobbying efforts by the two communities, who long had kept each other at arm’s length.
In Worldwatch Paper 164: "Invoking the Spirit," Worldwatch Research Director, Gary Gardner, argues that in learning to work together, the two groups must overcome mutual misperceptions and divergent worldviews that have historically kept them apart. He writes that secular environmentalists worry about the checkered history of religious involvement in societal affairs. Religious institutions, on the other hand, may have perspectives on the role of women, the nature of truth, and the moral place of human beings in the natural order that sometimes diverge from those of environmentalists.
Though misperceptions and misunderstandings between the two communities persist, engagement is growing. To further collaboration, religious people and institutions would do well to leverage their influence in favor of sustainability, and environmentalists would gain by appealing to the public at an emotional/ spiritual level. With these steps, a new ethics encompassing humans, the divine, and nature can help usher in a just and sustainable civilization.
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Our world, our only habitat, is a biotic system under such stress it threatens to fail in fundamental and irreversible ways. Major change is required to stabilize and restore its functional integrity. This topic has been extensively elaborated by the scientific community and debated by many in policy and government. This issue has not yet emerged, however, as a high priority among the public or altered prevailing values, attitudes, or behavior toward nature. It is now critical that we understand these failures and determine how we can help catalyze a transformation of our values and behaviors toward the natural world.
Examine any of the great environmental challenges confronting us – climate change, biotic impoverishment, pollution, resource depletion – and a similar pattern emerges. A modest number of people know a great deal about these afflictions and unfolding tragedies – the nature of the threat, what is driving it, what can be done to change course before the impacts become irreversible – but their messages have difficulty overcoming public apathy, political denial, or entrenched opposition. Most of all, they rarely spur responsive public action, basic shifts in values and attitudes, or the behavioral change needed at the scale or within the time frame required. The result is what is commonly referred to as a “failure of political will,” but this phrase fails to capture the depth of the cultural void or social malfunction involved.
At its deepest level, if we are to address the linked environmental, social, and even spiritual crises, we must address the wellsprings of human caring, motivation, and social identity. To understand these issues, we must seek the help of fields not regularly associated with environmental issues. We have many sophisticated scientific and policy analyses of climate change, species loss, and other environmental issues, but our situation also requires the knowledge and wisdom of psychologists and philosophers, poets and preachers, historians and humanists to help us see and communicate hard truths and inspire individual and social change.
Lectures on China’s Environment
Edited by Xuhui Lee
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Publication Series
Report Number 20
Earth and Faith: A Book of Reflection for Action