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May 2011

 

The Forum on Religion and Ecology Newsletter
5.5 (May 2011)

Contents:

1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
  
2. Journey of the Universe Film Showings
 
3. Events

4. New Books

5. New Videos

6. The Franciscan Special Issue on Climate Change

7. Pope at Easter: Without Attention to All of Creation, Salvation History is Too Small

8. Philippine Bishop Calls for ‘Green’ Trash-free Holy Week

9. Call for Papers: “Sacred Soil, Living Water, Holy Air: Science, Spirituality, and the Elements of Earthly Life” (October 21, 2011 in Chicago, IL, USA)

10. Call for Papers: “Uncanny Homecomings: Narrative Structures, Existential Questions, Theological Visions” (August 26-28, 2011 in Iowa City, IA, USA)

11. “The Culture of Contemporary Spirituality and its Potentials and Pitfalls for Sustainable Development,” by Annick Hedlund-de Witt

12. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

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1. Editorial, by Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally

Greetings,

Welcome to the May issue of the newsletter for the Forum on Religion and Ecology. We have much to share with you this month with regards to developments in the field of Religion and Ecology, including film showings, books, conferences, events, calls for papers, and more.

It is our pleasure to let you know that the Journey of the Universe film will be shown for World Environment Day at the United Nations in New York City on June 2, 2011 at 6:30pm. This showing is hosted by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). See below for more information. Other showings of the film will be held in Chicago May 21, in Toronto June 15, in Austin August 8, in Ottawa September 23, and in Seattle September 30. For the most up-to-date list of showings, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/upcoming-events/  
 
The Journey of the Universe project is a collaboration of Brian Swimme, Mary Evelyn Tucker, and John Grim. This project includes a film and a book (available in June 2011), and an educational DVD series (available in July 2011). Inspired by the New Story of Thomas Berry, the Journey of the Universe draws on the latest scientific knowledge to tell the story of cosmic and Earth evolution. It aims to inspire a new and closer relationship with Earth in a period of growing environmental and social crisis. For more information about the project, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org  

If you are interested in scheduling a screening of the Journey of the Universe, please visit the Journey Screening page (http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/screening/). On this page, you can review the Screening Technical Instructions and complete the Screening Request Form, which is to be emailed to Sue Espinosa at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  

We are happy to inform you that the papers from the Journey of the Universe Conference at Yale University on March 24-26, 2011 are now available online. This conference surrounded the World Premiere of the film and brought together some 35 scientists and humanists to discuss the implications of Journey of the Universe for teaching, research, and creative outreach. To read these conference papers, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/conference-at-yale/

We are also excited to let you know that Orion Magazine has published interviews with three of the participants of the Journey of the Universe Conference at Yale. On April 29, Orion interviewed Scott Sampson, a Canadian paleontologist and science communicator who is the on-air host of the PBS children’s series Dinosaur Train, and author of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life. On April 21, Orion interviewed Tom Lovejoy, the first recipient of the Heinz Center Biodiversity Chair in August 2008. Before coming to The Heinz Center, he was the chief biodiversity advisor to the World Bank, science advisor to the secretary of the interior, and executive vice president of the World Wildlife Fund. On April 15, Orion interviewed Kathleen Dean Moore, coeditor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril and Distinguished Profes sor of Philosophy at Oregon State University. To read these interviews, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/news-articles/

We hope that this newsletter supports your own work and helps you further your own engagements with the field of Religion and Ecology.

Warm wishes,
Sam Mickey & Elizabeth McAnally
California Institute of Integral Studies
Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale
Web Content Managers & Newsletter Editors
http://www.yale.edu/religionandecology  
(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  

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2. Journey of the Universe Film Showings

Film Showing at United Nations for World Environment Day (June 2, 2011)

Hosted by United Nations Environment Programme
6:30pm

United Nations
North Lawn Building
Conference Rm 3
New York, NY

Entrance:
UN Public Entrance
1st Avenue between 45th and 46th street

This event is free and open to the public.
Registration is required.
Please send your name and affiliation to: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  

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Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies (May 10, 2011)
Millbrook, NY
7:00pm


This film showing is part of the conference “Linking Ecology and Ethics for a Changing World: Values, Philosophy, and Action.”
Showing is open to conference participants.
http://www.ecostudies.org/cary_conferences.html


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Midwest Premiere: Chicago (May 21, 2011)


The Well
1515 W. Ogden
LaGrange Park, Il. 60526
7-9PM
http://www.csjthewell.org
Contact: Bridget Sperduto, (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  
708-482-5039


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For more events related to Journey of the Universe, visit: http://www.journeyoftheuniverse.org/upcoming-events/  

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3. Events


“Consecration of SrÄ« Somesvara Temple”
North Carolina
May 12-16, 2011


This May 12-16, an authentic Vedic Shiva temple will be consecrated in the mountains of North Carolina. Sri Somesvara Temple, built of ancient granite carved in India, will resonate with the deepest values of Nature feeding the very source of life itself. By addressing the most fundamental level of existence, Sri Somesvara Temple will help give rise to the consciousness needed to heal the world and environment.


A five day consecration will be held at Mount Soma in Clyde, North Carolina on May 12-16, 2011. You are welcome to attend any or all of the five-day ceremony.

For more information and to RSVP, visit:

http://www.srisomesvara.org/Events  


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American Teilhard Association Annual Meeting
"Darwin, Teilhard, and the Drama of Life"
Speaker: John Haught
Union Theological Seminary, New York, NY, USA
May 14, 2011
http://www.teilharddechardin.org/events.html#annual_meeting  


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“Susquehanna River Blessings”


May 15, 2011
Dawn to Noon


The Susquehanna River and its watershed are being severely stressed by drilling for natural gas in the region. Inspired by the Thai monks ordaining the old-growth trees in Thailand so as to have them spared we are calling for ceremonies of Blessings along the Susquehanna River on Sunday, May 15th, between dawn and noon. Those who understand that rivers sustain us throughout the world, please bring your families, friends, your communities, to the water's edge, each of us blessing it with the laying on of two flowers. The first flower offered is to thank the water. The second is our pledge to take good care of the water.


Visit the Flowers on the Water Facebook page to send news of your location and group, and share photos and videos: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Art-and-Awareness/128245477241414  


Visit http://www.artandawareness.com/ for more resources.


For information, contact: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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“Animals as Religious Subjects: A Transdisciplinary Conference”
Hosted by the European Forum for the Study of Religion and Environment
University of Chester, UK
May 21-24, 2011
http://www.chester.ac.uk/trs/animals-as-religous-subjects


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“Technology and Security”
17th International Conference of the Society for Philosophy and Technology (SPT)
University of North Texas, Denton, TX, USA
May 26-29, 2011
https://spt2011.unt.edu/  


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“Evensong and Ecology: Food, Farms, Faith”


Cathedral of Saint John the Divine
1047 Amsterdam Avenue
New York City, NY, USA


Music by Theodicy Jazz Collective
Reflections by Mary Evelyn Tucker
This event is free and open to the public.


May 29, 2011
4:00 pm


Honoring those who plant and harvest, this Rogation Sunday evensong calls our attention to the critical issues of food and water security around the world. How will we feed 9 billion people in a warmer world, and how can faithful people live rightly with creation? The Theodicy Jazz Collective joins Mary Evelyn Tucker of Yale's Forum on Religion and Ecology for an evening of music, prophecy, and action. All are welcome.

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4. New Books

Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities: Sustenance and Sustainability
By Pankaj Jain
Ashgate Publishing, 2011
http://www.ashgate.com/default.aspx?page=637&calctitle=1&pageSubject=425&title_id=9948&edition_id=13134&lang=cy-gb


In Indic religious traditions, a number of rituals and myths exist in which the environment is revered. Despite this nature worship in India, its natural resources are under heavy pressure with its growing economy and exploding population. This has led several scholars to raise questions about the role religious communities can play in environmentalism. Does nature worship inspire Hindus to act in an environmentally conscious way? This book explores the above questions with three communities, the Swadhyaya movement, the Bishnoi, and the Bhil communities. Presenting the texts of Bishnois, their environmental history, and their contemporary activism; investigating the Swadhyaya movement from an ecological perspective; and exploring the Bhil communities and their Sacred Groves, this book applies a non-Western hermeneutical model to interpret the religious traditions of Indic communities. With a foreword by Roger S Gottlieb.


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No Ordinary Time: The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity
By Jan Phillips
Livingkindness Foundation, 2011
http://www.livingkindness.org/Livingkindness/Publications.html  
http://www.janphillips.com


No Ordinary Time: The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creativity is a call to mindfulness, a reminder that evolutionary action begins in stillness, as visionary ideas evolve from spiritual practice. It is a book for people conscious of their power and ready to co-create new sacraments and ceremonies that celebrate the Divine dwelling within us. It is a handbook for people committed to justice, peacemaking and spiritual integrity who are eager to evolve themselves spiritually and creatively. It bridges the One and the many, East and West, darkness and light through an array of stories, poems, prayers and songs.


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Ecotheology and the Practice of Hope
By Anne Marie Dalton and Henry C. Simmons
State University of New York Press, 2010
http://www.sunypress.edu/p-5052-ecotheology-and-the-practice-of.aspx  


Is there any hope for a more sustainable world? Can we reimagine a way of living in which the nonhuman world matters? Anne Marie Dalton and Henry C. Simmons claim that the ecotheology that arose during the mid-twentieth century gives us reason for hope. While ecotheologians acknowledge that Christianity played a significant role in creating societies in which the nonhuman world counted for very little, these thinkers have refocused religion to include the natural world. To borrow philosopher Charles Taylor's concept, they have created a new "social imaginary," reimagining a better world and a different sense of what is and what should be. A new mindset is emerging, inspired by ecotheological texts and evident in the many diverse movements and activities that operate as if the hope imparted by ecotheology has already been realized. While making this powerful argument, Dalton and Simmons also provide an essential overview of key ecotheological thinkers and texts.

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5. New Videos

Pete and Duane’s Window is a program that explores our world in transition including topics such as consciousness, world trends, sustainability, spirituality, and our collective future. The show’s hosts, Peter Russell and Duane Elgin, are internationally recognized visionaries who have known one another for decades, and share an interest in awakening consciousness, both personal and global. As “evolutionary elders,” they see this time as pivotal for our species.


In collaboration with Coleen LeDrew Elgin, they co-created Pete and Duane’s Window—a view of the world’s dynamics and trends, the potential for conscious evolution, and the opportunity to live sustainably and compassionately. They hope this program will generate deeper inquiry and conversation about our common future. With Coleen’s help, they utilized the Marin Community Media Center and a team of volunteers to create the current series.


Pete and Duane's Window explores topics such as:


• Science and Spirituality
• Our World in Transition
• The Roots of Our Crisis
• Take Back the Airwaves
• The Mind of the Dolphin
• Be Love Now


The shows are available for free viewing and download and are approximately 28 minutes in length. To view the shows, visit:


http://www.peteandduane.com/
  

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6. The Franciscan Special Issue on Climate Change


The May 2011 issue of The Franciscan focuses on climate change. The journal is published by the First Order of the Society of St. Francis (Anglican Communion).

To read the issue, visit:


http://fore.research.yale.edu/files/The_Franciscan_May2011.pdf
 

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7. Pope at Easter: Without Attention to All of Creation, Salvation History is Too Small

As the Church celebrated this most holy of days, Pope Benedict XVI offered a beautiful reflection on Creation during the Easter Vigil:


Our profession of faith begins with the words: “We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth”. If we omit the beginning of the Credo, the whole history of salvation becomes too limited and too small. The Church is not some kind of association that concerns itself with man’s religious needs but is limited to that objective. No, she brings man into contact with God and thus with the source of all things. Therefore we relate to God as Creator, and so we have a responsibility for creation. Our responsibility extends as far as creation because it comes from the Creator.


Read the Easter Vigil homily in its entirety here:


http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/homilies/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_hom_20110423_veglia-pasquale_en.html
 

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8. Philippine Bishop Calls for ‘Green’ Trash-free Holy Week


Last week, Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, head of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, invited Catholics to commemorate Holy Week by taking steps to more fully care for God’s good gift of Creation. Said the bishop:


A green Holy Week is a timely call in response to the wastefulness and greed that is blatantly trashing our fragile environment …I encourage everyone to plan for an earth-friendly and spiritually nourishing week.


For the full story, visit:

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20110411-330618/Bishop-calls-for-green-trash-free-Holy-Week

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9. Call for Papers: “Sacred Soil, Living Water, Holy Air: Science, Spirituality, and the Elements of Earthly Life” (October 21, 2011 in Chicago, IL, USA)


4th Annual Student Symposium on Science and Spirituality
October 21, 2011
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Chicago, IL, USA
http://www.zygoncenter.org/studentsymposium/


Held on Friday, October 21, 2011 at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the fourth annual Student Symposium on Science and Spirituality is a one-day conference designed to provide an interdisciplinary and interfaith forum for graduate, professional, and ministry students to engage in collaborative conversations and professional networking with faculty mentors. Cash prizes will be awarded for the best student papers as judged by a faculty committee, and papers will be published on the Zygon Center's website and recommended for publication in journals such as Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science.


Greek philosophers and Hebrew prophets, indigenous peoples and immigrants, earth scientists and environmental advocates: from ancient to modern, we have long recognized soil, water, and air as essential elements of earthly life. Much more than simple chemical elements, they are complex substances in dynamic interaction with living organisms—including humans. Finite and often fragile, they are both precious gifts and contested resources.


Deadline for Proposals: June 15, 2011


For the full call for papers, visit:

www.zygoncenter.org/studentsymposium/

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10. Call for Papers: “Uncanny Homecomings: Narrative Structures, Existential Questions, Theological Visions” (August 26-28, 2011 in Iowa City, IA, USA)


2011 Religion, Literature and the Arts Conference
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA, USA
August 26-28, 2011
http://rla2011.blogspot.com/


The 2011 Religion, Literature and the Arts conference encourages participants to investigate the subject of home and homecoming. Poets and philosophers have long identified the human yearning to find a geographic and emotional environment that allows for a feeling of integration, where we understand our place in the greater whole. If we linger with this notion, however, the paradoxical nature of our desire for homecoming emerges: the home that we remember from our past is not the place that we are ever able to find in our present, and the places that we find or create in our present that have an aura of “home” are frequently disconcerting in their ability to provide comfort. There is something unheimlich in returning home, a lesson learned by individuals from Odysseus or the Prodigal Son in the Western tradition to those facing crises of homecoming in 21st century Palestine or Algeria.


Deadline for proposals: May 20, 2011


For the full call for papers, visit:


http://rla2011.blogspot.com/
  

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11. “The Culture of Contemporary Spirituality and its Potentials and Pitfalls for Sustainable Development,” by Annick Hedlund-de Witt


Recently, the leading environmental journal Ecological Economics published an article in which the phenomenon of contemporary spirituality, or so-called "New Age" religion, was explored from an explicitly environmental perspective. That is, the author, Annick Hedlund-de Witt, attempted to clarify whether, to what extent and in what ways this (sub)culture is or may be of support to the issues, goals and agendas of sustainable development. According to Hedlund-de Witt this is highly relevant, as several social scientists claim that the rise of the culture of contemporary spirituality is a pivotal part of the gradual but profound change taking place in the Western worldview—both reflecting the larger cultural development, as well as giving shape and direction to it. Its emergence is therefore not to be neglected in attempts to create a more sustainable society. However, till this date, this theme appears to be remarkably absent from mainstream discourses on sustainable development.

 

The aim of the study was to generate insight into the culture and worldview of contemporary spirituality and explore its potentials and pitfalls for sustainable development.  An investigation of the sociological literature on the phenomenon resulted in a delineation and overview of these and showed that this culture is both a potentially promising force, as well as a phenomenon posing specific risks.  A structural-developmental understanding was then introduced in order to be able to distinguish between regressive and progressive tendencies in this culture, and comprehend the deeper logic behind the observed potentials and pitfalls.  An example of a potential of the culture of contemporary spirituality for sustainable development is what British sociologist Colin Campbell has called the rehabilitation of nature, which comes to expression in a preference for organic food and vegetarian diets, natural products and conscious consumerism. These lifestyle changes have a double effect: not only do they result in less environmental pollution and resource depletion through the greening of individual lifestyles, but they also support and stimulate (the transition to) a green economy, as they serve as an impetus for companies aiming to win these markets, and a discouragement or even a pounding for companies which are not taking up the environmental challenge.

 

This emerging worldview therefore appears to play an important role in influencing attitudes, behaviors and political and consumer choices towards the environment. In that way it can be seen as a driver in consumer trends and economic spending patterns, of influence on policy opinion and policy support, as well as a co-shaper of cultural-societal transitions. The emerging spiritual worldview can thus not, as the author demonstrates, be discarded as pre-rational and irrelevant, but must be differentiated, investigated, and integrated with rational scientific understandings of sustainable development. That may then serve to facilitate the actualization of the culture’s potentials while mitigating its pitfalls, and in that way contribute to the timely challenge of creating a more sustainable society.

 

See: Hedlund-de Witt, A., 2011. The rising culture and worldview of contemporary spirituality: a sociological study of potentials and pitfalls for sustainable development. Ecological Economics, 70, 1057-1065.

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12. Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology

 

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology has as its focus the relationships between religion, culture and ecology world-wide. Articles discuss major world religious traditions, such as Islam, Buddhism or Christianity; the traditions of indigenous peoples; new religious movements; and philosophical belief systems, such as pantheism, nature spiritualities, and other religious and cultural worldviews in relation to the cultural and ecological systems. Focusing on a range of disciplinary areas including Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Geography, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology and Theology, the journal also presents special issues that center around one theme. For more information, visit: http://www.brill.nl/wo  

 

For more information on other journals related to religion and ecology and to environmental ethics/philosophy, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/journals/index.html. If you know of a publication that needs to be added to this list, email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  

 

 

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For the archive of previous Forum newsletters, visit: http://fore.research.yale.edu/publications/newsletters/index.html  

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