Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University

Overview:

The Forum on Religion and Ecology is the largest international multi-religious project of its kind. With its conferences, publications, and website it is engaged in exploring religious worldviews, texts, ethics, and practices in order to broaden understanding of the complex nature of current environmental concerns. The Forum recognizes that religions need to be in dialogue with other disciplines (e.g., science, economics, education, public policy) in seeking comprehensive solutions to both global and local environmental problems.

http://fore.research.yale.edu/

Directors:
John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
www.yale.edu/religionandecology

Objectives:

The objectives of the Forum on Religion and Ecology are to create a new academic field of study that has implications for environmental policy. To this end, the Forum has organized conferences, published books and articles, and developed a world class international web site on religion and ecology. In collaboration with the ecological sciences, the Forum is helping to identify the ethical dimensions by which the religions of the world can respond to the growing environmental crisis. In addition, inspired by the work of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme, the Forum is creating a film called Journey of the Universe that will provide an integrating framework for understanding the story of the universe and the Earth from the perspectives of science and religion. This will ground environmental transformation in an evolutionary perspective regarding our profound relatedness to and dependence on the larger Earth community.

Origin:

Grim and Tucker initiated this work with a series of conferences on religion and ecology from 1996-1998 at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions. Over 800 environmentalists and international scholars of the world’s religions participated. Ten volumes resulted that were published by Harvard. A concluding series of conferences were held at Harvard including one on world religions and animals (published by Columbia University Press), one on the ecological imagination with Orion magazine, one on world religions and climate change published by Daedalus.

Results:

Ten years ago religion and ecology was neither a field of study nor a force for transformation. Over the last decade a new field of study has emerged within academia with courses being taught at colleges and high schools across North America and in some universities in Europe.  Canada and Europe now have their own Forums and Australia is planning one. Moreover, a new force of religious environmentalism is growing in churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques around the world. Now every major religion has statements on the importance of ecological protection and hundreds of grassroots projects have emerged. The Forum on Religion and Ecology has played an active role in these developments.