SS 20 - Integrating Ecology into Faith Community Education: How Ecologists Can Engage a New Initiative to Shape Ecological Literacy and Environmental Justice

Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
C124, Oregon Convention Center
Tim Van Meter, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Gregory E. Hitzhusen, The Ohio State University; and Leanne M. Jablonski, Marianist Environmental Education Center
Laurel Kearns, Drew University; Beth Norcross, Center for Spirituality in Nature; and Yonatan Neril, Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development
Aldo Leopold wrote that the proof that conservation had not yet reached the foundations of American conduct was that “philosophy and religion” hadn’t heard of it. Today, that has changed profoundly. Even before the Pope’s 2015 environmental encyclical, most religious denominations had created justice statements related to ecology and have long-supported environmental stewardship programs. Now (2017), a national project to integrate ecology and justice into seminary and theology curriculums has begun, and participating faith communities and religious education institutions are currently seeking collaboration and engagement with ecologists to assure that ecology is addressed robustly in the leadership of moral communities.  This session will introduce a diverse range of best examples of integrating ecology and justice in faith communities nationwide and locally in Portland, and provide a forum for ecologists to engage in shaping the development of ecological curricula in faith communities, or to engage locally to provide ecological expertise to faith community partners. Highlighted projects will include:

  • A joint ecology and justice degree between Methodist Theological School in Ohio and Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Portland-area faith-based watersheds and biodiversity projects and resources supported by Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Executive Director
  • Green Seminaries Initiative and examples from world religions and diverse cultural traditions 

Participants will be invited to share examples from their own communities, and the session will use these examples as a background for discussing opportunities for engagement, collaboration, networking, strategy, and partnership moving forward.

See more of: Special Sessions