You are in Guest mode. If you want to post, you'll need to register (we promise it's painless).
Registered users should log in now. (Forgot your password?)

Guest-accessible forum This forum allows unregistered guests access to read. You must register to post in this forum.

Nature_and_Environment.42

Ecology and Spiritualilty

--------

{Nature_and_Environment.42.2}: full text of article above {wren1111} Wed, 02 Mar 2005 14:27:50 CST (90 lines)
{hidden}

New group addresses our ecology


by Meg Ceryanec
March 02, 2005

A new faculty-based research group has been created to address
environmental and spiritual issues surrounding not only the
Vanderbilt community and Nashville, but the world. The group, called
the Ecology and Spirituality Research Group, is a part of the Center
for the Study of Religion and Culture, one of Vanderbilt's
Interdisciplinary Research Centers.

According to Co-Director David Wood, "We are committed to
understanding the full extent of the global environmental situation,
what are the priorities for change, how to help people appreciate
both the scale and urgency of the problem, and what they can do about
it."

A cornerstone of the group's philosophy is the relationship between
ecology and spirituality, a relationship that is neither obvious nor
often talked about, but still very important.

The group finds many resources in the Christian tradition, as well as
core American values, that may help steer people "in a greener
direction," says Wood.

"One of the hopeful signs within the Christian tradition is a growing
interest in what is called 'Creation Care', which emphasizes our
human responsibility for looking after the planet we share with all
the other living beings," said Wood. "Why 'spirituality'? There
really is a hunger for values in today's world. Consumerism masks a
poverty of the soul. We do not have to grasp our interconnectedness
with all other peoples and creatures as a spiritual phenomenon, but
many people do. And this sense of global reconnection gives new life
to the idea of a 're-ligion' as a 're-linking.'"

Gay Welch, the founder of the group, related the relationship to a
video that her Ethics and Feminism class is watching about a Roman
Catholic Monk, Thomas Berry.

"[Berry] says that the Creation, or the Cosmos, is not a 'collection
of objects', but a 'communion of subjects', meaning that human beings
are part of a vast web of sacred life," Welch said. "We are mistaken
if we view the world as there for our use and consumption ... we
should rather see it as a relative, a home, an ever-evolving reality
that nourishes us and needs our care."

The Ecology and Spirituality Research Group meets every other
Wednesday, working on a series of readings and other information in
order to ultimately conduct two large seminars a semester.

The group's main focus at this point is the impending global warming
crisis and Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect around the world on
Feb. 16, though the United States has yet to sign it.

The group pointed out many consequences of global warming that will
greatly affect, and possibly put an end to, our planet's future.
These outcomes include drought, crop reductions, disease, flooding,
fatal heat waves and threats to our natural resources. They were
quick to point out that while these events are unlikely in the short
term, their severity for the future demands our immediate attention.

"What we do in the next decades may not have effects that we will
see, but will shape the world our grandchildren and great-
grandchildren inhabit at the turn of the century," said Wood.

The group's ultimate goal is awareness and change. They said they
believe that this issue as well as other environmental issues are
some of the most pressing of our time.

"If the U.S. won't sign up to the Kyoto treaty, let's have Vanderbilt
sign up and then go a whole lot further and set a standard for
universities up and down the country," suggests Wood.

Co-director Beth Conklin had some ideas for ways in which students
can help as well. "There's a lot students can do concerning
recycling, paper use, traffic patterns, etc., not just monitoring
energy use," said Conklin. "A bit of language to suggest that student
initiatives in a variety of directions might transform the campus
might encourage more involvement." Wood, in his final remarks, went
even father: "Let's make a big green bowtie for Chancellor Gee!"

The organization is made up of faculty Brooke Ackerley (political
science), Michael Bess (history), Jonathan Gilligan (earth and
environmental sciences), Annabeth Headrick (art and art history),
Michael Vandenbergh (law), and co-directors David Wood (philosophy)
and Beth Conklin (anthropology, religious studies). It was initially
proposed by University Chaplain Gay Welch (religious studies, women's
studies).

Guest-accessible forum This forum allows unregistered guests access to read. You must register to post in this forum.

You are in Guest mode. If you want to post, you'll need to register (we promise it's painless).
Registered users should log in now. (Forgot your password?)

The New Café  Home | Your Hotlist and Directory | Independent Partner Forums |
FAQ | User Guidelines | Privacy Policy