Ecology, Religion, and Sustainability

"Can religion and faith combat eco-despair?" ​| CDS Director and Sustainability 360 Co-Chair Dr. Rita Sherma Interviewed in The Conversation

"Catastrophic wildfires across the planet, extreme weather patterns that destroy homes and histories, degraded soil, toxic air, unsafe water and the desecrated beauty of places we have loved are causing climate trauma and eco-anxiety. For those who are acutely aware of the cliff edge on which we stand as a species and as a planetary community, the despair evoked by the magnitude of the disaster is almost unbearable.

Religions, faiths, and spiritual practices can help in unique ways. In this space people can find community, peaceful practices of meditation, prayer, embodied sacred actions that include rituals and liturgies, and a ‘long view’ informed by the tragedies and triumphs faced by spiritual ancestors. Faith can provide hope and resilience in the midst of crises."

Read Dr. Sherma's full interview "Can religion and faith combat eco-despair?" in The Conversation, and watch the video from the article below featuring Dr. Sherma:

From The Conversation: The "rights of nature" movement wants to give sacred rivers the same rights as people, and some religious groups are leading the way. It's part of many efforts around the world to preserve nature by drawing on faith traditions.

Sustainability 360 Co-Chair Dr. Devin Zuber Gives the 2020 Borsch-Rast Lecture

Dr. Devin Zuber, Associate Professor of American Studies, Religion, and Literature at the GTU, was awarded the fourth annual Borsch-Rast Book Prize and Lectureship for his 2019 monograph, A Language of Things: Swedenborg and the American Environmental Imagination (University of Virginia Press).

In his award-winning book, Dr. Zuber examines the impact that Scandinavian scientist-turned-mystic Emanuel Swedenborg made on American culture, literature, and approaches to nature. By tracing the ways that Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, and Sarah Orne Jewett, among others, responded to Swedenborg, Dr. Zuber illuminates the complex dynamic that came to unfold between the religious, the literary, and the ecological in nineteenth century culture. Dr. Zuber is joined in conversation by Dr. Niklaus Largier, Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley, and Dr. Joan Richardson, Distinguished Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and American Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. Dr. Rita Sherma, Director of the GTU’s Center for Dharma Studies and Co-Chair of Sustainability 360, moderates.

Established in 2016, the Borsch-Rast Book Prize is awarded annually to encourage innovative and creative theological scholarship by GTU graduates and current faculty and carries a prize of $10,000. The prize is funded by an endowment stemming from the sale of Trinity Press International, a venture dedicated to the publication of scholarly and often interdisciplinary theological studies. The prize and lectureship honor the joint example and collaboration of Frederick Houk Borsch (1935-2017) and Harold W. Rast (1933-2004).

2021 Borsch-Rast Lecture | Dr. Devin P. Zuber





Title image by Holiho from pexels