from Issue #26
Exploring the relationship of Ecology & Spirituality
Empowering individuals and faith communities
to live and work in touch with the Earth
EarthLight is a magazine published quarterly by the Unity with Nature Committee
of the Pacific Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends [Quakers]
Coming Together: Science, Religion, & AAAS
by Paul Burks EL [#26, Summer 1997, p 5]
At the American Asssociation for the Advancement of Science [ AAAS ] annual convention in February, 1997, Jane Lubchenko's Presidential Address was entitled: Entering the Century of the Environment: A New Social Contract with Science. In terms of the state of the earth, she emphasized that today's rates, scales, and kinds of change are faster, larger, and different than before. "It is no longer sufficient to talk about sustainable agriculture, sustainable forestry, or sustainable fisheries, but, indeed, it is the sustainability of the biospherethat is our proper concern." She went on to say: "Clearly, we are not talking business as usual here. This is an entirely new world."
In spite of many improvements in individual areas, Lester Brown's State of the World Reportsays about the same thing. And Ecologian Thomas Berry has been saying for years that a revolution is called for, compressed into an extremely short time.
There are hopeful signs of change. The AAAS Board has issued a crisis call to all scientific researchers, asking them to redirect their efforts toward heading off a global environmental crisis "of unprecedented scale." And AAAS has established the AAAS Dialogue Between Science and Religion. Gone are the days when science and religion were considered as enemies or separate worlds.
Particularly interesting is the planning for a November, 1997 conference on the Epic of Evolution, to be held at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The goal of this unique AAAS event is to provide a more accurate account of the interaction between the evolutionary sciences and religious thought, with topics to include understanding evolution, cosmic evolution, the evolution of life, Darwin and Neo-Darwinism, the evolution of culture and religion, morality and ethics, and evolution regarding human future.
Another hopeful sign is the identification of a Fourth Wave Environmentalism, underway now and expected to peak early in the 21st century. Award-winning investigative reporter Mark Dowie, in his book Losing Ground, sees the future of the environmental movement in small, growing, feisty, grassroots groups all across the US. These he identifies as the "new ecologies" under these headings: deep ecologists; social ecologists; bioregionalists; eco-feminists; spiritual ecologists, and those shaped by Native American and indigenous peoples ways. This is Good News, indeed. And it's EarthLight's type of news: Ecology and Spirituality.
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