Religion, Ethics, and Climate Change conference starts

Today! The schedule of events can be found here. My opening comments for Panel 2 are more or less what was posted on Friday. Our panelists are listed below. I spent some time last night with respondent, Mark Wallace. He described his theology as “Christian animism.” Wow. He seems like a very good bloke, had a great time talking, but I am going to have to read what he has written to understand exactly what he means. (When he dropped the “Christian animism” jargon, which he admitted was “for effect,” he sounded fairly orthodox.)

Tomorrow night I will be introducing our final keynote speaker, Episcopal priest The Rev. Canon Sally Bingham. Sally is the founder of the Regeneration Project. Should be interesting.

The Reverend Canon Sally Grover Bingham is a priest in the Diocese of California, co-chair of the Episcopal Diocesan Commission for the Environment and has been active in the environmental community for twenty-five years. She is also founder and president of The Regeneration Project, which is focused on its Interfaith Power and Light (IPL) campaign, a religious response to global warming.

Our panel for today:

Rosemary Bertocci, Chair, The Philosophy and Religious Students Department, Saint Francis University

Dr. Rosemary Bertocci is chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Saint Francis University, where she teaches courses on “Science, Religion and Values” and invites students to apply catholic (small c), Franciscan values, to the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Dr. Bertocci has led service-learning programs in Mexico, Honduras, and Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa, the epicenter of the HIV-AIDS pandemic, Jamaica, and Haiti. Her work has been supported by a grant from the Center for Theology and the Natural Science’s (CTNS) Science and Religion Course Program, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Her publications focus on evolutionary psychology and she has lectured widely on the intersections of science and religion.

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Director, Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network, Baltimore, MD

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is the Director of the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network (BJEN), an environmental activist and educator, and a freelance sustainability consultant. She most recently served as General Consultant to COEJL, the national Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (2007-2009). Rabbi Cardin serves on the Boards of the Irvine Nature Center, the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and the Foundation for Spirituality and Medicine. In addition, she serves as the Community Educational representative on the Baltimore County Sustainability Network, as well as on the OneMaryland Vision task force, a state think tank dedicated to developing a unifying sustainability vision for the state.

David L. Johnston, Adjunct Lecturer, University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s University

Rev. David L. Johnston spent sixteen years in Algeria, Egypt, and the West Bank as pastor and teacher. He then completed a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary and was a research affiliate at Yale University. He is currently an adjunct lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s University. His writings focus on contemporary Islam at the intersection of law and theology, including: Earth, Empire and Sacred Text: Christians and Muslims as Trustees of Creation (Equinox, 2009).

Sandra L. Strauss, Director of Public Advocacy at the Pennsylvania Council of Churches

Since 2004, the Reverend Sandra L. Strauss has been Director of Public Advocacy at the Pennsylvania Council of Churches, articulating public policy positions that reflect the Council’s constituent church bodies’ commitment to “peace, justice, equality and compassion for all people.” Sandy holds the Master of Divinity degree from Lancaster Theological Seminary, a Master of Arts in Public Policy Studies from Duke University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Music from the Lindenwood Colleges. Prior to beginning her theological education, Strauss worked for nearly 16 years in the field of solid waste and recycling, including positions as an environmental analyst for R. W. Beck, Inc. (Camp Hill, Pennsylvania), executive director of the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania, and solid waste planner and recycling coordinator for Allegheny County (PA).

And our respondent will be:

Mark Wallace, Professor, Department of Religion, Swarthmore College

Mark I. Wallace is Professor of Religion and member of the Interpretation Theory Committee and the Environmental Studies Committee at Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania. He is the author of the forthcoming Green Christianity: Five Ways to a Sustainable Future (Fortress, 2009), and has authored Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature (Fortress, 2005), Fragments of the Spirit: Nature, Violence, and the Renewal of Creation (Continuum, 1996; Trinity, 2002) along with many other publications. He is a member of the Constructive Theology Workgroup, active in the educational reform movement in the Philadelphia area, and received in 2004 an Andrew W. Mellon New Directions Fellowship for a research sabbatical in Costa Rica.

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