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Forum Fall 2014

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What Does Religion Have To Do With Climate Change?

In this issue:

"Is climate change a religious issue?" - Sarah E. Fredericks  - Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy & Religion, University of North Texas

Religion on the March - David Haberman - Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

"Ancestral Time and Future Climates: Caring for the future through the past" - Michael Northcott -Professor of Ethics, University of Edinburgh

Current forum topic:

Fall 2015 - What are the main causal factors of the global refugee crisis and how should the world be responding?

 


"IS CLIMATE CHANGE A RELIGIOUS ISSUE?"

Sarah E. Fredericks  - Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy & Religion, University of North Texas

Sarah Fredricks

Is climate change a religious issue? In short, my answer is yes, climate change is a religious issue.  More elaborately, I maintain that climate change is a religious issue for at least four reasons:  1) religious worldviews may have shaped people’s attitudes and actions toward the environment and therefore may have exacerbated the problem; 2) religious beliefs may lead people to reject the possibility of anthropogenic climate change or a duty to act to slow or mitigate its effects, 3) other interpretations of religious ethics and theology may justify the judgment that climate change is problematic and that people have a responsibility to slow or stop it, and 4) climate change raises existential questions whose investigation is a religious task.    Granted, climate change is not only a religious issue; it is also of economic, environmental, medical, and political significance, but here I will emphasize the religious dimensions of climate change.

During the emergence of the contemporary environmental movement in the 1960s some scholars, most famously Lynn White Jr., named religion, especially Christianity, as a cause of environmental destruction (White Jr. 1967).  Others, including Seyyed Hossein Nasr maintained that modern, secularized worldviews have led people to devalue and therefore easily disrupt their environment because such worldviews no longer see the world as sacred or as a sign or reflection of the sacred (Nasr 1976).  An enormous amount of literature has since challenged, supported, or nuanced such claims e.g. (Jenkins 2009, Santmire 1985, Taylor 2005).  While the degree to which religion has led to environmental degradation is still an open question, there is a significant consensus in the literature that one’s religious worldview including one’s beliefs, ethics, and ritual practices can shape one’s understanding of and interaction with the environment whether in beneficial, degrading, or mixed ways.  Such general claims are pertinent to the relationship of religion and climate change because if religion is partly responsible for environmental degradation in general, then it is likely also responsible, at least in part, for the most significant anthropogenic environmental impact: climate change.

A contemporary example of a religious worldview shaping attitudes about actions toward the environment is found in the denial of climate change for religious reasons.  Given the geographic location of scholars in the field and contemporary demographics and politics, this position is most often discussed in relationship to evangelical Christians in the U.S., though they are not the only people with such beliefs, and certainly not all evangelical Christians deny climate change.  Admittedly, there is relatively little academic literature documenting such trends; most scholars of religion and the environment have worked to document ways that religion can aid environmental movements rather than document the religious challenges to environmentalism.  Though more scholarship is needed to document these views and their popularity, several general reasons to deny climate change for religious reasons exist.  Some people criticize the methods of modern science.  Others do not believe that humans are powerful enough to have such an impact on the world, especially if they believe it is created and sustained by an all-powerful God. Still others may acknowledge that climate change is occurring but see it as a signal of the end times rather a problem to be addressed. Even if climate change is not taken as a signal of the apocalypse, it may be viewed as one of many worldly issues that pales in importance when compared with preparing oneself for the afterlife. 

While such opposition to climate activism is stereotypically, at least in the U.S., identified as the religious position on the matter in the popular media, this is far from being true whether one examines evangelical Christianity, all Christianity, or all religions.  Indeed, a host of religious leaders, and religious organizations including the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Presbyterian Church USA, the Dali Lama, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, and the Muslim World League have recognized anthropogenic climate change as a religious problem (Johnston 2013, Martin-Schramm 2010, Schaefer and Winright 2013, Stanley, Loy, and Dorje 2009, The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life 2008, The Forum on Religion and Ecology 2014).  Additionally, many grassroots religious groups (e.g. Interfaith Power and Light) recognize the existence of anthropogenic climate change and think humans have a responsibility to respond.  Such a duty to respond may come from beliefs that God created the world and therefore out of respect for the creator.  Jews, Christians, and Muslims may also look to direct commands from God to care for the world in Biblical or Qur’anic discussions of creation and humanity’s purpose as stewards or khalifa.  Religious people may also care for the planet, ecosystem, or biota out of their value in and of themselves or because they are seen as a part of an integrated whole and therefore to care for anything is to care for the whole.  Climate action is also often grounded in longstanding social justice commitments as it is recognized that the poor and politically powerless humans are those who are suffering and will continue to suffer the most from climate change (Schaefer and Winright 2013, Stanley, Loy, and Dorje 2009).  For all of these reasons and many others, many religious individuals and groups take direct action to combat climate change through daily activities (i.e. lowering the thermostat in winter), environmental education, political action, or through specifically religious rituals such as prayers or meditation.

The preceding reasons that climate change is a religious issue are given most attention in the scholarly literature, yet I maintain that there is another reason climate change is a religious issue.  Namely, reflecting on climate change raises existential questions, the investigation of which is a fundamentally religious practice.  If a) one values the environment or humans or other biota that depend on its systems, b) realizes that one’s everyday actions – driving, eating food produced on factory farms, using electricity – contribute to climate change, and c) recognizes that even if one changes some of one’s actions that one will still be contributing to climate change because of the larger infrastructural and political systems one is enmeshed in and because of the continued effects of greenhouse gas emissions one emitted long ago, this chain of realization can provoke existential questions:  What does it mean about me as a person, about my society, or about humanity in general that I/we can’t seem to do even basic things to combat climate change (recycle consistently, acknowledge the problem) let alone enact effective climate policy?  Are we fundamentally flawed?  Is there any possibility of change for individuals, society, or civilization?  Is there any reason for hope?  While these questions certainly have ethical consequences, they also have existential implications because they can challenge one’s fundamental beliefs about what it means to be human and the purpose of one’s life.  Reflecting on the human condition and making sense of it in theory and in practice is fundamentally a religious task (Geertz 1973, Neville 2001, Nishitani 1982, Smart 1996).  This occurs whether the question is addressed in longstanding religious groups (e.g. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism) or newly arising worldviews such as branches of environmentalism that embody characteristics of religions including beliefs, values, practices, and communities (e.g. deep ecology).  Thus the fact that climate change provokes contemplation of existential issues makes climate change a fundamentally religious topic.

This existential reflection coupled with responses to climate change from religious ethics and the possibility that religious worldviews have and do contribute to the problem means that climate change is certainly a religious issue.  Indeed, attention to its religious dimensions is necessary if we desire a comprehensive response to the challenges climate change poses to our civilization.

References

Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basick Books Inc.

Jenkins, Willis. 2009. "After Lynn White: Religious Ethics and Environmental Problems."  Journal of Religious Ethics 37 (2):283-309. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9795.2009.00387.x.

Johnston, Lucas F. 2013. Religion and Sustainability: Social Movements and the Politics of the Environment. Bristol, CT: Equinox.

Martin-Schramm, James B. 2010. Climate Justice: Ethics, Energy, and Public Policy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. 1976. Man and Nature: The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man. London: Butler & Tanner Ltd.

Neville, Robert C., ed. 2001. The Human ConditionThe Comparative Religious Ideas Project. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Nishitani, Keiji. 1982. Religion and Nothingness. Translated by Jan Van Bragt. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Santmire, H. Paul. 1985. The Travail of Nature: the Ambiguous Ecological Promise of Christian Theology. Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Schaefer, Jame, and Tobias Winright, eds. 2013. Environmental Justice and  Climate Change: Assessing Pope Benedit XVI's Ecological Vision for the Catholic Church in the United States. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Smart, Ninian. 1996. Dimensions of the Sacred: An Anatomy of the World's Beliefs. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Stanley, John, David R. Loy, and Gyurme Dorje, eds. 2009. A Buddhist Response to Climate Change. Boston: Wisdom Publications.

Taylor, Bron Raymond. 2005. Introduction. In The Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Raymond Taylor, Jeffrey Kaplan, Laura Hobgood-Oster, Adrian J. Ivakhiv and Michael York. London; New York: Thoemmes Continuum.

The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life. 2008. "Jewish Community Priorities for Climate and Energy Policy 2008." Jewish Council for Public Affairs Accessed October 14.

The Forum on Religion and Ecology. 2014. "The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale." Accessed October 14, 2014.

White Jr., Lynn. 1967. "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis."  Science 155:1203-1027.


Dr. Fredericks joined the faculty of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies at UNT in 2008. Prior to her position at UNT, Dr. Fredericks taught at Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy. Her research falls under three, often overlapping, categories: 1) worldview analysis, or the study of the ways that ethical values, metaphysical and epistemological commitments, and culture inform decision-making and action; 2) environmental ethics, particularly about sustainable energy; and 3) the philosophical implications of the development and use of indicators, methods of measuring progress toward goals such as energy sustainability that encompass technical and ethical dimensions. Recently she has been chronicling the ways that environmental justice is assumed in definitions of sustainability yet left out of most methods of assessing progress toward sustainability and is working to bridge this gap. Dr. Fredericks also has a manuscript in progress entitled Sustainable Energy Ethics: an Ethical Evaluation of Sustainable Energy Development Indicators.


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“RELIGION ON THE MARCH”

David Haberman - Professor of Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

David Haberman

It was not long ago that for the most part religious communities and environmentalists had a deep distrust of one another. In his seminal article on religion and ecology Lynn White Jr. maintained that although religion has often played a very negative role in human conceptions of and interactions with the environment, it could also be a positive force in establishing a much more harmonious relationship with the nonhuman world (White 1967).  Although many environmentalists focused on the former role, White made it clear in a follow up article that religion was a key component in transforming our societies into more sustainable ones (White 1973).  Like most forms of institutional power, religion is highly ambiguous. It can support and has supported such unjust practices as slavery and expansionistic war, but has also functioned as a basis for social critiques of such practices and as a support for positive social change, as exemplified by the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The role of religion in the fight against climate change once again illustrates the socially ambiguous nature of religion.  Religion has served to support the claims of climate change deniers and has therefore contributed to delays in addressing the serious challenges of climate change. Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh – allegedly a Methodist -- in August of last year went so far as to make the theological pronouncement, “If you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in manmade global warming.” Of greater concern for environmentalists are positions expounded by influential organizations such as the Cornwall Alliance: For the Stewardship of Creation, an evangelical public policy group funded in part by big oil companies like ExxonMobil.  The Cornwall Alliance issued “An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming” that asserts as a matter of theology, “Recent global warming is one of many natural cycles of warming and cooling in geologic history. . . . There is no convincing scientific evidence that human contribution to greenhouse gases is causing dangerous global warming” (Cornwall Alliance 2009). They allege that purported efforts to curb climate change are designed to harm the poor of the world.  At the same time, however, it is clear that religion is now playing an increasingly constructive role in educating the public about the causes and dangers of climate change, and supporting efforts to resist the established political forces that profit from further climate change and to create the personal and societal changes necessary to bring climate change under control. Even within American Evangelical communities in which many continue to deny anthropogenic climate change, very different perspectives from the Cornwall Alliance can be found, as evidenced by the Evangelical Climate Initiative “Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action” (Evangelical Climate Initiative 2006). It might also be worth pointing out that 350.org founder Bill McKibben, whom some in the movement have come to refer as “saint Bill,” is -- like his conservative opponent Rush Limbaugh -- a self identified Methodist.  Somewhat paralleling recent social turns away from climate change denial, we are now witnessing the turning of the tide in the dominant religious attitude toward climate change in the religious communities of America. The historic People’s Climate March, which took place in New York City on September 21, 2014 to coincide with the UN Climate Summit that brought many world leaders to the city, provides a productive lens to catch a glimpse of the more positive presence of religion in efforts to address the alarming threats of climate change. 

Peoples' Climate March

photo: South Bend Voice

The People’s Climate March was divided into six different themes, each with its own section. One of the sectional themes was labeled “The Debate is Over: The facts are in! Taking action is a moral necessity.”  It was in this section that both scientists and “interfaith groups” (an interesting combination) were to march. Although the various sectional themes mingled and mixed as the march proceeded with energetic enthusiasm, the “people of faith” carried signs to indicate what religious communities were present. Signage was produced by march organizers to identify the various religious contingents, which included every major “world religion” (a number of denominations of Christianity had separate signage), as well as indigenous and pagan groups. Also included were humanists, atheists, and “spiritual seekers.” In addition to the large number of Christian groups participating in the People’s Climate March, many other kinds of religious communities were well represented. Twelve different Buddhist organizations within the city of New York that promote the “Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change: The Time to Act is Now” (Ecological Buddhism 2009), for example, helped organize the many Buddhists from across the country who came to the march.  Furthermore, colorfully dressed leaders from various Native American and other indigenous communities placed at the head of the entire march chanted prayers of blessings and songs for Earth as the march began. A tall inflatable mosque and a large wooden ark led the “Interfaith Contingent.”  The mosque was carried by Green Muslims, whose website announces, “As Muslims, Allah requires us to take care of creation and preserve it for future generations. We have an obligation to protect the most vulnerable –those who suffer from droughts, flooding and diseases spread by climate change.” The ark was sponsored by GreenFaith and Sojourners and built at the Auburn Theological Seminary. Signs posted on the side of the ark read: “We are all Noah now” and “People of Faith for Climate Action.” During the march, leaders from a variety of religious groups boarded the ark, demonstrating the multi-religious make-up of this segment of the march.  March organizers reported that 10,000 “people of faith” participated in the interfaith segment of the march, although it is extremely likely that many of the 390,000 people marching in other thematic sections would have wanted to be included within that label (http://peoplesclimate.org/faith).

Peoples' Climate March Ark

photo: Keweenaw Now

The days around the march were chock-full for interfaith climate activists who were in New York City to voice strong support for climate action.  A multi-faith prayer service sponsored by GreenFaith and Our Voices took place the morning before the march began, and the day ended with an interfaith service that packed thousands into the colossal Cathedral of Saint John the Divine that included a speech by former vice-president Al Gore, words by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, a reading by nature writer Terry Tempest Williams, and musical accompaniment by the religio-eco troubadour Paul Winter. The People’s Climate March was preceded by a two-day conference at Union Theological Seminary called “Religions of the Earth,” which was co-hosted by the Interfaith Center of New York, GreenFaith, and the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions and brought over 200 religious leaders from around the world together to participate in discussions and workshops specifically on climate change. The day after the march the World Council of Churches hosted the Interfaith Summit on Climate Change in the city. Participants in the summit issued a statement that begins:

As representatives from different faith and religious traditions, we stand together to express deep concern for the consequences of climate change on the earth and its people, all entrusted, as our faiths reveal, to our common care. Climate change is indeed a threat to life, a precious gift we have received and that we need to care for (http://interfaithclimate.org/the-statement).

The following day a conference took place at St. Lawrence University on climate change that featured as the keynote speaker Reverend Sally Bingham, Episcopal Priest and founder of Interfaith Power and Light: A Religious Response to Global Warming.

Being one of the most significant participants in the religious component of the People’s Climate March, Interfaith Power and Light under the leadership of Bingham provides a good example of a common understanding of the role religious communities are called to play in the fight for climate justice and action. This organization is dedicated to shrinking the carbon footprint of religious institutions and educating their members about climate change, as well as affecting governmental policy change. Beginning as a movement in California, Interfaith Power and Light now has chapters in 38 states.  The organization’s website asserts that, “Every major religion has a mandate to care for Creation,” and provides a mission statement that reads:

The mission of Interfaith Power & Light is to be faithful stewards of Creation by responding to global warming through the promotion of energy conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. This campaign intends to protect the earth’s ecosystems, safeguard the health of all Creation, and ensure sufficient, sustainable energy for all.

After participating in many of the events surrounding the People’s Climate March, Reverend Bingham was interviewed by North Country Public Radio on September 23, 2014, the day of her keynote address to the climate change conference at St. Lawrence University. During the interview she highlighted the crucial role she believes religion is to play in the movement to address climate change: "No major cultural change in America happens without the religious voice. There is a moral authority that comes with religious leaders talking about this issue from the pulpit. . . . I don't believe that the movement would have any teeth if it didn't have religious voices involved."

Although the People’s Climate March was a single event, it brought together a great many religious communities now actively working on climate change and provides a good snapshot of the positive role religion is currently playing in this challenging issue. As we have seen in the case of public responses to climate change, denial is a powerful thing. It seems to me, however, that just as it is increasingly difficult to deny human-caused climate change, it is also increasingly difficult to deny that religion is now a major force in the active fight for climate justice. May the climate saints go marching on . . .

References

Cornwall Alliance 2009

Ecological Buddhism 2009

Evangelical Climate Initiative 2006

White, Lynn, Jr. 1967, “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” Science 155, no. 3767 (March):12031207.

_________ 1973, “Continuing the Conversation,” Western Man and Environmental Ethics, Ian Barbour, ed., Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, pp. 55-64.


Dr. Haberman is interested in a wide range of South Asian religious traditions, and concentrate on the medieval and modern movements of northern India. Much of his work has focused on the culture of Braj, an active pilgrimage site known for its lively temple festivals, performative traditions, and literary creations. He has a passion for the field of Religion and Ecology; he is involved in developing this emerging field and iscurrently on the Advisory Board of the Forum on Religion and Ecology now based at Yale University School for Forestry and Environmental Studies. As a student of the religious cultures of India, Dr. Haberman is interested in investigating the effects the current environmental degradation is having on the traditional religious culture which views the immanent world of nature as permeated with divine presence; he is also interested in learning how this traditional theology is being employed by Indian environmental activists to resist environmental degradation.

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"ANCESTRAL TIME AND FUTURE CLIMATES: CARING FOR THE FUTURE THROUGH THE PAST"

Professor Michael Northcott - Professor of Ethics, University of Edinburgh

Michael Northcott

The global spread of a consumer culture, through electronic forms of communication, multinational trade networks, and airplane and shipping containers, creates a culture which shrinks space-time and  changes human perceptions of temporality. At the same time traditional rituals which marked the passage of the years, and linked time’s passing to production and reproduction in communities of place, are declining.  Many of these were associated with the planting, tending and harvesting of crops as determined by the seasons. The break in contemporary culture between production and consumption was anticipated in the Victorian era as modern humans moved from living among solar-powered fields and species to dwelling around fossil fuelled buildings and machines. As land for burials in crowded cities was scarce, the Victorians initiated a new rite of passage - cremation - which broke the visible link between human mortality and the earth. But the Victorians nonetheless built the infrastructure of their cities as if they intended them to last, even as most of their mortal remains were cremated and so ‘melted into air.’

Since the Victorian era, human powers have grown to the extent that natural scientists suggest industrial humans have become a ‘force of nature,’ capable of shaping the geologic and evolutionary future of life on earth. Anthropogenic forcing of the earth system through changes in the refraction of solar heat energy from the earth’s surface to space, and species extinction many times the background extinction rate, are two of the ways in which a high consumption civilization is challenging and changing the life support systems of the planet. But the time scale in which industrial greenhouse gas emissions provoke new climates which are observably different from pre-industrial climates, and the rate of industrial species extinction compared to pre-industrial, is not annual, but multi-decadal and even multi-millennial. These long term temporalities map poorly onto the speeded up and instantaneous temporalities sustained by consumer culture, and the related increasingly short term tendency of investment decisions. 

The cult of instantaneity and speed, combined with the long production and supply chains of global production systems, tend to promote intergenerational injustice as they encourage consumers and corporations to neglect long run ecological consequences. Environmentalists argue for a greater attention towards ecological legacy, in the light especially of the irreversible consequences of accelerated species extinctions, and of runaway anthropogenic climate change. However biological and climate apocalyptic have catastrophist overtones. They also often assume a radical break between the present negligent tendencies of industrial humanity and a post-catastrophe future, as for example in J G Ballard’s novel The Drowned World (1968) or Christopher Nolan’s film Interstellar (2014). Socio-psychological studies reveal that catastrophism can also be demotivating in sustaining positive change. Climate apocalyptic may therefore be no more effective than economistic temporalities in generating an ethic of connection, and of co-responsibility, between present and future people, species and climate states.

Lichen on a grave stone of new red sandstone of the Permian era in the churchyard of an ecocongregation in Nithsdale, Southwest Scotland

Lichen on a grave stone of new red sandstone of the Permian era in the churchyard of an ecocongregation in Nithsdale, Southwest Scotland

Religious organisations, like cultural institutions concerned with heritage, think differently about time, community and responsibility. This is because their mission is to engage the weight of the past in the present. I call this awareness of past time in the present ‘ancestral time’. I suggest it refers to a spiritual disposition in which debts to past and future generations of humans are honoured by those living in the present. Christian understanding of time is shaped by a conception of intergenerational community, sometimes called the ‘communion of saints’. In this idea present generations are conscious of the presence of the past and of their consequent debts both to the dead and of their legacy and responsibilities to future generations. If the long time scales that undergird natural scientific accounts of climate change and extinction are counter cultural to contemporary moderns, they may be said to map rather better onto the longer term life-time accounting that was common in the Christian era until the consumer age (Northcott 2014).

Memorials to the dead are among the oldest built structures in most cultures, including in Scotland, and often play an orienting role in the siting of places of dwelling and worship. For those who lived before the advent of the consumer society, reverence for the dead was connected with a sense of responsibility to the ancestors to live well, and to leave the earth in as good or better a condition as they left it. Reverence for ancestors symbolised the old idea of stewardship: that life is a gift and that diminishing the beauty, diversity or stability of life is to dishonour those from whom life, land, home and water pipes or roads are received. Ancient grave stones on which engraving marks are eroded may be dated by counting the number of species of Lichen that they sustain (Leger and Forister 2009). Hence 'Ancestral Time' may represent an ecologically and culturally situated temporality that resists the dominant time management and economic accounting procedures of consumer society. In this approach church buildings, gravestones, clocks and even church installations such as roof top solar panels, represent ‘objects of time’  (Birth 2013) that situate time in ecological and social worlds, and resist the insanity and virtualisation of consumer time.

Ancestral time constitutes a representation of temporal experience that still has purchase in faith communities in their thinking and acting around ecological legacy. In a research project based at Edinburgh and funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Board I am leading an interdisciplinary research team in an ethnographic investigation of faith-based ecological activism, and the role of conceptions of time in such activism. A key site of such activism is http://www.ecocongregationscotland.org which links 280 churches in an ecological network. The project researchers are conducting interviews and participant observation at around 40 churches in the network. We are also investigating other faith based ecological activist networks, and comparative field studies in Transition Towns and other secular ecological networks. 

The moral tragedy of climate change and species extinction is that the  effects will be experienced decades, and centuries, after the behaviours and practices that cause them. This project's overarching hypothetical proposal is that an ‘ancestral’ representation of ecological legacy may be a temporal imaginary that has cultural purchase beyond faith based communities in the societal quest for modes of existence, that conserve ecological legacy for future generations.

Further details about the project can be found at:

http://ancestraltime.org.uk/about-the-project/

Project Blog: http://ancestraltime.org.uk/project-blog/ 

References and further reading:

Ballard, James Graham. 1962. The Drowned World. New York: Penguin, Harmondsworth.

Birth, Kevin. 2012. Objects of Time: How Things Shape Temporality. New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Leger, Elizabeth A. and Mathew L. Forister. 2008. “Colonization, Abundance, and Geographic Range Size of Gravestone Lichens.” Basic and Applied Ecology. 10 (2009) 279-287. doi:10.1016/j.baae.2008.04.001 

Nolan, Christopher. 2014. Interstellar. Los Angeles, CA: Paramount.

Northcott, Michael. 2013. A Political Theology of Climate Change. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

de Vos, Jurriaan M. and Lucas N. Joppa et al. 2014. “Estimating the Normal Background Rate of Species Extinction.” Conservation Biology. doi: 10.1111/cobi.12380.

Dr. Northcott is Professor of Ethics in the University of Edinburgh. He is best known for his research and writing on the ethical and theological implications of climate change and the ecological crisis. He has authored or edited ten books and over eighty research papers. He has been visiting professor at  Claremont School of Theology, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Flinders University, Melbourne University, and the University of Malaya. He is also an Episcopal Priest and in that capacity helps out in rural churches in Dumfrieshire where he also has a smallholding and enjoys mountain biking and hill running.

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