Temple of Understanding celebrating our 62nd Anniversary in 2022
ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews and dialogues are ongoing programs produced by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues.
Register for the event and join us each month for an informative talk and lively discussion. Each month we invite a speaker or small panel to go deeper on the issues of environmental justice.
Registered participants are able to engage with our speakers by asking questions relevant to the discussion topic.
Three women leaders of Interfaith organizations that focus on the environment discuss the many challenges and opportunities that have helped shape their leadership styles. How does each one describe leadership? What led them to choose climate change and environmental justice as their focus? What kinds of obstacles have they had to overcome and where have they found support and encouragement? Each will offer their own personal philosophy and style of what leadership means to them as a way of encouraging the next generation to step into leadership roles in any profession.
The Reverend Canon Sally Grover Bingham, an Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California 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 & Light (IPL) campaign, a religious response to global warming. The IPL campaign includes a national network of over 10,000 congregations with affiliated programs in 38 states. She has brought widespread recognition to the link between faith and the environment, and as one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a moral issue, she has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship and advocacy. The Rev. Bingham recently joined President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is a member of the Forum on Children and Nature. She serves on the board of directors of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Working Group, and the U.S. Climate Action Network, as well as the national advisory board for the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Interfaith Power & Light campaign and the Rev. Bingham have received numerous awards including the 2007 U.S. EPA Climate Protection Award, the Purpose Prize, the Energy Globe Award and commendation as a “sacred gift to the planet” by the World Wildlife Fund. The Rev. Bingham was named one of the top fifteen green religious leaders by Grist magazine and has been recognized as a Climate Hero by Yes! Magazine. She has received honorary Doctorates of Divinity from the University of the South, The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and the College of the Holy Cross. Sally is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of 21 essays on environmental stewardship by herself and fellow religious leaders, published by St. Lynn’s Press in February 2009.
Alison Van Dyk has been the Executive Director of the Temple of Understanding for 20 years. She has executive produced five films about the organization’s interfaith work and oversees the annual FORUM on the environment, an Eco Justice For All monthly dialogue series and the TOU internship program. In 2008 she expanded the organization’s dialogue focus to bring attention about the dangers of climate change to interfaith religious leaders and actors. Today TOU programming encompasses eco justice and human rights issues, peace, security for women and children worldwide and food sovereignty. She is a member of the UN Committee of Religious NGO’s and the UN Committee of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She is also working on a new History of the Temple of Understanding’s sixty-two years of interfaith education and action. Alison began her career as a dairy farmer in Tunbridge, Vermont. In 1982 she earned a MA degree in Transpersonal Clinical Psychology and a MA in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA. She returned to Connecticut where she opened a private practice in Child and Family Counseling and designed a Child Centered Psychotherapy Program for a parochial school in the South Bronx, NY where she worked for 20 years. She is married and has two children and a granddaughter.
Mary Evelyn Tucker teaches at Yale University at the School of the Environment and the Divinity School. She is co-director with John Grim of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. With Grim she organized 10 conferences on World Religions and Ecology at Harvard. They were series editors for the 10 resulting volumes from Harvard. She co-edited Confucianism and Ecology, Buddhism and Ecology, and Hinduism and Ecology. She has authored with Grim, Ecology and Religion (Island Press, 2014). They co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology (2017) with Willis Jenkins. They are editors for the series on Ecology and Justice from Orbis Books. They have created six online courses in Religions and Ecology: Restoring the Earth Community. Tucker and Grim also edited Thomas Berry’s books, including Selected Writings (Orbis 2014). They published Thomas Berry: A Biography (Columbia University Press, 2019) with Andrew Angyal. With Brian Thomas Swimme, Tucker and Grim created a multi-media project Journey of the Universe that includes a book (Yale, 2011), an Emmy Award winning film, a series of podcast Conversations, and free online courses from Yale/Coursera. This project was inspired by the evolutionary ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. She served as vice president of the American Teilhard Association from 1978-2020. Tucker was a member of the Earth Charter Drafting committee and the International Earth Charter Council. She won the Inspiring Yale Teaching Award in 2015 and has been awarded 5 honorary degrees. With John Grim, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.
"The Soil of Life"
Dialogue with Ray Archuleta Linley Dixon Ph.D.
Recorded Sep 1, 2022
Ray Archuleta is a Certified Professional Soil Scientist with the Soil Science Society of America and has over 30 years experience as a Soil Conservationist, Water Quality Specialist, and Conservation Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). During his tenure with the NRCS Ray served in New Mexico, Missouri, Oregon, and North Carolina. Ray received his AS degree in Livestock Science from Northern New Mexico College and a BS degree in Agricultural Biology plus 30 hours of graduate work in soil related courses from New Mexico State University. He served in the Peace Corps for two years in Guatemala as a Livestock Specialist. After his retirement from the NRCS in 2017, Ray founded Understanding Ag, LLC, and Soil Health Academy, to teach Biomimicry strategies and Agroecology principles for improving soil function on a national scale. Ray also owns and operates a 150-acre farm near Seymour, Missouri that he operates along with his wife and family.
Linley Dixon owns a certified organic vegetable farm in Southwest Colorado, with her husband and brother. She holds a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Florida and a Masters in Soil Science from West Virginia University in organic farming systems. She held a 2-year post-doctorate with the USDA’s Systematic Botany and Mycology Laboratory in plant fungal interactions. In 2018 she began the pilot program for the Real Organic Project certification program and is now the Co-Director with Vermont organic farmer Dave Chapman. Real Organic Project is a farmer-led “add-on” organic certification that certifies farms that foster healthy soils, pastures livestock, and are committed to organic principles across all their agricultural enterprises. Real Organic provides the transparency that is often lacking in the market place and educates eaters about the farming practices that will provide for a healthy future.
"Taking action on climate chaos: An Interfaith dialogue from various traditional religious perspectives"
Dialogue with Daniel Capper, Ph.D., Rev. Susan Hendershot, Prof. Ibrahim Ozdemir.
Recorded August 10, 2022
Daniel Capper, Ph.D., is a recently-retired Professor from the University of Southern Mississippi, where he taught Asian religions, comparative religions, and research methods. Trained at the University of Chicago in the field of science and religion dialogue, his interdisciplinary studies explore environmental ethical interactions with the nonhuman natural world comparatively as well as among American Buddhists. Capper’s many publications include the books Learning Love from a Tiger: Religious Experiences with Nature, Roaming Free like a Deer: Buddhism and the Natural World, and Buddhist Ecological Protection of Space: A Guide for Sustainable Off-Earth Travel.
Rev. Susan Hendershot has served as president of Interfaith Power & Light since 2018. Rev. Hendershot went on to graduate school at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where she received her Master of Divinity degree from Candler School of Theology. After graduate school, she moved to Iowa, where she was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and served as a pastor in local congregations, focusing on social justice. Rev. Hendershot also led faith-based nonprofit organizations and served as the first Heartland Field Organizer for the ONE Campaign on global poverty. Just prior to her current role, she served as the executive director at Iowa Interfaith Power & Light, one of the state affiliates in the Interfaith Power & Light network. Rev. Hendershot believes that climate change is a moral issue, disproportionately impacting those who are most vulnerable in our world. She gets her motivation and inspiration from her two sons. Rev. Hendershot is based in Washington, DC.
Ibrahim Ozdemir is a professor of philosophy at Uskudar University, Istanbul, Turkey. He is the Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and is the founding President of Hasan Kalyoncu University, Gaziantep. His PhD dissertation was entitled: The Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude Towards Nature, which was the first dissertation by a Muslim philosopher on environmental philosophy and ethics. His books include Rumî and Confucius on Meaning of Life, The Ethical Dimension of Human Attitude Towards Nature, and Globalization, Ethics and Islam. His diverse background as a researcher and teacher includes environmental philosophy and ethics, ecology and religion, practical ethics, philosophical counseling, critical thinking, and Islamic philosophy. Ibrahim Ozdemir was a member of the drafting team of the Islamic Declaration for Global Climate Change. Presently, he was assigned as a member of the core and draft team to write and finalize Al-Mizan: A Covenant for the Earth to be presented to the UN.
"Wake Up America! North American Environmental Youth Activism"
Dialogue with Lydia M., Liv Schroeder, Mars Vazquez-Plyshevsky
Recorded July 14, 2022
Lydia M. is sixteen years old and is a plaintiff in Natalie R. v. State of Utah, in which she and six other young Utahns are suing their State government for promoting fossil fuels and causing and contributing to Utah's dangerous air quality and climate crises in violation of their constitutional rights. In the Salt Lake valley where Lydia lives, poor air quality, dangerous heatwaves, and drought, all worsened by the development of Utah's fossil fuels, threaten both Utah’s beautiful natural environment and the health and safety of Lydia and other members of her community. When she is not fighting for climate justice and breathable air, Lydia enjoys hiking in the diverse and unique landscapes throughout Utah.
Liv Schroeder is the Fridays for Future U.S. Co-Executive Director and Policy Director, and a core activist remobilizing the Fridays for Future movement in the United States. Additionally, Liv is the Co-Founder and Director of US Strike Coalition, a grassroots network of organizations fighting for climate and social justice across the United States uniting to strategize, collaborate & mobilize. Liv serves as the Zero Hour National Communications Director.
Mars Vazquez-Plyshevsky is a rising junior at Hunter College High School. They are a social justice advocate with a focus on climate justice, and economic reform. Mars Vazquez-Plyshevsky is a core member of Friday’s For Future NYC where they facilitate onboarding and external relations working groups, as well as organize city-wide walkouts on global strike days. In May of 2022, they spoke at a Heart17 event at the UN event on the topic of youth activism in the climate sphere. They are also affiliated with the organizations Treeage, Kids Fight Climate Change, and do volunteer work for other community focused organizations in their free time, such as their local chapter of Food Not Bombs.
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