From the mid-1990's to around 2004, I had the opportunity to continue my work in conservation biology while studying religion and theology at Emory's Candler School of Theology and Columbia Theological Seminary,two fine schools in the Atlanta area. I also spent quite a bit of time flyinjg back and forth to the San Francisco Bay area to pursue studies in the Wisdom Traditions at Wisdom University. These studies, combined with my fellowship at the Green Institute led to a series of articles on environment, religion, theology, and eschatology. For a fully referenced papers on this subject please access http://www.greeninstitute.net/, scroll down the left side of the page to the note on the Interdisciplinary Initiative and click.
As a child, in an American blue collar family I was exposed to the frequent use of common, often colorful sayings. Two that I remember establish the dimensions of the impact of the response of religions and theologies to Earth in crisis. Someone was either ‘a day late and a dollar short,’ or ‘better late than never’ (it seems that both frequently applied to me, especially during my teens). These two sayings appear to set the boundaries of the response of religions and theologies to environmental crisis and establish the polar tensions acting on those responses.
Academics, even less likely to change than the Roman Curia began, sometimes painfully, to develop theological foundations from ancient texts. These newly discovered threads were sometimes woven together with newly discovered ‘truths’ into social and cultural fabrics such as ecofeminism. Everybody (except the most conservative Christians) seemed to buy-in and stake out turf and conservative religionists have also lately started to come around. As I have said in a previous posting, “The growing interest in the relationship between religion and ecology is nowhere more apparent than the recent efforts of Harvard University's Center for the Study of World Religions to codify these relationships.” The project has produced a number of books on the subject in what is called the ‘Religion and Ecology’ series. Educational institutions offer study in the field of religion and nature. The American Academy of Religion’s biannual meetings have very well-attended sections that deal with papers in ecological theology. The religious focus on the environment appears to be an irreversible theme of theological inquiry and religious life.