Course Memo

This course is co-taught by Rita Sherma and Devin Zuber. This course studies the impact of religious and cultural worldviews on actions and attitudes that impact sustainability (JUSTICE, EQUITY, VIABILITY)—the social, economic, and ecological viability of human civilization and planetary life. We will critically analyze the relationship between cultural diversity and biodiversity, and the interrelationship between human oppression and ecosystemic devastation—seeking, all the while, resources within religious worldviews for the development of a just, equitable, and viable planetary future. Secular society increasingly associates Religion and Theological thought with anti-scientific, anti-emancipatory, unjust attitudes and actions. Yet such blanket condemnations fail to understand that the virulent edge of radicalized religion is not its full range. The fostering of values of care and compassion, of altruism for kin and community, careful conservation of wild and cultivated spaces are normative aims in many religious traditions. These aims continue to move individuals to transcend narrow self-interest and to see themselves as beings in a relational world. Whether such embedded resources translate into ecologically-conscious action is dependent on theo-ethical interpretation. Across traditions, we see the ever-widening development of ecological theology, ecojustice, and theo-ethics of the Earth. Without transformed vision that compels consistent alterations in human values and behaviors, new information on the threats posed by Climate Change, and other symptoms of human activity will not be acted upon. Planetary survival is now predicated upon the alignment of our notions of both human & ecological rights with our highest principles. As such, ways of knowing that are embedded in religion, philosophy, theo-ethics, spiritual ethics, moral traditions, and a culture that values the commons as an essential resource for the transformation necessary for environmental regeneration and renewal. Sustainable Nature Requires Sustainable Societies. Appropriate for M.Div., MA, MTS, and PhD (with some additional input). COURSE WILL MEET REMOTELY WITH 1 1/2 HR. SYNCHRONOUS MEETINGS, & 1 HOUR OUTSIDE CLASS TIME IN COMMUNITY, OR INSTRUCTOR OFFICE HOURS. [Auditors with faculty permission]