2014 … Science, Religion & the Climate Crisis

Friday, December 19, 2014
7 PM in the Sanctuary



Kathrine Hayhoe – Climate Scientist from Texas Tech University and Evangelical Christian. Kathrinehas been named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most Influential People for 2014. She is on Showtime’s climate documentary “Years of Living Dangerously,” and has authored a book with her pastor husband called “A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions”.

Ron Amundson – Chair of Environmental Sciences Department University of California, Berkeley and a Christian. Ron, among other things, has done research on climate change impact on soil and farming.

Richard Norgard – Professor of Energy and Resources UC Berkeley and one of the founders of Ecological Economics. Richard has been a visiting scholar at the World Bank, served on the science advisory board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Lead author of the 5th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Richard has also taught a very popular course at Cal and the Graduate Theological Union called “Religion, Science, and the Ecological Crisis.” See below for a paragraph from his syllabus.



Question to be discussed: Is there a human made climate change threat? Is there a conflict between a love of science and devotion to a mysterious God? If you are a scientist, how can you also be a person with faith? Why are social changes to address the threat of climate change so hard to achieve? Are faith communities a part of the problem? How has the scientific community missed in its communication about climate change and the need for change? What can faith communities do?


“Modern expectations for religion and science are not being fulfilled in contemporary society. Religion has emerged as a political force and, in some cases, believes itself to be an independent source of truth about the nature of the material world. Science — on which modern reason, access to reality, and environmental management have rested – – no longer anchors and bounds public discourse and government decisions. Rather, science is being privatized by corporate interests, challenged by complex eco-social interactions , opposed by creationists, heralded as destiny by genetic engineers, accused of being socially constructed and value-laden by post-modernists. Religion, on the other hand, has had to reckon with the findings of science, including ecology, in its theological and moral reasoning as part of an ongoing cultural debate with modernity its role in religious life. Modern science has made it clear that we are in an ecological crisis that hurts the poor, puts humanity on a technological treadmill, and raises complex ethical questions about our common future. At the same time, stronger scientific knowledge a bout the environment has not led to stronger governance, due in part to free-market fundamentalism, but also because of religion’s curious yet in-excusable silence on the matter.”
Richard Norgard