The international seminar, led by Dr. Emilio Chuvieco and organized by the Environmental Ethics chair of University of Alcalá, the Tatiana Perez de Guzman el Bueno Foundation and the Social Promotion of Culture Foundation, aimed to foster the dialogue between scientists, theologians and religious leaders to promote a closer cooperation between sciences and religious traditions for environmental conservation.
The seminar was centered on the Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato si’, and the opportunities it opens to foster collaboration of world major religious traditions to mitigate environmental problems. Seventeen scientists, theologians and religious leaders from thirteen different countries and eight religious traditions participated in the seminar. The small number of invitees facilitated the informal and friendly dialogue between participants. No external public attended the meeting, but press conferences were held a few days before the seminar and one-day afterwards.
Opening of the Seminar by Jumana Trad, President of the Social Promotion of Culture Foundation and Emilio Chuvieco, Seminar’s organizer.
The seminar began with a scientific analysis of the environmental situation. Dr. Thomas Stocker, coordinator of the group on the Physical Basis of Climate Change’s latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the UN, explained the scientific evidence of climate change. Dr. Anny Cazenave, from the National Center of Space Studies in France, described the environmental problems of inland waters and oceans. Peter H. Raven, an expert scientist in botany from the University of Washington in St. Louis, warned about biodiversity loss, Josef Settele, professor of ecology at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, explained about problems relating to agriculture and ecosystems, and Emilio Chuvieco, professor of geography at University of Alcala reviewed the current patterns of global fire activity and their relations to climate change and social trends.
Ven. Chimey Lhatso speaks in the Seminar.
Experts in environmental ethics then presented on the theme of “Creation in crisis: dimensions of the ecological crisis”. Dr. Celia Deane-Drummond of the University of Notre Dame (US), spoke of the close relationship between Environmental and Ecological Justice. Dr. Sigurd Bergmann, professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, spoke about Technofutures, fetishes and the poor – towards a post-growth society. Dr. Josep M. Mallarach, from the Commission on spiritual and cultural values of protected Areas of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, addressed the issue of the conservation of sacred spaces. Dr. Hillary Marlow, director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, and Associate Professor of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Cambridge, highlighted the biblical and ethical values for conservation in the Christian tradition. Professor Wael Farouq, President of Tawasul Cultural Center for Inter-civilizations Dialogue (Egypt) spoke about environmental values within the Islamic tradition. Dr. Nanditha Krishna, professor at the University of Madras (India), explained the cultural and ethical values for conservation in the Hindu / Indic traditions.
Hilary Marlow and Wael Farouk