and Ecology Forum
Shri Kunja proposes to introduce a ‘Religion and Ecology
Forum’ for advanced research students. The course aims at
a systematic attempt to explore environmental questions
from the perspective of the world’s most pervasive religions.
The multiple aspects of our current environmental crisis
have created problems at a global scale. In response to
these challenges there is a growing recognition of a need
for alternative perception for human-Earth relations.
program recognizes that the academic study and engagement
of world’s religions is critical to the understanding human-earth
relationship as well as finding alternative solutions to
mould our attitudes towards the earth.
are inherent sources of power for understanding the connection
between human-nature relations. They shape our worldviews,
wield moral authority that moulds our ethos, and possess
institutional assets that can shape a socially just and
environmentally sustainable world. All the traditional world
religions possess ethical, moral, religious attitudes related
to ecological issues.
emergent study of Religion and Ecology is primarily dedicated
ot the critical exploration of the complex relationships
among human beings, their diverse religions, and the earth’s
the world’s religions explicitly or implicitly have an ecological
perspective. Buddhism for example, demonstrates a concern
for integrating all aspects of the ecosphere in our living
environment by extending compassion and loving kindness
to the animal kingdom and the flora and fauna of nature.
Hinduism values the power of the natural world through time-honored
traditions, emphasizing the need for living without excesses,
and in harmony with nature’s rhythms. Jainism stresses the
interrelatedness of all forms through a bio-cosmology, rooted
in the principle of non-violence. In Confucianism and Daoism
there is robust sensibility of the interaction of humans,
nature and the cosmos itself. Islam teachings propound a
theology of moral responsibility to the stewardship of the
earth. The pre-modern indigenous traditions of primal communities
emphasize a love for bioregions and land and a reverence
for the natural world.
of the Program
program’s main concern is to establish an interface between
ecology and religion as an academic area of study and research.
The program is designed to familiarize students with core
issues concerning Religious worldviews and cross cultural
tensions that have emerged from the historical shifts of
worldviews. Such a focus in due course can make a significant
contribution to environment policies and offer an alternative
model of ecological sustainability, universal earth-ethic
that is both comprehensive and culturally based, and responsible
patterns of living a holistic life without violating the
laws of nature.
‘greening’ of Religious Studies is bound to provide a required
change in human values, attitudes and behaviours.
course is arising from an emerging field of study which
began with a series of 10 conference sat Harvard (1996-1998)
which resulted in 10 volumes on World Religion and Ecology
(www.yale.edu/religionandecology). This Forum will
be an intellectual partner with our Centre