Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker @ Religion & Ecology Summit

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Bill McKibben Greets Mary Evelyn Tucker (Photo by Joe Brusky available on Flickr)

I’m blogging live from the Religion and Ecology Summit today. The prolific, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University and director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, just finished giving her keynote address. Here are some quotes that stood out to me:

“We have the find the words to explain why we love the Earth.”

Communicating complex scientific, ethical, economic, political, and philosophical ideas in a moving way is one of the biggest challenges to the environmental movement. If we ask people of faith to care for creation, will it alienate secular environmentalists? If we highlight climate scientists’ dire predictions of the future, will we overwhelm people? Is there a way to inspire industry, conservative Republicans, and other, historically un-environmentally-interested groups?

Dr. Tucker’s call to find the words to explain why we love the Earth is simple because it asks everyone to think about the relationship they have with the world around them. Why do you love the Earth?

“The health issues are really going to bring us together.”

Besides my work on EdenKeeper, I also write for a few other publications. I’ve found that people get most excited and interested about environmental issues when I can tie it to their health.

For example, recycled-tire crumb rubber infill has environmental impacts on wildlife, water quality, and air pollution. But people are most concerned about the material’s carcinogenic properties. While I think there are many reasons to ban the use of tire turf, I think the federal, state, and local government will eventually prohibit the material because it causes health impacts. It causes an immediate impact to people.

With other environmental issues — climate change, air pollution, water pollution, and species loss — it’s important to tie these issues to something that will immediately impact people. In that way, people are more inspired to take action.

“The most renewable energy that we have, in addition to water and wind, is the resilience of the human spirit. We can make this transition into a flourishing future.”

One of my favorite things about the religion and ecology movement, is its hope. Perhaps people of faith can look past the dire scientific predictions and believe that we can overcome better than other environmentalists. But having faith in the resilience of the human spirit is critical to stay sane as you continue to battle rich lobbyists, misguided politicians, and people with a short-term outlook on the world.

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About the Author

I'm an organic-eating, energy-saving naturalist who composts and tree hugs in her spare time. I have a background in environmental law, lobbying, and field work. I believe in God; however, I do not call myself a Christian or a Jew or a member of any religion. I am merely someone who finds a spiritual connection to all humans and the environment. You can find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .