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From Sustainability to Resilience: Contributions from Religious Traditions

Lecture by Sam Thomas, Ph.D., SJU ’94
Monday, November 6, 2017, 4:15 PM
Gorecki Center 204A, College of Saint Benedict

Religious communities have long used words like “stewardship” and “creation care” (among others) to describe attitudes and practices of concern for nature. More recently, the language of “sustainability” has become the norm in secular environmental advocacy and activism, particularly on college campuses. As the realities and the extent of human-caused climate disruption, biodiversity loss, environmental injustice, desertification, and other social and environmental disasters continue to unfold, the concepts of “resilience” and “adaptability” have emerged as more appropriate to the contemporary situation. This lecture will weave together contributions to this emerging discourse from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and Native American perspectives. 

Sam Thomas, Ph.D., is professor of religion and chair of the department of religion at California Lutheran University, where he teaches courses in biblical studies, Jewish-Christian relations, environmental ethics, and religion and food. He is the founding director of the SEEd Project (Sustainable Edible Education) and serves on the boards of Los Padres ForestWatch and Slow Food Ventura County. He is a St. John’s alumnus (’94), has graduate degrees from Yale University and the University of Notre Dame, and has written articles and books on the Dead Sea Scrolls, early Judaism and Christianity, religion and climate change, and religion and food. He is a member of the current round of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation, the official dialogue between the Episcopal and Roman Catholic churches in the United States, for which he is drafting a paper on “ecological reconciliation.” 

Sponsored by the Jay Phillips Center in collaboration with the Sustainability Office at the College of Saint Benedict