The Climate Emergency: Does Religion Matter?

Dialogue with Rabbi Ellen Bernstein and Pastor Theodore Hiebert PhD.

Friday, Dec 17, 2021 2:30-3:30pm Online
Join us for this lively online discussion with Q&A
Rabbi Ellen Bernstein is an eco-theologian, spiritual leader, writer and creative. She founded Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, the first national Jewish environmental organization in 1988. Her books include Let the Earth Teach You Torah, Ecology and the Jewish Spirit, and The Splendor of Creation. Ellen also created the first ecologically-centered Tu B’Sh’vat (Jewish New Year of theTrees) seder in 1988 and popularized Tu B’Sh’vat as a community-wide inter-spiritual ecological arts celebration for all peoples. Her most recent book, The Promise of the Land, A Passover Haggadah is the first comprehensive, ecological haggadah (guidebook) for Passover (Behrman House, 2020). In 2020 during the pandemic, Ellen launched the Earth Seder movement, helping to organize several dozen world-wide Earth Seders on Zoom. Ellen continues to write and teach on the ecology of the Hebrew Bible, and serves on the advisory board of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. To learn more please visit and
Theodore Hiebert writes about biblical perspectives on the environment and about biblical views of identity and difference. His book The Yahwist’s Landscape: Nature and Religion in Early Israel challenges claims that the Bible privileges humans and separates them from nature, and it shows how biblical religion is grounded in the natural world. He has made contributions about biblical perspectives on nature to such works as The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet, and Interpretation. He is the author of the article on Genesis for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Ecology. Ted was the lead translator of the Book of Genesis and one of the editors for the recent English translation, the Common English Bible (CEB). He wrote the notes to Genesis for the CEB Study Bible and for the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, based on the New Revised Standard Version. He is the Old Testament editor for Abingdon Press’s Covenant Bible Study. Ted also writes about biblical views of identity and difference. His book The Beginning of Difference: Discovering Identity in God’s Diverse World challenges exclusivist cultural interpretations of the book of Genesis and reveals a text that embraces and celebrates ethnic identities and differences. It contains a reinterpretation of the story of Babel as positive account of the origin of the world’s cultures. God’s Big Plan, which he co-authored with Elizabeth Caldwell, is a children’s story of Babel based on this new interpretation. Ted is currently at work on a study of the book of Genesis as migration literature. Ted is a member of the Mennonite Church and has served as pastor of the Boston Mennonite Congregation. He is a frequent lecturer and teacher in adult education programs in churches in the Chicago area. He is Francis A. McGaw Professor of Old Testament and Dean of the Faculty Emeritus at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and lives in Homewood, IL.
About the Temple of Understanding ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL Dialogues:
Special intimate discussions about the climate emergency with international ChangeMakers
ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews (see our Youtube archive here) and dialogues are ongoing programs produced by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues. Registration is FREE. Donations are welcome!
"Environmental Theologians Commentary on COP26"
Dialogue with Imam Saffet Catovic,
Rev. Henrik Grape, Dr. Erin Lothes
This event was recorded on Nov 18, 2021 3-4pm
“What the world religious leaders are doing about the climate crisis”
Dialogue with Rev. Fletcher Harper & Rev. Brian McGurk
This event was recorded on Oct 28, 2021 1-2pm
Initiatives of Interest
In line with the Temple of Understanding ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL series, we would like to share with you about the following organizations:

Agrarian Trust - Supporting Land Access For Next Generation Farmers. "We understand it to be in our collective interest to support the kinds of relations, economic and social, that sustain the ecological integrity of land and our relationship to it through farming. More than 60 percent of American farmland is leased, much of it on a yearly basis, and much of it on a handshake agreement. This does not empower farmers to be the best stewards of the land. Longer-term tenure is the norm in many other countries, and from a historical perspective a 'commons' approach to land rights is far more reliable than the “fee simple” method.These principles represent our core values and guide us in our daily work to transform farmland ownership, tenure, and equity."

Sign on: Call for a Global Treaty "The need for urgent negotiation of a new global treaty to address the global plastic pollution crisis has emerged as a clear priority for the coming year, now endorsed by a majority of UN Member States and a wide variety of business voices."

IPES-Food "The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, COP26, took place from October 31 to November 12 in Glasgow. Food systems were notably absent from the formal agenda and subject only to weak pledges from governments, despite growing calls for action in this area. But 100 subnational authorities showed the way forward by signing the Glasgow Food and Climate Declaration and pledging further action to build sustainable food systems. IPES-Food underlined that government support can no longer keep propping up elements of industrial food systems that have continuously failed to deliver sustainability. Instead, public sector investment and research funding must go to truly sustainable and climate-resilient solutions. The panel regretted that agroecology – a low-cost, low-risk solution to get to sustainable food systems – was not explicitly mentioned by the COP presidency. Read IPES-Food’s response to the COP presidency commitments here."

GreenFaith International "Now more than ever is the time for religious groups to step forward in support of climate justice. Growing frustration must be met not by despair or apathy, but by moral imagination and an upsurge in our engagement." Join the GreenFaith Community Welcome Call on December 9.
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