2008 Eco-Justice Workshops

Plenary: Climate Change and Asia Pacific 
(cosponsored with the Asia-Pacific Track)

With the loss of coastal land and the increase in frequency and severity of cyclones, regions of Asia and the Pacific are in constant battle with the effects of climate change. The results are life-threatening: shortages of drinkable water, loss of sugarcane, yams, taro and cassava, increases in diseases, and a migration of young people out of the region. A distinguished panel of speakers will explore these and other consequences of climate change in the region and provide a comprehensive look into the cost of humanity’s tampering with God’s creation.


  • Meena Raman, Friends of the Earth International / Malaysia;
  • Mr. Makoni Pulu, the Pacific Conference of Churches Youth Co-ordinator;
  • Ms. Sepiuta Hala’api’api, Youth Coordinator of the Anglican Church from Fiji


Bordering on Disaster: Social and Environmental Injustice on the Border 
(cosponsored with the Latin America Track)

While the conversation in Washington about the U.S. Mexico border often revolves around threats to national security and illegal immigration, what many policy makers don’t recognize is that this area is also a physically imposing and fragile wilderness. The “war on terror” has led to legislation like 2005’s REAL ID Act, which allows the Department of Homeland Security to override important environmental legislation in order to build fencing and other infrastructure as quickly as possible. This engaging plenary, co-sponsored by the Latin American track, will examine the environmental and social impact of both the maquiladora industry and border security infrastructure on the people that call this dynamic area home.


  • Sandra Young Purohit, Government Relations Associate, Defenders of Wildlife West Cosgrove, a former Maryknoll lay missioner and coordinator of the El Paso border immersion experience called Friends Across Borders;
  • Rev. Dr. Mari Castellanos, minister of the UCC’s Justice and Peace Action Network

Film Screening: “Renewal”

“Renewal” is the first feature-length documentary to capture the breadth and vitality of America’s religious-environmental movement. In rural communities, suburbs and cities, people of faith are rolling up their sleeves in practical and far-reaching ways. Offering a profound message of hope, “Renewal” shows individuals and communities driven by the deepest source of inspiration – their spiritual and religious convictions – being called to re-examine what it means to be human and how we live on this planet.

Throughout, “Renewal” attempts to paint an honest picture of how much work will be needed to stem the tide of environmental devastation. Its compelling characters and stories inspire the vision and commitment that addressing the challenge will require.

The 90-minute documentary is designed for theatrical and community screenings, and for broadcast, yet each of “Renewal’s” eight stories also stands on its own.


Plenary: Eco-Theology

Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology in the Theological and Graduate Schools of Drew University, teaches and writes across a wider range of contemporary theological and religious studies. After a semi-nomadic childhood, undergraduate studies in theology in Heidelberg, Germany, and an M.Div. from Eden Seminary in 1977, she pursued doctoral studies at Claremont Graduate School, in conjunction with the Center for Process Studies. With John B. Cobb, Jr. as her advisor, she received her Ph.D in 1984. After 3 years as Assistant Professor at Xavier University, she has taught at Drew ever since, offering seminars in the reconstruction of historical Christian doctrine.

Systematic theology, often called constructive theology in its contemporary form, involves a deconstructive as well as a creative moment. In the constructive task, Keller employs a wide hermeneutical palette, including feminist and gender studies, metaphorical, biblical, and literary readings, process and poststructuralist philosophies, and practices of ecological and social justice.


  • Dr. Catherine Keller, Professor of Constructive Theology at Drew University; Beth Norcross

Protecting the Most Vulnerable: Nuclear Weapons, Contamination and Environmental Health

The government currently calibrates radiation protection standards according the amount that would harm a strong, fit, Caucasian male in the prime of his life. What about the rest of us? Radiation standards should be based on the most vulnerable members of our population—pregnant women, nursing mothers, fetuses, and children. Come hear about the real effect of radiation exposure on vulnerable populations—and find out what you can do to change the standard and help heal afflicted communities around the nation.


  • Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research; Cindy and Sara Sauer, former residents of Minooka, IL near the Exelon Power Plant

The Science of Climate Change

This workshop will cover the basics of climate change science, the analysis behind why we need 80% reductions by 2050, and what strong, science-based climate policy looks like.


  • Monica La, Legislative and Outreach Assistant for the Union of Concerned Scientists Climate Program.


Plenary: Climate & Church: How Global Climate Change Will Impact Core Church Ministries

The impacts of global climate change threaten all of God’s creation and will maek it more difficult for people of faith to care for those in need. With expected increases in drought, storm intensity, disease, species extinction, and flooding, the impacts of global climate change will increase the lack of food, shelter, and water available, particularly to those living in or near poverty. This workshop will explore how these changes will effect vulnerable populations and the work of the church in ministry.


  • Joyce Tembenu, food security volunteer with Salima Womens Network on Gender SAWG) in Malawi;
  • Jen Smyers, Associate for Immigration and Refugee Policy of Church World Service;
  • Rajyashri Waghray, Director of the CWS Education & Advocacy Program

Contributing Sponsors & Partner Organizations