Cosmology and Ecology

By Sam Mickey
In The Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene
Edited by Dominick A. DellaSala and Michael I. Goldstein
Oxford: Elsevier, 2018.
Volume 4, p. 151-157.
Read this article here.

Humans, throughout their evolution, have used stories, images, and symbols to understand themselves and the world around them. Different understandings have emerged with the ongoing development of arts, religions, philosophies, and sciences. The complex and uncertain dynamics of the Anthropocene are compelling humans to revisit and reconstruct those understandings, to rethink what it means to be human (anthropos) during an epoch in which the planetary scale of human impacts are inextricably entangling human history and natural history. Understanding the planetary presence of the human species requires an understanding of the relationships between the life, land, air, and water of Earth as well as an understanding of the cosmic context in which human-Earth relations are situated. In other words, understanding the dynamics of the Anthropocene requires an understanding of ecological and cosmological perspectives.


Mary Evelyn Tucker to speak at Gunston Oct. 27

The Star
October 24, 2017

CENTREVILLE — On Friday, Oct. 27, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, co-author with Brian Swimme of “Journey of the Universe,” will be visiting Gunston for the fall installment of the school’s In Celebration of Books program.

“Journey of the Universe” was the 2017 Gunston community summer read and focuses on the story of the universe as seen through the multiple lenses of scientific discovery and human insight.

The book already has been incorporated into Gunston’s 10th-grade curriculum as part of its History of Ideas course.

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Faculty members reflect on their experiences with digital teaching

By Patrick C. O'Brien
Yale News
September 25, 2017

Just as the composition of our faculty and the diversity of our student body have changed, our approach to teaching must continue to evolve as well,” said President Peter Salovey during his 2013 inaugural address.

Over the last 18 months, four female faculty members have worked with Yale’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) to disseminate their knowledge more broadly via massive open online courses (MOOCs) and to experiment with collaborative, digital education initiatives such as a companion mobile application related to a new MOOC and experiential learning opportunities for alumni.

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Taking a Walk Through Deep Time

New App Offers a Lesson on the Earth's Long History
By Sam Mowe
Garrison Institute
August 24, 2017

Given the short-term concerns and speed that characterize our busy modern lives, it’s easy to forget that our original ancestors were bacteria. A new app called Deep Time Walk attempts to remind us of our common evolutionary history with all life—including single-celled prokaryotes such as bacteria that formed about 4,000 million years ago—through the combination of an audio book and physical walk.

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Universe's unfolding story set to music in composer’s new oratorio

By Sharon Abercrombie
National Catholic Reporter
June 30, 2017

Passionist Fr. Thomas Berry, the cultural historian and early prophet of the current environmental crisis, encouraged artists and musicians throughout his lifetime (1914-2009) to tell the magnificent 13.8 billion-year history of the universe through music, poetry and dance.

As direct ancestors of the stars, humans collectively share a unique role as compassionate beings, to protect and to heal the earth, Berry said. Creative artists, he argued, can bring us to this point of conversion quickest of all.

The latest evidence that they have been listening is Sam Guarnaccia, a composer, classical guitarist and environmentalist who will debut a major musical ritual based on an intimate look into the universe Friday night in Cleveland.

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Review of Living Cosmology, by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

Ecology & Justice Series. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, April 2016.
368 pages. $30.00. Paperback. ISBN 9781626981782.
For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Review by Jay D. O. Potter
Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion
February 3, 2017

Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to ‘Journey of the Universe’ is a diverse and hopeful reflection on the work Thomas Berry and his call towards the “Great Work” for an ecologically sustainable future. Living Cosmology combines many of the great ecological thinkers within a comprehensive range of Christianity.

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Online courses awaken beginners to unfolding universe story

By Sharon Abercrombie
National Catholic Reporter
September 20, 2016

A set of online courses set to debut this week will offer students an introductory dive into cosmological thought and the epic story of the unfolding of the universe and life itself.

“Journey of the Universe: A Story for Our Times” is a course series created by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, both research scholars in Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and co-founders of its Forum on Religion and Ecology.

The three-class program explores the universe’s formation through a multidisciplinary lens, along with the evolutionary implications for humans and their ecological future. It builds off the worldview of Passionist Fr. Thomas Berry, with one of the classes dedicated to his life and insights.

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The Unfolding Story of the Universe: A Conversation with Mary Evelyn Tucker and Julianne Warren

By Sam Mowe
Garrison Institute
July 20, 2016

In their Journey of the Universe project—which includes a film, book, and website—philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme and historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker attempt to tell the biggest story ever told: the history of the universe. Through a compelling blend of scientific facts and humanistic inquiry, they move from exploring the formation of the galaxies, stars, planets, and evolution of life on Earth to reflecting on the role of humanity during our current moment of social and ecological challenges.

One person whose work has been deeply influenced by the Journey of the Universe project is writer and ecological thinker Julianne Warren. In her different projects exploring the Anthropocene, Warren has used Journey of the Universe as a touchstone while she asks questions about hope and human responsibility.

I recently spoke with Tucker and Warren by phone to discuss some of the big ideas explored in Journey of the Universe, such as the transformative power of story, the relationship between science and the humanities, and how we can create meaning in the space between knowledge and mystery.

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From Independence to Interdependence

May 19, 2016
By Cassandra Farrin
Westar Institute

When you trek up a mountainside and pass over a ridge into a gorgeous vista of peaks bathed in the colors of sunset, and when later that night the stars spangle out over your tent and an alpine lake, reflecting back their own infinite mass, don’t the words that come to mind feel strangely religious? Awe. Wonder. Beauty. Surely this, if nothing else, reassures us that the chasm between science and religion is not as wide as it all-too-often feels. We welcomed with delight Mary Evelyn Tucker’s comments on this subject as part of the Westar Institute’s Spring 2016 national meeting in Santa Rosa, California.

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An Integrating Story for a Sustainable Future: A Way toward New Human-Earth Relations

By Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Center for Humans and Nature
March 2016

We know that the obstacles to the sustainable development and flourishing of life’s ecosystems are considerable. To meet these challenges, the next stage of evolutionary history will require an expansion of our worldview and ethics. The human community has now for the first time a scientific story of the evolution of the universe and our planet that shows us our profound connection to the evolutionary process. We are only discovering its larger meaning as evolution continues to unfold. This is why we created the Journey of the Universe, namely a film, book and educational series to tell the story of cosmic, Earth, and human as an evolutionary epic.

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Earth Charter Netherlands organizes Journey of the Universe youth event

Earth Charter
December 15, 2015

At the end of 2015, the Earth Charter Netherlands network organized a youth event entitled “Journey of the Universe Cinema” to showcase the Journey of the Universe film and guide participants in interactive workshop exercises and discussion. The project received financial support from The Valley Foundation and the Thomas Berry Foundation. A special Journey of the Universe Cinema was organized in A Lab in Amsterdam and welcomed 55 participants plus another several organizers and special guests.

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A Roaring Force from One Unknowable Moment

Mary Evelyn Tucker in conversation with Kathleen Dean Moore
Orion Magazine
May | June 2015

The story of the universe has the power to change history

The world has arrived at a pivot point in history. You could drive a nail through this decade, and the future of the planet would swing in the balance. What can be done to tip the scales toward a resilient, and flourishing, future? Three things, we’re told, all of them essential. First, stop damaging the planet’s life-supporting systems. Second, imagine new and better ways to live on Earth. Third, and most important, change the story about who we are, we humans—not the lords of all creation, but lives woven into the complex interdependencies of a beautiful, unfolding planetary system. Many people are pursuing the first two goals. But Mary Evelyn Tucker has taken up the third, making it her life’s work.

Read the full article.



Bigger Than Science, Bigger Than Religion

By Richard Schiffman
Yes! Magazine
February 18, 2015

We’re closer to environmental disaster than ever before. We need a new story for our relationship with the Earth, one that goes beyond science and religion.

The world as we know it is slipping away. At the current rate of destruction, tropical rainforest could be gone within as little as 40 years. The seas are being overfished to the point of exhaustion, and coral reefs are dying from ocean acidification. Biologists say that we are currently at the start of the largest mass extinction event since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. As greenhouse gases increasingly accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures are likely to rise faster than our current ecological and agricultural systems can adapt.

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Film journeys into the cosmos’ history

By Chase Brunton
The Maine Campus - The University of Maine student newspaper
January 19, 2015

Fourteen billion years ago, all of the energy in the universe was contained in a single point. Then the big bang happened, sending all of the energy in the universe scattering off in all directions.

Today, the force generated by the big bang is still causing the universe to expand outward.  Eventually, stars were created, and when those stars died millions of years later — or billions, depending on the size of the star, as smaller stars live longer — they exploded, releasing all of the elements in the universe and creating everything as we know it, from planets, to new stars, and eventually life.

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Yale conference continues 'Journey of the Universe'

By Jamie Manson
National Catholic Reporter
November 21, 2014

"What is the creativity that brought forth a trillion galaxies?"

It is a daunting question asked by evolutionary cosmologist Brian Swimme in the film "Journey of the Universe." His line echoed throughout the halls at Yale Divinity School, where hundreds gathered for the Nov. 7-9 conference "Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to 'Journey of the Universe.' "

The conference was a historic gathering of many of the finest theologians, ethicists and activists in North America, all of whom joined together to contemplate the ways in which the Christian tradition can open up more fully to a sense of the sacredness of the universe and the flourishing of the Earth community.

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Event in Brief: 'Journey of the Universe' Executive Producer Speaks, Film Screened

By Bill Cessato      
Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies
October 29, 2014

An executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning documentary “Journey of the Universe” spoke at Georgetown today as part of a film screening hosted by the School of Nursing & Health Studies and the university’s Environment Initiative.

Mary Evelyn Tucker, PhD, a historian of religions who is a senior lecturer and research scholar at Yale University, says a purpose of the documentary and related book is to help identity a “flourishing future for all life on the planet.”

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Science and Religion talk for Science Week and beyond

St. Columbans Mission Society
August 25, 2014

How do the traditional 'creation stories' of the world’s great religions engage with the 21st century story of the evolution of the universe? This is a question that needs to be part of the conversation in all religious traditions. Fundamentalist responses just don’t work in this scientific age.

The Journey of the Universe is a film that helps this discussion along. On Thursday evening 7th August, 140 people from different faiths gathered in the Mitchell Theatre in Sydney to watch the film and address this question. The Emmy Award winning documentary sparked much discussion.

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Journeying into the Universe with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

Global Generation
July 11, 2014

This month Global Generation had the honour of hosting Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim in the Kings Cross Skip Garden. As well as being professors at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies they are co-producers, with Brian Swimme. of the film "Journey of the Universe" which has had a big influence on Global Generation’s work. writes Jane Riddiford.

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Peace with the Planet

By Gary Demuth
Salina Journal
December 26, 2013

Cultural historian and philosopher Thomas Berry often said there can be no peace among humans without making peace with the planet.

In books such as "The Universe Story," Berry developed a new "story" about the Earth that stresses the interconnectedness between human beings and their environment and how natural resources are being diminished in large part by modern industrial technology.

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Opinion: Fellow travelers on Earth depend on each other on 14-billion-year-old adventure

By Winslow Myers
Times of Trenton
December 15, 2013

Through the work of the eco-philosopher Thomas Berry and his protégés, a new way of looking at the universe and our human place in it has been established. While still not “mainstream,” this new story has given hope not only to hundreds of thousands of environmental activists around the world, but also to thoughtful people in many fields, including economics, theology, education, politics and science.

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