The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD), in collaboration with multiple partners, has co-organized ten interfaith environmental conferences since 2011. The events provided an opportunity for religious leaders and scientists to address issues of environmental sustainability, and created a forum for clergy, seminary deans, faculty, and students, politicians, and faith members to participate in a wide array of interactive sessions on faith and ecology. Over 1,000 people participated in these conferences, which were held in Jerusalem (five); New York City; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Dallas; Columbus, Ohio; and Durban, South Africa. The conferences received broad media coverage in over 60 international media outlets.
Our Most Recent Conferences
The Interfaith Seminary Symposium on Sustainable Behavior took place in Jerusalem on October 28, 2019 at University of Notre Dame at Tantur. Religious figures spoke about religious imperatives for promoting environmentally sustainable practices. The Symposium engaged over 100 seminary deans, faculty, and students in how to integrate environmental sustainability into seminary education. Click here for more information.
The Los Angeles Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education took place from Sunday evening to Tuesday afternoon, November 3 to 5, 2019 at American Jewish University’s Brandeis Bardin Campus in Simi Valley, CA. Faculty, staff and administrators from California and other Western U.S. seminaries, theological schools, and rabbinical schools, and clergy explored how theological education can address our ecological reality. Click here for more information.
The Southwest Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education took place on March 13 and 14, 2019 at Brite Divinity School on the campus of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. To read more, click here.
The Interfaith Climate Change & Renewable Energy Conference took place on May 9, 2018 in Jerusalem, Israel. 150 people attended. Learn more by clicking here.
Symposia on Ecologically Informed Theological Education
ICSD organizes conferences for seminary deans, faculty, and others around faith and ecology. The conferences help equip seminaries with the tools needed to prepare the next generation of religious leaders to effectively engage in Creation care and environmental justice.
ICSD has co-organized seven conferences for seminary faculty and deans on ecologically-informed theological education: in Fort Worth, Texas in March, 2019, in Atlanta in March 2018, in Columbus, Ohio in October 2017, in Washington D.C. in March 2017, in New York City in 2016, and in Jerusalem in 2015 and 2014.
The Southeast Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education took place at the Columbia Theological March 21-23, 2018 – Atlanta, GA. Learn More
Midwest Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education, October 2017, Columbus, OH
We were pleased to partner on The Midwest Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education, which was held on the Methodist Theological School in Ohio’s (MTSO) campus in Delaware, Ohio from October 18th to 19th with 75 people in attendance from seminaries around the Midwest and beyond. The Symposium began with an optional morning tour of the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University. Dr. Lonnie Thompson, Distinguished Professor of Earth Sciences at OSU and one of the leading climate scientists in the U.S., provided a keynote address on climate science. For many faculty it was the first time they heard from a climate scientist in-person. Read More
The Symposium was co-organized by MTSO, the Green Seminary Initiative, and our organization, based on support from the Henry Luce Foundation and The Julia Burke Foundation.
Washington, DC, March 2017, Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education
In March 2017, ICSD co-organized a Symposium on Ecologically Informed Theological Education in Washington, DC where seminary deans and faculty explored ways of integrating faith and ecology into their theology curricula. Seminary faculty and deans conducted workshops that explored a number of topics including ways that seminaries can encourage faculty to incorporate ecology teachings into existing courses in theology, the Bible, homiletics, ethics, and counseling, among others. The event drew 70 participants and speakers from more than 10 seminaries and six states in the Mid-Atlantic region. In his keynote address on Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si’ — On Care for Our Common Home, Monsignor Kevin Irwin, research professor, underlined the importance of broadly integrating ecological concerns into theological education, which “would lead to an ecological consciousness across theological specializations and fields.” The Symposium was co-organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development, the Washington Theological Consortium, the Green Seminary Initiative, and Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and hosted by The Catholic University of America‘s School of Theology and Religious Studies. To read more, and view videos and photos, click here.
New York City, 2016, Faith and Ecology in Seminary Education Conference
In December 2016, ICSD co-organized a Faith and Ecology in Seminary Education Conference in New York City. 65 participants- mostly seminary faculty and deans- attended the conference, which worked to equip the next generation of religious leaders to more effectively educate about Creation care and stewardship. The conference was co-organized by The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development; the Center for Earth Ethics of Union Theological Seminary; the Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the Jewish Theological Seminary; and the Green Seminary Initiative.
Jerusalem, 2015, Religious Education in the Era of Climate Change
On November 4th, 2015, Religious Education in the Era of Climate Change: A Summit of Conscience took place in Jerusalem. This one-day event promoted ideas and action plans to encourage faith-based environmental education in seminaries and theological schools in the Holy Land. The conference included discussions around the regional impact of climate change and subsequent urgency of this work; best practices from field experts; and a forum for creative dialogue among participants. The event was co-organized by the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.
Jerusalem, 2014, Faith and Ecology Conference
In October 2014, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy and seminary students convened around a shared vision of ecological sustainability at the Faith and Ecology Conference. The conference educated over 100 clergy members, seminary students, and others and provided tools and inspiration to help expand faith-based environmental teaching and action. Moving one step beyond previous ICSD conferences, this one-day event incorporated action planning sessions for each participating institution to return home with plans to “green” their places of study and worship and continue collaborating across religions to create a more sustainable Holy Land. This event was part of the Faith and Science Earth Alliance, which brings faith and science leaders together to catalyze shifts in society to address climate change.
Jerusalem, 2012, Interfaith Climate and Energy Conference
The Interfaith Climate and Energy Conference took place at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim Conference Center in Jerusalem on March 19th, 2012. The Conference featured world and Holy Land-based religious leaders speaking out on the ethical imperative and religious basis for action on climate change and use of renewable energy. The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung co-organized the conference, and 130 people participated. To read more about the 2012 conference, click here.
Jerusalem, 2011, Interfaith Eco Forum
In July, 2011, the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development put on the Interfaith Eco Forum in Jerusalem. This Forum was the culmination of The Holy Land Climate Change Declaration Project, which successfully brought together religious leaders in the Holy Land to endorse a joint statement on climate change. In April, 2011, the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land (CRIHL), representing the high religious authorities of the Holy Land, endorsed the Declaration. The Declaration articulates a religious call for action to address climate change from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religious leaders in the Holy Land. The Holy Land Climate Change Declaration Project worked to promote a multiplier effect for action on climate change by leveraging the moral authority of religious leaders in the Holy Land. It also advanced coexistence in the Holy Land by creating an example of interfaith cooperation on an area of joint concern.
United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa (2011)
The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development collaborated with the Interfaith Declaration on Climate Change in organizing interfaith press conferences at the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-17) in Durban, South Africa in late 2011. The press conference featured respected religious leaders and scientists, who underscored the seriousness of global climate change already underway, and called for immediate action. They highlighted the unprecedented string of climate and weather catastrophes experienced globally in 2011, including over $50 billion in damages in the United States alone.
The Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA) and the Abibimman Foundation of Africa also collaborated in putting on the conferences. The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development received support from the Julia Burke Foundation for its work on this initiative.