Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker
Co-Founder and Co-Director, The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale Senior Lecturer and Senior Scholar at Yale University
Mary Evelyn Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Senior Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. She is a co-founder and co-director with John Grim of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale. Together they organized a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School. They are series editors for the ten volumes from the conferences distributed by Harvard University Press. More...
"So it is true that in our modern world we've become gods controlling nature and that's in large measure because in one century we went from two billion to six billion people. We've become this huge presence on the planet -- devouring its resources. But also because our technologies have exploded -- within one lifetime -- absolutely exploded. Even just an electric saw cutting down trees -- much less these immense machines that are now taking off mountaintops. And so all of a sudden, we do perceive ourselves as somehow Gods over nature -- as invincible. We can do anything. And that's where technology without limits, technology without purpose, technology without any sense of respecting this complex immense system that we live within, can be absolutely unsettling for civilization itself. And the fact of the matter is that civilization is at stake -- because we have overextended our presence. We've overextended our technologies. And we have overextended the expectation of our control. We want to be in control and yet, what climate change, what pollution on this level, is saying -- We are out of control. Because ecosystems -- the earth itself -- is speaking back to us. And we've got to listen. We've got to listen to these voices of nature once again. So that we can sense how we can become co-creators -- not dominators -- of this system. And that's been the big issue in interpreting the Western religions and the Genesis passage of -- give them dominion over the earth. And let them be fruitful and multiply. Now these are very problematic passages, if we take them literally. And that's where we've got to -- and many theologians are -- absolutely re-interpreting dominion as stewardship. And so on. But even stewardship gives us the sense -- We're in control. And we've got to have other sensibilities. Other language, I think, for these human/earth relations that we're still discovering. That's exciting. That's an inter-generational work that we still have to do."
"We are participants in a process that will always be larger than our imagination or our best sciences can fully explain." Mary Evelyn Tucker in Science and Cosmology