Environmental Theologian Speaks on "Journey of the Universe" in New York
On March 7, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, adjunct professor at Yale University's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Divinity School, delivered a lecture at the SGI-USA New York Culture Center as part of the organization's Culture of Peace Lecture Series. Some 200 attended.
This series was launched in 2007, aiming to engage people in dialogue on the values, attitudes and behaviors that reject violence and inspire creative energy toward the peaceful resolution of conflict.
In Dr. Tucker's lecture she introduced her recent project, "An Ecological Vision of Peace: Journey of the Universe." Through a book, DVD series and film, this project tells the narrative story of and the evolution of the universe and Earth, drawing on the latest scientific knowledge, in a way that makes it relevant and accessible to the viewer. The film had just been completed on the day of the lecture and excerpts were shown in the meeting.
Dr. Tucker is a cofounder and codirector of the Forum on Religion and Ecology and a member of the Earth Charter International Council. She mentioned that the day of the lecture was the 38th anniversary of her grandfather's passing and the 5th anniversary of her father's passing, both of whom had a great impact on her life.
She commented, "As a people and as a nation, there are two different stories told: the world's religions and the scientific story. We are now living in the midst of a wonderful story. Drawing forth this power of story brings a sense of meaning, orientation and purpose. Cosmology is the largest scale story we can tell. Functional cosmology motivates us to a place of deeper meaning."
She added, "A change of consciousness can mean a change of conscience. We affect and are being affected by the transforming and nourishing powers of heaven and earth. We are part of a unity of life. Our care, our compassion will make a difference in the world. What we do collectively will matter."
Before the lecture, a dialogue was held between Dr. Tucker and youth members of SGI-USA. Replying to their questions, she stressed religions' role in tackling global problems including environmental issues. In this context she praised SGI President Ikeda's continuous effort to conduct dialogues as one model of building world peace. She expressed her appreciation for Mr. Ikeda and SGI for their continuous support of the Earth Charter Initiative.
[Adapted from an article in the March 19, 2011, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of SGI Office of Public Information]