The Climate Emergency: Does Religion Matter?

You are invited to “The Climate Emergency: Does Religion Matter?”, the latest installment of the Temple of Understanding’s ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL Dialogues. These are special intimate discussions about the climate emergency with international ChangeMakers.

ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews and dialogues are ongoing programs presented by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues.

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Rabbi Ellen Bernstein is an eco-theologian, spiritual leader, writer and creative. She founded Shomrei Adamah, Keepers of the Earth, the first national Jewish environmental organization in 1988. Her books include Let the Earth Teach You Torah, Ecology and the Jewish Spirit, and The Splendor of Creation. Ellen also created the first ecologically-centered Tu B’Sh’vat (Jewish New Year of theTrees) seder in 1988 and popularized Tu B’Sh’vat as a community-wide inter-spiritual ecological arts celebration for all peoples. Her most recent book, The Promise of the Land, A Passover Haggadah is the first comprehensive, ecological haggadah (guidebook) for Passover (Behrman House, 2020). In 2020 during the pandemic, Ellen launched the Earth Seder movement, helping to organize several dozen world-wide Earth Seders on Zoom. Ellen continues to write and teach on the ecology of the Hebrew Bible, and serves on the advisory board of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. To learn more please visit and

Theodore Hiebert writes about biblical perspectives on the environment and about biblical views of identity and difference. His book The Yahwist’s Landscape: Nature and Religion in Early Israel challenges claims that the Bible privileges humans and separates them from nature, and it shows how biblical religion is grounded in the natural world. He has made contributions about biblical perspectives on nature to such works as The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, The Oxford Companion to the Bible, Earth and Word: Classic Sermons on Saving the Planet, and Interpretation. He is the author of the article on Genesis for the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Bible and Ecology. Ted was the lead translator of the Book of Genesis and one of the editors for the recent English translation, the Common English Bible (CEB). He wrote the notes to Genesis for the CEB Study Bible and for the New Interpreter’s Study Bible, based on the New Revised Standard Version. He is the Old Testament editor for Abingdon Press’s Covenant Bible Study. Ted also writes about biblical views of identity and difference. His book The Beginning of Difference: Discovering Identity in God’s Diverse World challenges exclusivist cultural interpretations of the book of Genesis and reveals a text that embraces and celebrates ethnic identities and differences. It contains a reinterpretation of the story of Babel as positive account of the origin of the world’s cultures. God’s Big Plan, which he co-authored with Elizabeth Caldwell, is a children’s story of Babel based on this new interpretation. Ted is currently at work on a study of the book of Genesis as migration literature. Ted is a member of the Mennonite Church and has served as pastor of the Boston Mennonite Congregation. He is a frequent lecturer and teacher in adult education programs in churches in the Chicago area. He is Francis A. McGaw Professor of Old Testament and Dean of the Faculty Emeritus at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and lives in Homewood, IL.


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-NY, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development-Vienna, please visit

The Human Face of the Migration Crisis: A Faith-Based Response

The scale of human migration can be overwhelming—estimates are that more people are on the move in our time than at any time in human history. To each “number” there is a human face, a person made in the image of God.

How can people of faith respond to this crisis in tangible ways? How can the Bible inform our response? To look at these and other questions related to the migration crisis we will be joined by a panel from across North America with a variety of experiences and perspectives on migration.

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vănThanh Nguyễn, S.V.D., is the author of the new book What Does the Bible Say About Strangers, Migrants and Refugees?. Nguyễn came to the United States as a refugee from Vietnam in 1975 and he is today Professor of New Testament Studies and the holder of the Francis X. Ford, M.M., Chair of Catholic Missiology at Catholic Theological Union.

Dannia and Aida Pena were born in San Salvador, El Salvador. In the 1990s they fled the Civil War in El Salvador and came to Los Angeles, California. Today, Dannia serves as an Accounting Manager at a Mental Health Center in San Antonio and Aida works just outside San Antonio in Bilingual Education. Both sisters are married with children and are active in the Focolare Movement.

Sean Ryan and Monica Nugent are university students living in Vancouver, British Columbia. As an outgrowth of their Catholic faith, both are both active in Dignity Inherent, a group working to raise awareness about human trafficking and Canada’s laws on prostitution.


CoNGO Notes: For more information on the NGO Committee on Migration, please visit For more information on the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, please visit For more information on the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values, and Global Concerns-NY, please visit