About the Conference "The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and the Natural World."
An extraordinary gathering of scientists, religious and spiritual leaders, conservationists, and resource practitioners will occur at Yale University, May 11-14, 2000, to explore, "The Good in Nature and Humanity: Connecting Science, Religion, and the Natural World." This meeting is the collaborative effort of the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the Yale University Divinity School, the Wilderness Society, and the National Religious Partnership for the Environment.
The conference will examine the divide between faith and reason that has been characteristic of Western and other civilizations for millenia, and, thus, is most appropriately addressed as we move toward the challenge of achieving a sustainable future for the twenty-first century. We believe the separation between science and spirituality can be reconciled by the convergent interests of both in seeking to understand the natural world and its link to a more satisfying and fulfilling humanity. By exploring the connections between spiritual and scientific understandings of nature, the conference will seek to better equip society to confront and resolve two of the most significant crises of our time--global environmental destruction and a diminished faith and morality.
The conference will engage these issues through a combination of intellectual inquiry, practical examination, and personal reflection. This inquiry occurs one-half century since the death of Aldo Leopold, a founder of the Wilderness Society, a graduate of Yale University and the Yale Forestry School, and the author of the seminal ethical and scientific exploration, A Sand County Almanac. This meeting will examine critical aspects of the human relation to nature. It will reach beyond intellectual inquiry, however, by seeking to link these understandings with the practical imperative of ethical land and resource use. A practical focus of the meeting will be to generate a dialogue among various resource practitioners whose everyday decisions can reflect an integration of practical, scientific, and ethical perspectives. Scientists and spiritual leaders working with farmers, loggers, developers, planners, and others will endeavor to identify and environmental ethic that pragmatically assists in rendering a healthy balance between the use, management, and protection of the land and its resources. We also will strive to relate these ethical understandings to our individual and collective quest for positive growth and social harmony.