CALL FOR PAPERS – Conservation, Restoration, and Sustainability: A Call to Stewardship

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. November 8-10, 2012

This symposium is devoted to exploring the interdisciplinary dimensions of environmental stewardship in literature and the arts, law, philosophy, science, and religion.  We seek papers that critique, develop, and enhance conceptions of stewardship that are grounded in current scientific and cultural understanding of environmental problems.  We encourage explorations such problems as climate change, species extinction, human/animal relationships, food production, land and water use, air quality, and other environmental and resource problems of national and
international consequence.  We especially welcome presentations that also develop the underlying moral, ethical, cultural, or theological dimensions of such problems.  In other words, we seek papers that will provide guidelines for solutions and the justifications and methods for motivating conservation, restoration, and the goal of long-term sustainability.  Moreover, we expect papers that reflect various religious, philosophical, and cultural perspectives.

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Margaret Palmer (Director of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and University of Maryland),
  • Jonathan Foley (Institute on the Environment at the University of the Minnesota),
  • and J. Baird Callicott (University of North Texas and co-editor of the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy).

This symposium will address questions about:

  • Stewardship: What are the advantages and limitations of the idea of stewardship?  To which texts, stories, cosmologies, and artistic traditions can we turn for inspiration? What are the underlying values and moral limits of environmental laws?  What obstacles and opportunities are there for science to interface effectively with religion, public policy, and culture to promote better stewardship?
  • Conservation: What are the fundamental principles of conservation biology?  What are the crises of conservation we face?  How can we translate conservation biology and other relevant sciences more effectively into the languages of culture and religion, into human values?
  • Restoration: What are the challenges of ecological restoration?  How do we know when restoration is necessary?  What successes can we point to?  With the need of ecological restoration in mind, what kind of economy is a moral and efficacious one?  What is religion’s relevance to restoration?
  • Sustainability: What are the fundamental principles of sustainability?  What are the principles of intergenerational as well as intra-generational fairness?  How can we meet the needs of present and future populations?  What are the limits of resources we face and what role might faith, innovation, or modesty play in living within them?

Please send proposals for individual papers or for panels to by June 1, 2012.  Proposals for papers should be no more than 200 words and should include a CV.  Proposals for panels should include a description of the panel’s objectives and a paper proposal and a CV for each participant.

This symposium is hosted by the Environmental Ethics Initiative at Brigham Young University (BYU) and sponsored by generous funds from The Nature Conservancy and from BYU’s David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and the Colleges of Life Sciences and of Humanities.

WEBSITE – Alliance of Religions & Conservation (ARC)

Saint Francis of Assisi statue with the logo "Green Spirit" overheadAlliance of Religions & Conservation (ARC)

ARC helps the major religions of the world to develop their own environmental programmes, based on their own core teachings, beliefs and practices.  ARC was founded in 1995 by HRH Prince Philip. It now works with 11 major faiths through the key traditions within each faith.

See also Matthew McDermott’s latest piece, “Stewardship Over Creation: Christianity & The Environment.”