TWU to host conference on faith and the environment

Langley, British Columbia— The whaling controversy, civil disobedience over old growth forests and the role that faith plays in environmental conflict are issues that will be discussed at the second international conference on faith and the environmental profession at Trinity Western University, May 26-28. The conference will draw together environmental professionals and academics seeking to apply biblical ethics to some of the most pressing environmental problems facing society today.

“In the last decade we have seen an increasing degree of verbal and physical confrontation around environmental issues,” says David Clements, PhD, associate professor of biology at Trinity Western University. “There are general conferences for laymen, but few conferences for professionals already in the field. We want to give the professionals and public an opportunity to meet together, listen to each others’ viewpoints and discuss environmental issues at hand.”

The conference begins on Friday at 7 p.m. in Block Hall of the Neufeld Science Centre at Trinity Western University with a free-of-charge presentation by Susan Drake Emmerich. Emmerich, a former environmental negotiator with the U.S. State Department, and present PhD student at the University of Wisconsin, will feature her conflict resolution work between the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, one of the largest regional environmental groups in the U.S. and the blue crab fishery off Tangier Island, Virginia. Emmerich will explain how her unique “faith-based approach” to the blue crab fishery conflict has brought about a peaceful conclusion to what could have been a disastrous situation.

Other keynote speakers for the weekend include Dr. Loren Wilkinson, professor at Regent College in Vancouver and editor of the well-known book Earthkeeping in the Nineties. Wilkinson, a resident of Galiano Island in the Georgia Strait, has more to offer than pure academics. He has been on the front lines of the clear-cutting conflict at Clayoquot Sound and will relay his story and views on civil disobedience.

George Kallappa, a Makah native from a traditional whaling family will speak on the whaling controversy from a First Nations perspective. Kallappa is a member of the Makah Whaling Commission and director of the Native Christian Resource Center.

“The speakers will show how hope and forgiveness may become important ingredients in resolving environmental disputes,” says Clements.

The conference will also feature a series of interactive workshops on agriculture, forestry and land-use. International concerns will be accompanied by two field trips showcasing local environmental issues.

“We’re forging something new,” says Clements. “These are not viewpoints that one would usually hear. It’s a unique chance for the public to learn about alternative methods to resolving tension in an area that has been characterized by on-going conflict.”

For more information on the conference, see the web site: or contact Mike Schulz at Trinity Western University, (604)888-7511.

Trinity Western University, located in Langley, B.C., is a privately funded Christian liberal arts university enrolling 2,763 students this year. With a broad-based, liberal arts and sciences curriculum, the University offers undergraduate degrees in 34 major areas ranging from business, education and computer science to biology and nursing, and 12 graduate degrees including counselling psychology, theology and administrative leadership.

Last Updated: 2012-08-21
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