Three women leaders of Interfaith organizations that focus on the environment discuss the many challenges and opportunities that have helped shape their leadership styles. What do each feel are the most significant contributions they have made in the area of interfaith education? What led them to choose climate change and environmental justice as their focus? What kinds of obstacles have they had to overcome and where have they found support and encouragement? Each will offer their own personal philosophy and style of what leadership means to them as a way of encouraging the next generation to step into leadership roles in any profession.
About our Dialogue speakers:
The Reverend Canon Sally Grover Bingham, an Episcopal priest and Canon for the Environment in the Diocese of California has been active in the environmental community for twenty-five years. She is also founder and president of The Regeneration Project, which is focused on its Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) campaign, a religious response to global warming. The IPL campaign includes a national network of over 10,000 congregations with affiliated programs in 38 states. She has brought widespread recognition to the link between faith and the environment, and as one of the first faith leaders to fully recognize global warming as a moral issue, she has mobilized thousands of religious people to put their faith into action through energy stewardship and advocacy. The Rev. Bingham recently joined President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is a member of the Forum on Children and Nature. She serves on the board of directors of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Environmental Working Group, and the U.S. Climate Action Network, as well as the national advisory board for the Union of Concerned Scientists. The Interfaith Power & Light campaign and the Rev. Bingham have received numerous awards including the 2007 U.S. EPA Climate Protection Award, the Purpose Prize, the Energy Globe Award and commendation as a “sacred gift to the planet” by the World Wildlife Fund. The Rev. Bingham was named one of the top fifteen green religious leaders by Grist magazine and has been recognized as a Climate Hero by Yes! Magazine. She has received honorary Doctorates of Divinity from the University of the South, The Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and the College of the Holy Cross. Sally is the lead author of Love God Heal Earth, a collection of 21 essays on environmental stewardship by herself and fellow religious leaders, published by St. Lynn’s Press in February 2009.
Alison Van Dyk has been the Executive Director of the Temple of Understanding for 20 years. She has executive produced five films about the organization’s interfaith work and oversees the annual FORUM on the environment, an Eco Justice For All monthly dialogue series and the TOU internship program. In 2008 she expanded the organization’s dialogue focus to bring attention about the dangers of climate change to interfaith religious leaders and actors. Today TOU programming encompasses eco justice and human rights issues, peace, security for women and children worldwide and food sovereignty. She is a member of the UN Committee of Religious NGO’s and the UN Committee of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She is also working on a new History of the Temple of Understanding’s sixty-two years of interfaith education and action. Alison began her career as a dairy farmer in Tunbridge, Vermont. In 1982 she earned a MA degree in Transpersonal Clinical Psychology and a MA in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University, Orinda, CA. She returned to Connecticut where she opened a private practice in Child and Family Counseling and designed a Child Centered Psychotherapy Program for a parochial school in the South Bronx, NY where she worked for 20 years. She is married and has two children and a granddaughter.
Mary Evelyn Tucker teaches at Yale University at the School of the Environment and the Divinity School. She is co-director with John Grim of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. With Grim she organized 10 conferences on World Religions and Ecology at Harvard. They were series editors for the 10 resulting volumes from Harvard. She co-edited Confucianism and Ecology, Buddhism and Ecology, and Hinduism and Ecology. She has authored with Grim, Ecology and Religion (Island Press, 2014). They co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology (2017) with Willis Jenkins. They are editors for the series on Ecology and Justice from Orbis Books. They have created six online courses in Religions and Ecology: Restoring the Earth Community. Tucker and Grim also edited Thomas Berry’s books, including Selected Writings (Orbis 2014). They published Thomas Berry: A Biography (Columbia University Press, 2019) with Andrew Angyal. With Brian Thomas Swimme, Tucker and Grim created a multi-media project Journey of the Universe that includes a book (Yale, 2011), an Emmy Award winning film, a series of podcast Conversations, and free online courses from Yale/Coursera. This project was inspired by the evolutionary ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. She served as vice president of the American Teilhard Association from 1978-2020. Tucker was a member of the Earth Charter Drafting committee and the International Earth Charter Council. She won the Inspiring Yale Teaching Award in 2015 and has been awarded 5 honorary degrees. With John Grim, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture.