Aaron Perry


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  • Episode 71 – Karenna Gore, Director, Center for Earth Ethics

Karenna Gore, founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, describes eco-ministry, and the need for healing in multiple arenas and contexts in our communities. She discusses the historic context of colonialism and cultural subjugation, and how such dynamics over centuries have lead to the current ecological crisis, and massive social inequity found world-wide.

Sharing examples of what an Earth Ethic looks like, Karenna cites the “Circle of Moral Concern” decision making framework found in Sweden, in which three seats are left empty among decision makers to remind them of several constituencies often without any voice: (1) the marginalized, (2) future generations, and (3) non-human life, a.k.a. the biosphere. She references a universally acknowledged metaphysical and spiritual truth, that we are all part of a great oneness and wholeness, and, cites Thich Nhat Hanh, “We are here to awaken to the illusion of our separateness.”

Karenna also discusses the centuries violence and oppression toward “pagan” cultures, folk ways, and women, including the seminal moment of the conversion of Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity – setting off centuries of empire-building and conquest throughout Europe and eventually world-wide. She cites Lynn White’s historic work on this topic: “The Historic Roots of Our Ecological Crisis.” She encourages us to cultivate forgiveness and compassion, especially for those experiencing anger and pain, and provides a salient way to understand the moral imperatives of our time by citing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Karenna Gore is the founder and director of the Center for Earth Ethics (CEE) at Union Theological Seminary. The Center for Earth Ethics bridges the worlds of religion, academia, policy and culture to discern and pursue the changes that are necessary to stop ecological destruction and create a society that values the long-term health of the whole. She is also an ex officio member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. Ms. Gore’s previous experience includes serving as director of Union Forum at Union Theological Seminary, legal work at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, in the legal center of Sanctuary for Families, and serving as director of Community Affairs for the Association to Benefit Children (ABC) and Riverkeeper. She has also worked as a writer and is the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Changed Modern America. Ms. Gore is a graduate of Harvard College, Columbia Law School and Union Theological Seminary. She lives in New York City with her three children.


Website Homepage: https://centerforearthethics.org/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EarthEthicsCtr/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EarthEthicsCtr
Earth Stanzas: https://earthstanzas.com

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