Conservation and Nature Spirituality, the December program

Dr. Bron Taylor

According to author and professor David Takacs (“The Idea of Biodiversity”), Walter G. Rosen, a scientific program officer affiliated with the National Academy of Sciences, coined the term “biodiversity” when planning a 1986 National Forum on Biodiversity, designed to promote concern and action in response to increasing anthropogenic species extinctions. Rosen later recalled his impatience with the Academy, which in his view, “left no room for emotion . . . for spirit,” noting how his conflation of biological diversity into biodiversity deleted the “logical” aspect from the term.

From the outset, the word captured what many environmentalists feel about biodiversity, namely, deep love and respect. For the past 25 years, the word has been invested with religious meaning and often linked to religious terminology, beliefs and practices.

My presentation will draw on my recent book, “Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future.”

I will also discuss the ways in which people today consecrate biological diversity and the evolutionary processes, giving rise to a new, global nature religion that is increasingly providing diverse social actors with meaning and ethical guidance.

Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion and Environmental Ethics at the University of Florida and a Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich, Germany. His research focuses on the emotional and spiritual dimensions of environmental movements, and he has led and participated in a variety of international initiatives promoting the conservation of biological and cultural diversity.

As an interdisciplinary environmental studies scholar trained in ethics and religious studies, Dr. Taylor’s publications appear in articles, books and a multi-volume encyclopedia. His central scholarly interest and personal passion is the conservation of the earth’s biological diversity and how human culture might evolve rapidly enough to arrest and reverse today’s intensifying environmental and social crises, and all the suffering that flows from these trends.

The December 2011 meeting will be in room 3118 of the Nematology/Entomolgy building on the UF campus.