“Planetary Grief and Species Extinction”

Dec 14 Thursday 10-11am ET

  • Tiokasin Ghosthorse, Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota, Founder “First Voices Radio”
  • Prof Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary, author, “The Planet You Inherit”
  • Arlana Redsky, Ph.D. Candidate in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta and member of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation in Northwestern Ontario

Our December 2023 ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL Dialogue speakers will question the definitions and assumptions of “ecological grief.” Grief is an emotional state that is dependent on the permanent loss of relational connections between persons and elements within the local environment according to Arlana Redsky. She also states that “relational connections between the environment and its inhabitants and humans are not homogenous. Indigenous ‘ecological grief’ and settler ‘ecological grief’ are not commensurate categories. The ‘death’ of ecosystems and species is largely due to colonialism and various manifestations therein. Settler relationships to land are predicated on property, historically constructed narratives that bolster white supremacy over access to, research of, and connection with the environment. This severely limits our ecological imagination and is not equivalent to Indigenous ontological perspectives that do not operate on a hierarchy.”

Prof Larry Rasmussen states that “most white cultures are not capable of planetary grief because Earth is not alive in their consciousness. Thus we whites do not feel planetary grief beyond personal human grief. We do not feel in the manner the Pope has written: God has joined us so closely to the world around us that we can feel the desertification of the soil almost as a physical ailment, and the extinction of a species as a painful disfigurement.”

This EJFA Dialogue will address whether species extinction is a foregone conclusion. Rasmussen explains that “species extinction at human hands (some humans far more than others) is criminal and, in religious terms, sinful. So is an even likelier reality, species diminishment short of extinction, a tattered web suffering biodiversity loss.

Our three distinguished speakers will spend time discussing efforts and thinking toward more generative categories such as land defense, community, relational accountability and healing.

About Our Speakers:

Tiokasin Ghosthorse,  is a member of the Cheyenne River Lakota Nation of South Dakota and has a long history with Indigenous activism and advocacy. Tiokasin is the Founder, Host and Executive Producer of “First Voices Radio” (formerly “First Voices Indigenous Radio”) for the last 31 years in New York City and Seattle/Olympia, Washington. In 2016, he received a Nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize from the International Institute of Peace Studies and Global Philosophy. Other recent recognitions include: Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Fellowship in Music (2016), National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship Nominee (2017), Indigenous Music Award Nominee for Best Instrumental Album (2019) and National Native American Hall of Fame Nominee (2018, 2019). He also was recently nominated for “Nominee for the 2020 Americans for the Arts Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities”. Tiokasin currently professes at The Union Theological Society. Tiokasin is a “perfectly flawed human being.”

Larry L. Rasmussen is Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York City. His most recent book is “The planet you inherit: Letters to my grandchildren when uncertainty’s a sure thing” (Broadleaf Books, 2022). His book, “Earth-honoring Faith: Religious ethics in a new key” (Oxford University Press, 2013), received the Nautilus Gold Prize for Ecology/Environment and the Nautilus Grand Prize for best 2014 book overall (27 categories). An earlier volume, “Earth Community, Earth Ethics” (Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 1996), won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in Religion of 1997. A volume written with Bruce C. Birch, Cynthia Moe-Lobeda, and Jacquiline E. Lapsley, “Bible and Ethics: A new conversation”, appeared in May, 2018 (Fortress Press). He served as a member of the Science, Ethics, and Religion Advisory Committee of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and was a recipient of a Henry Luce Fellowship in Theology, 1998-99, the Burnice Fjellman Award for Distinguished Christian Ministries in Higher Education, the Joseph Sittler Award for Outstanding Leadership in Theological Education, and the UNITAS (Distinguished Alumnus) Award from Union Theological Seminary, New York. From 1990-2000 he served as co-moderator of the World Council of Churches unit, Justice, Peace, Creation. He was the organizer of the decade project on Earth- Honoring Faith at Ghost Ranch, 2008 – 2017. In the Spring Semester 2018 he was guest professor at Union Theological Seminary and Yale University Divinity School. In the summer session of 2019 he taught in Cambridge University, England. In 2021 he was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of Christian Ethics. He and Nyla live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Arlana Redsky is a Ph.D. candidate in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, the Indigenous Research Methods Assistant for the National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education (NCIME), a member of the Indigenous Science and Technology and Society Studies research and teaching group (ISTS), and a former faculty member of the Summer Internship for Indigenous Peoples in Genomics (SING Canada). Arlana has received the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship for her dissertation research titled #CWDBeadsProject: Communicating Kincentrically on a Disease Epidemic with Indigenous Beadwork. Her M.Sc. thesis, written in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta, focused on expert perceptions regarding cervid (deer, moose, elk, and caribou) management in Alberta. Arlana’s areas of research include wildlife disease management and conservation, Kincentric ecology, Indigenous research methods, Indigenous data sovereignty, anti-racism, and trauma-informed pedagogy.

Arlana Redsky Links: https://www.arlanaredsky.com/ @cwdbeadsproject on Instagram CWD Beads Project on Facebook and https://arlanaredsky.wordpress.com

ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL interviews and dialogues are ongoing programs produced by the Temple of Understanding, incorporating our outreach in the area of environmental awareness and advocacy. We present a diverse range of perspectives, from scientific to spiritual views, on the climate emergency and offer a variety of solutions that we can all do easily and effectively in our everyday lives. World religious and spiritual visionaries, Indigenous leaders, scientists and social scientists, environmental activists, artists, musicians and writers, youth and elders, local and global people, all come together to address the urgency of the climate crisis through these ongoing interviews and dialogues.

See all our programs on our ECO JUSTICE FOR ALL youtube channel.

Share This