Online courses awaken beginners to unfolding universe story

By Sharon Abercrombie
National Catholic Reporter
September 20, 2016

A set of online courses set to debut this week will offer students an introductory dive into cosmological thought and the epic story of the unfolding of the universe and life itself.

“Journey of the Universe: A Story for Our Times” is a course series created by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, both research scholars in Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and co-founders of its Forum on Religion and Ecology.

The three-class program explores the universe’s formation through a multidisciplinary lens, along with the evolutionary implications for humans and their ecological future. It builds off the worldview of Passionist Fr. Thomas Berry, with one of the classes dedicated to his life and insights.

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The Unfolding Story of the Universe: A Conversation with Mary Evelyn Tucker and Julianne Warren

By Sam Mowe
Garrison Institute
July 20, 2016

In their Journey of the Universe project—which includes a film, book, and website—philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme and historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker attempt to tell the biggest story ever told: the history of the universe. Through a compelling blend of scientific facts and humanistic inquiry, they move from exploring the formation of the galaxies, stars, planets, and evolution of life on Earth to reflecting on the role of humanity during our current moment of social and ecological challenges.

One person whose work has been deeply influenced by the Journey of the Universe project is writer and ecological thinker Julianne Warren. In her different projects exploring the Anthropocene, Warren has used Journey of the Universe as a touchstone while she asks questions about hope and human responsibility.

I recently spoke with Tucker and Warren by phone to discuss some of the big ideas explored in Journey of the Universe, such as the transformative power of story, the relationship between science and the humanities, and how we can create meaning in the space between knowledge and mystery.

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From Independence to Interdependence

May 19, 2016
By Cassandra Farrin
Westar Institute

When you trek up a mountainside and pass over a ridge into a gorgeous vista of peaks bathed in the colors of sunset, and when later that night the stars spangle out over your tent and an alpine lake, reflecting back their own infinite mass, don’t the words that come to mind feel strangely religious? Awe. Wonder. Beauty. Surely this, if nothing else, reassures us that the chasm between science and religion is not as wide as it all-too-often feels. We welcomed with delight Mary Evelyn Tucker’s comments on this subject as part of the Westar Institute’s Spring 2016 national meeting in Santa Rosa, California.

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An Integrating Story for a Sustainable Future: A Way toward New Human-Earth Relations

By Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker
Center for Humans and Nature
March 2016

We know that the obstacles to the sustainable development and flourishing of life’s ecosystems are considerable. To meet these challenges, the next stage of evolutionary history will require an expansion of our worldview and ethics. The human community has now for the first time a scientific story of the evolution of the universe and our planet that shows us our profound connection to the evolutionary process. We are only discovering its larger meaning as evolution continues to unfold. This is why we created the Journey of the Universe, namely a film, book and educational series to tell the story of cosmic, Earth, and human as an evolutionary epic.

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Earth Charter Netherlands organizes Journey of the Universe youth event

Earth Charter
December 15, 2015

At the end of 2015, the Earth Charter Netherlands network organized a youth event entitled “Journey of the Universe Cinema” to showcase the Journey of the Universe film and guide participants in interactive workshop exercises and discussion. The project received financial support from The Valley Foundation and the Thomas Berry Foundation. A special Journey of the Universe Cinema was organized in A Lab in Amsterdam and welcomed 55 participants plus another several organizers and special guests.

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A Roaring Force from One Unknowable Moment

Mary Evelyn Tucker in conversation with Kathleen Dean Moore
Orion Magazine
May | June 2015

The story of the universe has the power to change history

The world has arrived at a pivot point in history. You could drive a nail through this decade, and the future of the planet would swing in the balance. What can be done to tip the scales toward a resilient, and flourishing, future? Three things, we’re told, all of them essential. First, stop damaging the planet’s life-supporting systems. Second, imagine new and better ways to live on Earth. Third, and most important, change the story about who we are, we humans—not the lords of all creation, but lives woven into the complex interdependencies of a beautiful, unfolding planetary system. Many people are pursuing the first two goals. But Mary Evelyn Tucker has taken up the third, making it her life’s work.

Read the full article.



Bigger Than Science, Bigger Than Religion

By Richard Schiffman
Yes! Magazine
February 18, 2015

We’re closer to environmental disaster than ever before. We need a new story for our relationship with the Earth, one that goes beyond science and religion.

The world as we know it is slipping away. At the current rate of destruction, tropical rainforest could be gone within as little as 40 years. The seas are being overfished to the point of exhaustion, and coral reefs are dying from ocean acidification. Biologists say that we are currently at the start of the largest mass extinction event since the disappearance of the dinosaurs. As greenhouse gases increasingly accumulate in the atmosphere, temperatures are likely to rise faster than our current ecological and agricultural systems can adapt.

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Film journeys into the cosmos’ history

By Chase Brunton
The Maine Campus - The University of Maine student newspaper
January 19, 2015

Fourteen billion years ago, all of the energy in the universe was contained in a single point. Then the big bang happened, sending all of the energy in the universe scattering off in all directions.

Today, the force generated by the big bang is still causing the universe to expand outward.  Eventually, stars were created, and when those stars died millions of years later — or billions, depending on the size of the star, as smaller stars live longer — they exploded, releasing all of the elements in the universe and creating everything as we know it, from planets, to new stars, and eventually life.

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Yale conference continues 'Journey of the Universe'

By Jamie Manson
National Catholic Reporter
November 21, 2014

"What is the creativity that brought forth a trillion galaxies?"

It is a daunting question asked by evolutionary cosmologist Brian Swimme in the film "Journey of the Universe." His line echoed throughout the halls at Yale Divinity School, where hundreds gathered for the Nov. 7-9 conference "Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to 'Journey of the Universe.' "

The conference was a historic gathering of many of the finest theologians, ethicists and activists in North America, all of whom joined together to contemplate the ways in which the Christian tradition can open up more fully to a sense of the sacredness of the universe and the flourishing of the Earth community.

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Event in Brief: 'Journey of the Universe' Executive Producer Speaks, Film Screened

By Bill Cessato      
Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies
October 29, 2014

An executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning documentary “Journey of the Universe” spoke at Georgetown today as part of a film screening hosted by the School of Nursing & Health Studies and the university’s Environment Initiative.

Mary Evelyn Tucker, PhD, a historian of religions who is a senior lecturer and research scholar at Yale University, says a purpose of the documentary and related book is to help identity a “flourishing future for all life on the planet.”

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Science and Religion talk for Science Week and beyond

St. Columbans Mission Society
August 25, 2014

How do the traditional 'creation stories' of the world’s great religions engage with the 21st century story of the evolution of the universe? This is a question that needs to be part of the conversation in all religious traditions. Fundamentalist responses just don’t work in this scientific age.

The Journey of the Universe is a film that helps this discussion along. On Thursday evening 7th August, 140 people from different faiths gathered in the Mitchell Theatre in Sydney to watch the film and address this question. The Emmy Award winning documentary sparked much discussion.

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Journeying into the Universe with Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

Global Generation
July 11, 2014

This month Global Generation had the honour of hosting Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim in the Kings Cross Skip Garden. As well as being professors at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies they are co-producers, with Brian Swimme. of the film "Journey of the Universe" which has had a big influence on Global Generation’s work. writes Jane Riddiford.

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Peace with the Planet

By Gary Demuth
Salina Journal
December 26, 2013

Cultural historian and philosopher Thomas Berry often said there can be no peace among humans without making peace with the planet.

In books such as "The Universe Story," Berry developed a new "story" about the Earth that stresses the interconnectedness between human beings and their environment and how natural resources are being diminished in large part by modern industrial technology.

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Opinion: Fellow travelers on Earth depend on each other on 14-billion-year-old adventure

By Winslow Myers
Times of Trenton
December 15, 2013

Through the work of the eco-philosopher Thomas Berry and his protégés, a new way of looking at the universe and our human place in it has been established. While still not “mainstream,” this new story has given hope not only to hundreds of thousands of environmental activists around the world, but also to thoughtful people in many fields, including economics, theology, education, politics and science.

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Salina Art Center, The Land Institute, and the Resilience Group present Journey of the Universe

Salina Art Center Press Release
December 3, 2013

Salina, KS - The Salina Art Center, The Land Institute, and the Resilience Group will present four screenings of the film Journey of the Universe at the Art Center Cinema and a conversation with the film’s executive producers, Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, in the Art Center’s Education Wing. All events are open and free to the public.

Click here to read Press Release.

Journey of the Universe

By Troy Anderson
December 3, 2013


Journey of the Universe is an epic documentary exploring the human connection to Earth and the cosmos, from producer-directors Patsy Northcutt and David Kennard director of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and Hero’s Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell. Big science, big history, big story, this one-of-a-kind film was created by a renowned team of scientists, scholars, and award-winning filmmakers, led by co-writers Brian Thomas Swimme, the acclaimed author and evolutionary philosopher, and Yale University historian of religions Mary Evelyn Tucker. They weave a tapestry that draws together scientific discoveries in astronomy, geology, biology, ecology, and biodiversity with humanistic insights concerning the nature of the universe.

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OP-ED: Nuclear Weapons and the Unfolding Universe

By Winslow Myers
November 19, 2013    

Through the work of the eco-philosopher Thomas Berry and his protégés, a new way of looking at the universe and our human place in it has been established. While still not “mainstream,” this new story has given hope not only to hundreds of thousands of environmental activists around the world, but as well to thoughtful people in many fields, including economics, theology, education, politics, and science.

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Nuns with a new creed: Environmentalism

By Angela Evancie
The Atlantic
October 16, 2013

While many of their aged peers are living out their days in quiet convents, these women are digging gardens and offsetting carbon.

Every woman in this story is confoundingly non-descript. Short hair, often grey. Conservative dress. Unmarried; soft-spoken. Most are well into their 70s, and all will tell you that their way of life is dying out. They will also tell you, with surprising conviction, that the world is in peril.

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GDR Student Matt Riley Pursues Religion and Ecology Beyond Drew

By Shelley Dennis, GDR Student Intern
Drew Graduate Division of Religion
September 2013

Doctoral candidate Matt Riley is testimony that one needn’t wait until after graduation to make a tangible contribution to scholarship in one’s field.  Riley is currently working as a Research Associate at the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, the largest international and multi-religious project of its kind, and has been intimately involved with some of the groundbreaking and award-winning scholarly work produced by this innovative forum.

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Sam Guarnaccia Premieres Emergent Universe Oratorio

By Ethan De Seife
Seven Days
September 11, 2013

In his poem “Auguries of Innocence,” William Blake writes of holding “infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour” — a meditation on humankind’s ability to comprehend the limitlessness that surrounds us.

Blake is but one of the influences on the Emergent Universe Oratorio, an ambitious, cosmos-spanning musical work by Vermont classical guitarist and composer Sam Guarnaccia. In fact, Blake – along with environmentalist/writer Wendell Berry, poets Rainer Maria Rilke and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and scholar/philosophers Brian Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker – is so strongly present in the oratorio that Guarnaccia credits them as “contributors.”

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