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December 26, 2013
Learn more from Journey Of The Universe.ENROLL NOW FOR FREE
* THE FILM: "Journey of the Universe," presented by the Salina Art Center, The Land Institute and the Resilience Group.
* WHEN: 4 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 4 p.m. Monday.
* WHERE: Art Center Cinema, 150 S. Santa Fe.
* ADMISSION: Free.
* INFORMATION: 827-1431 or journeyoftheuniverse.org.
* FYI: "Journey of the Universe" executive producers Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim will host a discussion of the film from 7 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Salina Art Center, 242 S. Santa Fe.
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.
Concern about Earth's future, as well as the future generations of all who live on the planet, has led three disciples of Berry to make a film illustrating his story of the universe and the Earth and how it is our moral duty to be stewards of its survival.
"Journey of the Universe" is an hourlong documentary co-written and narrated by evolutionary philosopher Brian Swimme and produced by Mary Evelyn Tucker and her husband, John Grim, who also are senior lecturers and research scholars at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
Tucker and Grim also founded and direct the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, which brings religious communities into a discussion on pressing environmental concerns.
"Journey of the Universe" will be screened several times between Friday and Monday at the Art Center Cinema, 150 S. Santa Fe. Tucker and Grim will be in Salina on Monday to host a conversation about their movie, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Salina Art Center, 242 S. Santa Fe.
A community potluck will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Salina Art Center education wing.
Could see it coming
Tucker, who knew Berry for more than 40 years and edited several of his books before his death in 2009, said the film was a 10-year effort to illustrate Berry's philosophy.
"Thomas was very well-read and had a premonition 30 years ago about what was happening to our planet, the industrial ravage that was destroying the roots of our life systems," she said.
Berry, she said, was concerned about the indifference he saw in the way people treated each other and the Earth. With the film, Tucker said, "We wanted to awaken awe in people about the universe and thus not destroy the Earth but preserve it."
"Journey of the Universe," which has been shown on several PBS stations and is now available for viewing on Netflix, weaves together the findings of modern science with cultural traditions of the West, China, Africa, India and indigenous peoples to explore cosmic evolution as a process of creativity, connection and interdependence.
Together with the film and book, Tucker, Grim and Swimme also created a 20-part series of conversations with prominent scientists, environmentalists and educators to help tell the story of the universe and the role of humans in responding to present-day challenges.
The book, movie and 4-DVD set of conversations are available through amazon.com and journeyoftheuniverse.org.
The Land Institute
It also was through Berry that Tucker and Grim became aware of Wes Jackson, founder of The Land Institute in Salina, a nonprofit research, education and policy organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture. The Land Institute is a co-sponsor of the Salina screening of "Journey of the Universe."
"We admire what (Jackson) is doing, redirecting thoughts about land, soil and perennial crops and against industrial farming," Tucker said. "He's been at it for so many decades."
Tucker said its not the purpose of the film to make people feel badly about the state of the world "but to give them a deep sense of connection to each other and the cosmos."
They will not be stopped
While it remains a challenge to reconcile the opposing philosophies of science and religion, Tucker is encouraged by the young students in her classes at Yale, who she said are well aware of the environmental challenges the world faces and are determined to make it a better place.
"They are not cynical or disillusioned to the point of indifference," she said. "They have increased hope at the possibility of change, and they are not to be stopped."
-- Reporter Gary Demuth can be reached at 822-1405 or by email at email@example.com.