In Canada, Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Environment and the Multifaith Centre have formally kicked off the Ecological Chaplaincy Project to help students dealing with climate anxiety.

The university named Jason Brown as its first ecological chaplain to lead the project. The partnership allows Simon Fraser University (SFU) to support the needs of the community in dealing with climate and ecological distress through a more pastoral approach.

He is also collaborating with the SFU’s Faculty of Environment to put on public events and forums related to ecological grief and climate anxiety for the campus and the wider community. On April 29, a public lecture will be held at the Vancouver, B.C. campus on the topic of “Facing Ecological Grief.”

In promoting resilience in the face of fear, event organizers said that ‘facing grief’ while addressing anxiety and ‘wrestling with hope’ grounds humanity in a “refusal to turn away from the wounded body of our earth, the plight of impacted peoples and the survival of vulnerable creatures.”

Brown is a continuing lecturer with Simon Fraser’s Department of Global Humanities and has taught several courses with the Faculty of Environment, including environmental ethics and forest ecosystem management.

His academic work is a natural fit with the new effort. He received his joint master’s degrees in forestry and theology from Yale University and he earned his PhD from the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) at the University of British Columbia. Brown teaches courses within the ecological humanities and hosts workshops on contemplative ecology. Brown is also completing an interreligious chaplaincy certificate program through the Graduate Theological Union in Berkely, Calif.

Susan Barreto
Susan Barreto

Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

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