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Environmental Studies Expert to Discuss ‘The Greening of Religion’
Daniel T. Spencer, Ph.D., to Speak April 16 at Ohio Wesleyan University

March 26, 2009

Daniel T. Spencer, Ph.D.
Photo courtesy of Daniel T. Spencer, Ph.D.
DELAWARE, OHIO – Daniel T. Spencer, Ph.D., associate professor of environmental studies at The University of Montana, will present “The Greening of Religion: Religions’ [Re]Encounter with the Earth and Its Distress” at 7:30 p.m. April 16 in Benes Room B of Ohio Wesleyan University’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

Spencer specializes in the intersection between religion and ecology, with an emphasis on ecological ethics and religion. He will discuss the rise of the religion and ecology movement over the past several decades, with a focus on how and why religious traditions and communities are responding to environmental issues and the global ecological crisis.

While at Drake University from 1993 to 2002, Spencer worked with students to create an urban garden on campus, to investigate alternative energy sources including a wind turbine for campus, and to collaborate with food services to buy more food from local producers. He has continued this work with students and colleagues in greening the campus at The University of Montana, where he has helped to link social justice and environmental justice issues on campus and internationally through anti-sweat-shop and fair-trade practices.

Spencer earned his bachelor’s degree in geology at Carleton College, and his master’s and doctorate in theology and ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He is the author of “Gay and Gaia: Ethics, Ecology, and the Erotic” (Pilgrim Press, 1996), which explores how to develop an ethic of sustainability that gives attention to socially constructed categories of nature and human nature as well as the role of social location in formulating ecological theory and ethics.

His presentation is Ohio Wesleyan’s 2009 Merrick Lecture. This lecture series was founded by Frederick Merrick, a professor and former president of the university. Each year’s lecture discusses an aspect of “experimental and practical religion” and, over the course of the past century, has reflected the dynamic growth and change of the academic study of religion. Past lecturers have included Reinhold Niebuhr, Paul Tillich, Hazel Barnes, and Martin Marty. The Merrick Lecture is the university’s oldest running lecture series.

Ohio Wesleyan University is an undergraduate liberal arts college that transforms the lives of its students through a combination of rigorous academics, mentoring relationships, and real-world experiences. Featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” the private university’s 1,850 students come from 47 states and 50 countries. Visit www.owu.edu for more information.