IRAS Workshop, Thursday, 31 July 2003, 4:00 P.M., Marshman
CAN SCIENCE AND RELIGION SAVE OUR PLANET?
Paul H. Carr
"Combining a knowledge of the earth sciences with the forces of spiritual values aims at transforming our fundamental relation with the earth from one of destruction to redemption." A. Z. Amin, director of the UN Environmental Program
Science tells us that the United States, with only 5% of the world's population, emits 23% of the world's greenhouse gas. The United States oil consumption per capita is twice that of other industrial nations. Yet, the fuel economy of vehicles in the US has decreased from 26 miles per gallon in 1986 to 24 mpg at present, due to increases in light trucks and sport utility vehicles. Apart from issues of social justice and sustainability, our large dependence on imported fossil fuels makes our economy vulnerable to terrorist acts and to price increases resulting from the depletion of this nonrenewable resource. ("The End of Cheap Oil," Scientific American, March 1998)
Since our government is doing little to meet this long-term challenge, we will discuss what we can do. The power of spiritual values can lead to a global ethic and a moral imperative to implement more efficient, renewable technologies. Organizations like the Massachusetts Interfaith Environmental Network and the Interreligious Sustainability Project are fostering better stewardship for energy conservation and reduced greenhouse emissions. "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed of citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
Paul H. Carr has presented workshops at Star Island since 1998 and has taught a philosophy course "Science and Religion: Cosmos to Consciousness" at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He organized the Science and Religion Session of the International Paul Tillich Society Conference in New Harmony, IN, as well as presenting the paper "Science and Religion: Original Unity and the Courage to Create," published in the June 2001 issue of ZYGON. In his former life, he led the Component Technology Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory, which did research and development on microwave ultrasound, surface acoustic waves, superconductors, and laser activated antennas. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Brandeis University and his M. S. and B. S. from MIT.