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God and Smog: The Challenge of Preserving Our Planet

Scholars and Religious Leaders Confront the Issues
October 10, 2018
9 am - 5 pm

Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Perry Pavilion

Pay parking is available in Aggie Terrace and Big Blue Terrace.

SLC smog

It is evident to scientists and university communities that the Earth’s environment is in peril.  What is less clear is how humanity ought to respond to this peril—a response that requires rigorous consideration of ourselves, our world, and how we might best live in relation to it. Among the most potent forces in shaping human behavior are the phenomena we collectively call “religion.” Both internationally and in our own region especially, religion deeply affects and is affected by our attitudes and behavior toward the environment.  This conference will provide a public forum for the exploration of religion and the environment, with the hope that students, faculty, and the broader community will emerge with a deeper urgency for environmental concerns and the ability to think through possible solutions in cooperation with allies in unexpected areas.

This one-day symposium will consider the environment in relation to the perspectives and actions of five religious traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Mormonism, and Native American traditions. The morning panel will consist of scholars who study the interaction of religion and the environment, while the afternoon panel will engage religious leaders who speak from the perspectives of their respective traditions. 


Conference Schedule


9:00 AM - 9:30 AM: Welcome and Introductions 

Introduction: Philip L. Barlow, Ravi Gupta, and Dominic Sur 

Convocation: Darren B. Parry, Chairman of the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation

Setting the Scene: Alan Matheson, Executive Director, Utah Department of Environmental Quality


9:30 AM - 11:30 AM: Session 1 Panel
Academic Discussion of Religious Approaches to Ecology

Dr. Sue Darlington: Buddhism

Dr. David Haberman: Hinduism

Dr. Margaret Barker: Christianity

Dr. George Handley: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


11:30 AM - 11:50 AM: Morning Break


11:50 AM - 12:30 PM: Question and answer / discussion session


12:30 PM - 2:00 PM: Break for lunch


2:00 PM - 4:00 PM: Session 2 Panel
Religious Leaders' Discussion

Lama Chönam Chöying Namgyal: Buddhism

Anuttama Dasa: Hinduism

Rev. Susan Woodward Springer: St. John's Episcopal Church. Presentation handouts: Creation Care in Christian Denominations, Episcopal Church 2018 Resolutions

Elder Steven E. Snow: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints


4:00 PM - 4:20 PM: Afternoon Break


4:20 PM - 5:00 PM: Extended question and answer/discussion session


5:00 PM - 5:10 PM: Conclusion of first inaugural God & Smog conference


 Darren and Alan

Alan Matheson and Darren Parry


 Dr. David Haberman, Dr. Margaret Barker, Dr. George Handley, Dr. Sue Darlington 


Anuttama Dasa, Rt. Reverend Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, Lama Chönam Chöying Namgyal, Elder Steven E. Snow