Monday, January 1, 2018

National Seminar @ Centre for Culture and Development

National Seminar on
Ecology, Environment and Religions:
Key Issues and Challenges
(February 26-27, 2018)

Change in environment and ecology is more of a moral challenge. It calls us to examine how we use and share the goods of the earth, what we pass on to future generations, and how we live in harmony with interfaith traditions. Ecology has become a widespread concern. But it means different things to different people. In normal idiom it can never be entirely divorced from scientific usage and explanation, but it also has its emotive expression.
This seminar wishes to examine how humans interact with the environment by exploring three dimensions. It will conceptualize to locate the interrelationship between ecology and human behaviour through the lenses of the following dimensions:
1)       Physical dimension:
An ecosystem is a dynamic complex of biotic components such as plants, animals and microorganisms and abiotic components like, soil, air and water- all interacting as a functional unit. A balance between these is crucial for ecological sound use of natural resources within an ecosystem.  Since India is a biomass spaced economy its ecology or eco-system dictates the local economy and livelihoods of people. Ecology and development are inescapably interrelated. Development, begs the ecological question of the long-term productivity of resources and further aggravates ecological crisis. If human activity causes ecological decline, it also lowers the limits of what can be aimed at to improve the conditions of human activity. An understanding of this conflict might be achieved through varied discourses on ecological crisis.

2) Social dimension:
Socio-cultural ecology suggests an explanation of where the actor stands in relation to others in an ecosystemic whole, in which all manoeuvre for its advantage. It views social and ecological systems as components of an integrated community. This approach engages the broader social drivers of managing the ecology in the face of environmental crisis. It involves with social contexts, emphasizing how people's lives are influenced by ???? and how they in turn reshape their niches and habitat in such crisis. It also looks at the ways various social factors such as societal values, cultural norms and social structure enable or constrain the expectations, experience and behaviors of people within communities in relation to environment. This explanation can yield insights that would help in grappling with the complexity of use, misuse and conservation of natural resources.

3) Religious or spiritual dimension
The Religious traditions are not monolithic rather they include a wide range of positions ranging from orthodox to reformistic. In relation to ecology and environment various religions also had a potential role towards ecological interpretation, awareness and its conservation.
This understanding about environment and ecology seeks to explore what the interfaith experiencecan offer to the environmental understanding and what we can learn from it. In brief it addresses the comparative religious approach to the concepts of ecology and environment through assumptions of : 1) the values one finds commonly asserted in environment or ecology and  2) the values commonly found in religious traditions. This perspective attempts to explore the spiritual/faith discourses about human moral sensibilities towards ecology by presuming that the human "community" includes much more than just “humans”. Religious/spiritual understanding might have an answer to the question of how, in working for a sustainable global ecosystem one can fulfill the obligations by maintaining a balance among humans and ecology. 

Since climatic change is a global problem with multiple explanations of its use, misuse and conservation, this seminar is designed  to ignite  interdisciplinary thoughts on the problem. This process could help in understanding the issue in a much broader way involving the three interrelated dimensions which have linkage to human existence. This seminar has the following objectives:
  • To link questions of ecology, environment and development
  • To gauge the Impact of ecological abuse on human beings and their habitat
  • To highlight the social and ethical dimensions of the environmental crisis
  • To build an Interfaith experience on the religious dimensions of ecology, environment and development
  • To develop Contributions towards environmental protection/sustainability by initiating environmental questions by the interfaith religious bodies.
  • To establish a Vision for a sustainable world community.

At the End
Humanity faces problems in five interrelated fields: environment, energy, economics, equity, and values. To ensure the survival of a healthy planet, then, we must not only establish a sustainable economy but also labour for justice both within and among nations. We must seek a society where development and environmental commitment work together to protect and to enhance life on this planet. We want to stimulate dialogue between natural and social science along with religion on the issue of climate change.
Bringing people together to talk on climate change, ecology, environment and consumerism from the social and spiritual viewpoint is a novel experience. During this seminar, we hope to learn various perspectives and faith traditions to explore the relationship between ecology, environment and religion.  We hope to discuss the roles of interdisciplinary approaches and faiths for the conservation and preservation of ecology.

Seminar Plan and Topics
Papers are invited to consider the following broad themes which would be futuristic in approach:
  1. The Physical Dimension on Ecology: Human –Environment Relationship
Natural resources and their status
Climatic Change and its effects
Natural resources and their Exploitation
Biodiversity and conservation

  1. Social Dimension on Ecology : Society- Environment Relationship
Society, Environment and Development
Social Issues and Environment
Demography and environment
Environmentalism of poor
Growth and development
Environmental policies and practices
  1. Religious and Spiritual Dimension on Ecology: Religion-Environment Relationship
·         The Religious/Spiritual Perspective on Environment and Climatic Change
·         Ecology and Religious Scriptures
    • Religio-Social Teachings on Environment
    • Global Dialogue and Harmony with Solidarity among Different Religions

The seminar will be held during February 26-27, 2018 at the Centre forCulture and Development, Vadodara, Gujarat. Vadodara is well connected by road, rail and air network to the rest of India.
 Submission of Papers
Researchers and other professionals are invited to submit their abstracts on the seminar themes. Those whose abstracts are selected must send a soft copy of their papers to the following email address: The paper must not exceed 4,000 words limit (including tables and appendices). Abstracts of all selected papers will be printed and distributed among the participants. After due revision the selected papers will be published as a volume.

Important Dates
Last Date for Receipt of Abstracts                  :               15th January 2018
Acceptance of Final Abstracts                        :              20th January 2018
Last Date for Receipt of Full Length Papers  :               15th February, 2018

Travel Support and Accommodations
Travel fare by IIIAC/Sleeper (Railway) will be reimbursed. Accommodation and local hospitality will be provided to the delegates at the institute guest house or nearby hotel/s.

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