IRAS: The Energy Transition: Religious & Cultural Perspectives


The Institute on Religion in an Age of Science presents

The Energy Transition Through a Different Lens

As the BP oil spill continues unabated, debate about alternative energy sources has re-ignited and spread to all arenas, from the political to the religious. This is all the more reason to note another public dialogue currently under way, with an accompanying public conference in July, which examines the latest ideas from an ethical point of view.

Exploring the energy transition from ethical, religious, and cultural perspectives will be the focus of: "The Energy Transition: Religious and Cultural Perspectives."  It will be held on Star Island, off the coast of Portsmouth, NH, July 24 - 31, 2010. Conference co-chair, Norm Laurendeau, is available to  communicate an overview of the debate from this unique lens in the coming weeks.

Engineers, scientists, ethicists, and theologians will discuss: 1) ethical and religious perspectives that can be used to guide future energy choices and 2) energy choices which, in turn, might challenge ethical and religious perspectives. The conference agenda, as outlined by the following list of presentations, begins with the science and technology of energy, shifts to ethical issues, and ends with religious and cultural perspectives on energy policy:

  • • An Energy Primer: From Thermodynamics to Theology
    • Transportation: Beyond Oil to Synfuels and Biofuels
    • The Future of Biofuels: Science, Economics, and Ethics
    • Sustainable Energy Choices for Rural India: Scientific and Philosophical Perspectives
    • Renewable Energy for Sustainable Communities: Credits and Offsets
    • Conservation: Zero Net-Energy Homes for Low-Income Families
    • The Urgency of Climate Change and the Role of Renewable Energy
    • Overcoming Energy Gluttony: A Philosophical Perspective
    • Ethical and Religious Values in Energy Policy
    • From Belief into Action: How Religious Groups Can Become Energy Leaders
    • Energy Policies and Religious Values: The Reciprocal Challenges

Distinguished speakers from the public and private sectors include:  John Abraham, Purdue University; Susan Leschine, University of Massachusetts;  R.V. Ravikrishna, Indian Institute of Science; George Hoguet, NativeEnergy, Inc.; Anne Perkins, Rural Development, Inc.; Chuck Kutscher, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; William B. Irvine, Wright State University; James Martin-Schramm, Luther College; Rev. Fletcher Harper, GreenFaith; and Rev. Drew Christiansen, Editor-in-Chief of America. Co-chairs are Norm Laurendeau, Bowdoin College (also Purdue University), and Larry Rasmussen, Union Theological Seminary.

This is the 56th conference of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS). IRAS is a non-denominational, independent society-one of the oldest organizations facilitating dialogue on cutting-edge issues in the field of religion and science. IRAS is also the joint publisher of the journal Zygon. See further details about the conference at