Integral Bioethics in the Anthropocene

Oct 16, 2020
Back to Events

Willis JenkinsUniversity of Virginia

Benjamin de FoySaint Louis University

Simone KotvaEmmanuel College, Cambridge

Free and open to the public. This event is being co-presented with the International Academy for Bioethical Inquiry, and co-sponsored by the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics. This event will be held on Zoom (registration required) and live-streamed on YouTube.

In 2000, scientists argued that human impact on the Earth reached levels meriting the creation of a new geological epoch, naming it the Anthropocene. The challenge of the Anthropocene is more than just an acknowledgement of changes to our planet, but also a challenge to humanity, pressing us to reconsider human health, action, and ethics. Can theological insights, ranging from early Christian thinkers to Pope Francis's Laudato si', help orient us in the Anthropocene, or do they fall short of the challenge? Join as this interdisciplinary panel brings scientific, theological, and ethical perspectives to bear on integral bioethics in the Anthropocene. 

Willis Jenkins is Professor of Religion, Ethics, & Environment and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He is author of two award-winning books, Ecologies of Grace: Environmental Ethics & Christian Theology (Oxford 2008), which won a Templeton Award for Theological Promise, andThe Future of Ethics: Sustainability, Social Justice, & Religious Creativity (Georgetown 2013), which won an American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence. Before joining the faculty at the University of Virginia, he was the Margaret Farley Associate Professor of Social Ethics at the Yale Divinity School. His work centers on intersections of environmental and cultural change. His own research is directed towards ethical and religious dimensions at these intersections, also directing several multi-disciplinary research collaborations that engage local knowledges, including the Coastal Futures Conservatory, examining coastal change in Virginia.

Benjamin de Foy is Banpu Chair in Sustainability and Professor of Atmospheric Science in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Saint Louis University. His research involves the development of computer models to analyze atmospheric chemistry measurements and better understand sources of pollution. He has studied mercury pollution in the American Midwest and Tibet, used inverse modeling to estimate sources of elemental carbon in East St. Louis, and has participated in international field campaigns to improve Mexico City’s air quality. He received both his BA and PhD in Engineering from Cambridge University and worked in industry as an environmental consultant before joining the Mexico City project led by Dr. Mario Molina at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Simone Kotva was Research Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and has recently been appointed Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oslo, Faculty of Theology, where she works on the transdisciplinary environmental humanities project, "The Ambivalence of Nordic Nature: Gift, Guilt, Grace." Simone is the author of Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) and has published widely on French spiritualism, ecological thinking, and the philosophy of attention (especially the thought of Simone Weil). With Alice Tarbuck, she is currently completing a book addressing attention as a spiritual technology for the transformation of earth, Spellwork for a Damaged Planet: Magic and Ecology.