Steven Rockefeller speaking

Steven Rockefeller

Scholar of religious pluralism and environmentalism

Professor emeritus of religion at Middlebury College, Steven Rockefeller has been a leader in both religious pluralism and the promotion of environmental awareness and action. Regarding the latter, not only has Dr. Rockefeller edited a seminal book on the topic, Spirit and Nature: Why the Environment is a Religious Issue (Beacon, 1992), but for decades now has been a leader in the Earth Charter Initiative, which, as Rockefeller’s bio explains, “in and through extensive worldwide, cross-cultural dialogue has endeavored to identify and articulate shared values that provide an ethical foundation for the emerging global community.” From 1996 to 2000, he chaired the Earth Charter International Drafting Committee. The Ikeda Center, then the Boston Research Center for the 21st Century, played a significant role in facilitating the process of drafting the charter. Rockefeller’s other key association with the Center has grown out of his commitments to religious humanism and the pragmatic philosophy of John Dewey, concerns he shares with Daisaku Ikeda. His primary work in this arena is John Dewey: Religious Faith and Democratic Humanism (Columbia, 1991). Speaking of religion and environmentalism, Rockefeller stated: “Religion has great influence on people’s attitudes. Most people will not take environmental issues seriously if their religion and faith doesn’t honor and respect (environmental) values… . It goes back to the idea of being more, not having more. For many people involved in the charter, it’s more a spiritual vision of a better way of life.”

Photo: Marilyn Humphries