‘On Food and Faith’ conference
Al Gore delivers keynote at faith leaders’ gathering
More than 100 religious leaders, scholars, scientists, farmers and activists gathered on the MTSO campus May 30-June 1 for “On Food and Faith: Ministry in the Time of Climate Change.” The conference was presented by MTSO, the Center for Earth Ethics, The Climate Reality Project and the Ohio State University Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT).
“This is the first time that we have done this outside of Union Seminary,” said Center for Earth Ethics Director Karenna Gore at the opening plenary session. “We felt an incredible opportunity to come here and be at a place that is actually growing and harvesting food as part of the seminary.”
Added her father, former Vice President Al Gore, “Having learned of the fantastic work that’s been under way for quite some time at MTSO, it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to join with MTSO and to have the training on this beautiful campus this year. It’s an extraordinary place, a school and a farm all together. I’ve really enjoyed it, and I’ve learned a lot.”
Al Gore, founder and chairman of The Climate Reality Project, participated in all three days of the conference, delivering a multimedia climate presentation during the Day 2 plenary session.
In introducing Al Gore, MTSO President Jay Rundell highlighted his achievements and honors, including the Nobel Peace Prize, an Oscar and a Grammy Award. “What we sense here with you in our midst,” he told Gore, “is a certain synergy between the kinds of things you’ve committed yourself to and the kinds of things we’re about on an everyday basis.”
Early in his 90-minute talk, which was covered by The Columbus Dispatch, Gore spoke dramatically of the consequences of climate change: “We are in the process of visiting destruction upon God’s creation.” Still, he said, there is much good news, including dramatic strides in renewable energy: “It’s now cheaper in most parts of the world to get energy from solar and wind than to burn fossil fuels.”
The conference also included 18 breakout sessions – ranging from “Islam, Ramadan and Hunger” to “Standing with Farm Workers.”
The session “Grief, Climate Change and Prophetic Hope” was moderated by Tim Van Meter, associate professor in MTSO’s Alford Chair of Christian Education and Youth Ministry. Van Meter, who also serves as MTSO’s coordinator of ecological initiatives, has worked with Karenna Gore on a number of projects, and their working relationship paved the way for MTSO to host “On Food and Faith.”
Read more about the conference and view videos of Karenna Gore and Al Gore here.