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‘Pope and the Planet’ talk to take place at Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus



With world leaders gathering in Paris next week for the COP21 Climate Change Conference, Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute will examine the role of religion in climate change during a special lunchtime seminar.

Ian Christie, of the Sustainable Lifestyles Research Group at the University of Surrey, will present “The Pope and the Planet” on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus on Wednesday, 2 December (1pm).

Earlier this year Pope Francis published his long-anticipated Encyclical Letter, Laudato Si’.  This is the first such document from the Papacy on global ecological challenges and sustainability.

The Encyclical has been welcomed by many agnostics and atheists, as well as by Catholics and other faiths, but has also been attacked by ‘denialist’ factions.

Christie said: “The Encyclical is a significant intervention by a figure of global importance.  Although it has been described in the media as a ‘climate change’ announcement by the Pope, the document in fact ranges over the entire field of sustainability.”

The seminar will present and discuss the main ideas in Laudato Si’, and will consider the implications of the reception of the Encyclical by the churches, by politicians, by business leaders and by sustainability scientists and campaigners.

Christie will outline the recent history of engagement by churches and faith communities with environmental challenges, and set out why religion has an important part to play in sustainable development.  He will also discuss the early evidence for a ‘Francis Effect’.

Christie is a Fellow of the University of Surrey, based in the Centre for Environmental Strategy and the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity.  He is an associate of the think-tank Green Alliance and a Fellow of WWF-UK.

He was researcher and lead author of the Church of England’s strategy on sustainability and environment, Church and Earth (2009), and is an adviser on sustainable development to the Diocese of Southwark.

The free public event, which includes lunch, will take place in room 027 of the Lord Ashcroft Building on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus.  For further information, please visit

GSI Seminar


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