We Are All Stardust: Lessons from Profs. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim
We Are All Stardust: Lessons from Profs. Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim

Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, senior lecturers and research scholars at Yale, gave a talk at Hotchkiss on March 2 about their work at the intersection of cosmology and environmental and religious studies. Tucker is a professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, where she specializes in east Asian religions; Grim holds appointments at both the Yale School of Forestry and Yale Divinity School, with expertise in Native American religious traditions. Together, the husband-wife duo directs the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale, uniting their disciplines in a broader study of the interconnectedness of life and the impact of human beings on the environment. Along with philosopher Brian Thomas Swimme, Tucker also co-produced Journey of the Universe, an Emmy Award-winning documentary exploring the the origins of the cosmos and the evolution of human consciousness.

During their presentation in Auditorium on March 2, Tucker and Grim discussed the challenges of the "anthropocene age" — the era of human-induced changes to the global ecosystem — and the relationship between human evolution and cosmological time.

"We are all literally stardust," Grim said. "The Big Bang brought forth all of the elements necessary for carbon-based life, including humans."

They also discussed the need for a new approach to meet the increasingly urgent demands of a changing climate. That approach, they told students, requires people to start thinking of themselves as citizens of the universe rather than isolated individuals, and to promote an ethics of responsibility toward all living things — humans and non-humans alike.

Watch their presentation below:

Tucker and Grim's visit was sponsored by the School's Center for Global Understanding and Independent Thinking.