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Review of the faculty guest lecture by prof. dr. Celia Deane-Drummond

Date of news: 7 December 2021

Interdisciplinarity in the Sustainability discourse

By Religious Studies student Laura de Valk

On Wednesday 24th of November, Prof. Dr. Celia Deane-Drummond, Director of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute and Senior Research Fellow in theology, gave a lecture on interdisciplinarity in the sustainability discourse. Following Pope Francis’ call for an ‘integral ecology’, she advocates for building a holistic and transdisciplinary research approach towards pressing ecological and environmental issues such as processes of extinction, melting ice caps and the deterioration of ecosystems. Speaking about the necessity of ecological conversion in all aspects of society, Deane-Drummond proposes an all-embracing, transdisciplinary paradigm, pervaded by a language of inclusion that strives towards raising self-conscience and energizing change. The goal is to work towards reconciliation and sustainable futures.

Starting from the interconnectedness of the whole creation from a catholic point of view, the concept of an integral ecology recognizes the dialogue between people and all forms of life and the simultaneous existence of different realities. It inspires to listen to these challenging realities and therefore opens the possibility for creating new opportunities. Pope Francis attempted to encourage dialogue and discussion, by trying to align and integrate different views. Illustrating the value of this strategy of inclusion, Deane-Drummond distinguishes two prominent perspectives on the living world surrounding us: one of indigenous peoples of the Amazon who consider human beings as integral part of ecological systems and one of white people who consider their surroundings as external, a resourceful and instrumental environment. She proposes working towards acquiring ‘green knowledge’, by listening and learning from this indigenous perspective, that brings forward this interconnectedness of an ecological world, comprehending the earth as mutual gift that places responsibility upon human shoulders.

Completing her lecture, Deane-Drummond concludes that a theological perspective contributes to establishing a sustainable future, by bringing attention towards the cultural aspect of human interaction with their surroundings and the fluidity of such cultural patterns and understandings. Establishing a transdisciplinary approach integrating such different realities and sciences opens possibilities for new understandings and approaches towards sustainable futures.