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Yale School of Forestry Hosts Award-Winning Filmmakers: 'Can Religion Save the Environment?'

Event Date:

April 1, 2015 | 12:00 PM EDT
Image by Kalyanee Mam. Cambodia, 2014.

A revolution is awakening in Cambodia—with protests led by a monk who is speaking out against the...


An increasing presence of faith in the context of environmental protectionism and community activism has led some journalists to wonder, can religion save the environment? Pulitzer Center grantees and award-winning filmmakers Kalyanee Mam and Gary Marcuse screen their documentaries on this very topic at Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies on Wednesday, April 1.

Following the films, Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center executive director, joins Mam and Marcuse for a discussion on the issues raised in the films and the process of producing and circulating them. Mary Evelyn Tucker, director of Yale's Forum on Religion and Ecology in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, moderates.

The Forum on Religion and Ecology is one of the Pulitzer Center's partners in its "Religion and Power" reporting project, made possible through the support of the Henry Luce Foundation.

Mam's Fight for Areng Valley sheds light on a remote valley in Cambodia, where a group of young monks join the Chong people in a fight to protect their forests, livelihood and heritage from the looming construction of a hydroelectric dam. This short film is produced by Mam and is a part of the Pulitzer Center-supported project of the same title.

Marcuse's Searching for Sacred Mountain explores how an unlikely partnership between religion and government may hold the answer to China's growing environmental crisis. The documentary is a part of the Pulitzer Center-supported project "Can Chinese Culture Save China's Environment?"

Marcuse interviewed monks, filmmakers and professors throughout his reporting for the documentary, including Dr. Lü Zhi, a professor of conservation biology and executive director of the Center for Nature and Society in Beijing. In 2007 Lü founded the Shan Shui Conservation Center, an NGO focusing on developing community-based, grassroots solutions to conservation in western China. Her research on the giant panda took her to the Tibetan region for the first time in the 1990s. What she found led to a deeper study of the Sacred Lakes and Mountains and a greater appreciation for the conservation practices of the Tibetan Buddhists.

Read the extended interview by Searching for Sacred Mountain co-director Shi Lihong with Lü. The Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale also published the interview.

Can Religion Save the Environment?
Wednesday, April 1
Yale University
Kroon Hall
Burke Auditorium
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT


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