Since its inception in 1985 the Eugene M. Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society at UC San Diego has sponsored more than 70 public lectures in which scholars, theologians, and religious practitioners of various faiths address critical issues in the relationship between religion and society.
One such pressing issue is immigration. The first two decades of the 21st century have seen a sharp rise in the number of global refugees as individuals and families flee war, famine, disease, ethic and political strife, economic hardship, natural disasters, and the effects of climate change. As the number of asylum seekers and other immigrants grows, so too do calls in host countries to deny them entry. Here in the United States both legal and undocumented immigrants face an increasingly hostile political climate. In this installment of the Burke Lectureship two prominent religious leaders, Bishop Robert McElroy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego and Imam Taha Hassane of the Islamic Center of San Diego, discuss their respective faiths’ views on immigration while seeking to forge a common path forward.
Both men assert that immigration poses a moral challenge as well as a legal problem, citing the emphasis in both Christianity and Islam on fellowship and fair treatment of strangers. Imam Hassane stresses the importance of hospitality in Islamic tradition, while Bishop McElroy outlines the Catholic Church’s doctrines concerning social justice, especially as they pertain to the poor and the underprivileged. In both instances the Imam and the Bishop believe that giving aid to immigrants is a moral imperative that transcends political dogma. However, neither man is naïve; both understand the difficulties of preaching and implementing a faith-mandated moral course in the face of widespread popular opposition fueled by demagoguery.
How then to proceed? As Imam Hassane points out, the challenge is not merely to change men’s minds, but their hearts. To do less is to fail the moral test. Both the Imam and the Bishop believe that open, honest dialogue is key, not merely with fellow believers but those advocating opposing views, as well as with those in power who are in a position to effect change. Also vital to the effort are public expressions of solidarity with immigrants in the form of peaceful demonstrations, petition drives, and questioning of public officials and policies. The two religious leaders point out that a faith that is expressed only in words and not deeds is a thin faith at best.
Watch — The Bishop and the Imam: A Conversation on Immigration – Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society
The Arctic is changing rapidly in response to global climate and economic activity and yet much of it remains unexplored with modern scientific techniques.
Jeff Bowman is a biological oceanographer who studies marine microbial communities. In this presentation at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography he describes his group’s work in the Arctic as they seek to understand the ecological implications of changing sea ice conditions.
They are also preparing to participate in the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) Expedition, an unprecedented multi-national effort to study the high Arctic across a complete seasonal cycle.
Watch — Modern Oceanography and the Changing Arctic Ocean.
“What we do in my group is we zoom in on the aerosols.”
Vicki Grassian and her team look at aerosols at a microscopic level to determine their impact on our health and our climate. Aerosols can be mineral dust and sea spray from the ocean or created by human activity or stem from any number of sources. They can travel across the globe impacting people, animals, and the planet in their wake.
Grassian’s work seeks to understand how aerosols and other gases not only affect us but how we might harness them for solar geoengineering.
Watch — What is in the Air We Breathe? – Exploring Ethics
“When you talk about diversity of the soil, human beings we carry our soil with us. And we give that a very fancy term which is all the rage these days which is ‘microbiome.’ And as we see microbes diminishing in the soil, we are also seeing the same things happen in ourselves,” says Kelli Gray-Meisner, RDN.
Super blooms, extreme weather, fires, insects, and human health, these seemingly separate things impact each other – for better or worse. Join a panel of experts as they tease out the relationships being built and destroyed by climate change. They also share how we as individuals can work to limit negative impacts and create positive outcomes.
Watch — Climate Change: What it Means for Our Agriculture & Our Health – Future Thought Leaders Series Presented by the Berry Good Food Foundation
Kelp cutters once harvested tons of the nearshore kelp off the San Diego County coastline, producing additives for your ice cream, beer and pharmaceuticals.
And of course, anyone who has had a California Roll or a bowl of miso soup is familiar with the centuries-old use of Nori.
But now Scripps researchers are working to uncover other value from the ubiquitous red, green and brown algae that thrives in our waters, even exploring the use of seaweed to reduce methane produced by dairy cows – and perhaps even improving their health and productivity.
Join Scripps Oceanography’s Jennifer Smith and entrepreneur Brant Chlebowski as they tell the story of their collaboration on applied aquaculture research that has sparked the formation of the California Seaweed Company.
Watch — Food, Feed and Climate Change – Emerging Opportunities for Shore Based Seaweed Aquaculture