The Wizards of Climate Change: How Can Technology Serve Hope and Justice?

Institute on Religion in an Age of Science

Institute on Religion in an Age of Science Annual Conference,
June 25-July 2, 2023

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The Institute of Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) invites you to attend our 2023 summer conference, The Wizards of Climate Change: How Can Technology Serve Hope and Justice? Technological wizardry has been pitched against prophecies of environmental catastrophe since at least the mid-20th century. Innovate! Create! Only then can everyone win!Simplify! Change your ways! Or all will be lost! Scientists on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, tell us that large-scale deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies is “unavoidable” if we are to prevent further dangerous temperature increases. They also argue that we must live less energy-intensive lifestyles to substantially reduce emissions. Addressing the many dimensions of climate change—energy and industrial production, urban and infrastructure planning, building construction and design, and land use—will require both new technologies and lifestyle changes.  

In this conference, we will critically examine how technology can be developed, deployed, and governed responsibly to address climate change in ways that foster hope and justice. We will respectfully engage a multiplicity of world views, including religious perspectives, as we learn how countries throughout the world determine and apply climate and technology policies. We will address the following questions:

  • How do we assess the future of our climate and technologies? 
  • How do we ensure that technology is responsibly developed and regulated? 
  • How can we curate sources of hope in regard to technology? 
  • How do we deploy technologies to foster justice and equity? 

Presenters will consider these questions in the context of the fields of science and religion, public policy, and science communication. For the full conference statement, visit

Conference Co-Chairs: Arthur Petersen, Bruce Naylor, and Constance Bertka. Chapel Speaker: Rev. Dr. Barbara Whittaker-Johns. Plenary speakers: Willem B. Drees, Tilburg University; Frances Flannery, Co-founder, BioEarth; Ursula Goodenough, author of The Sacred Depths of Nature; Lisa Graumlich, President of the American Geophysical Union; Noreen Herzfeld, St. John’s University and the College of St. Benedict; Janot Mendler de Suarez and Pablo Suarez, Advisers, World Bank and Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre; Bonnie Nadzam, co-author of  Love in the Anthropocene; Kenneth Oye, MIT; Leonard A. Smith, author of Chaos: A Very Short Introduction; Wake Smith, author of Pandora’s Toolbox: The Hopes and Hazards of Climate Intervention; Billy M. Williams, American Geophysical Union.

Location: Join us for this rich exploration on beautiful Star Island, off the coast of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Pricing includes program fee (at member, non-member, student, and youth rates), food, lodging, and ferry transport to Star Island. To learn more about the venue, visit

To register for the conference, visit

About IRAS: Founded in 1954, IRAS cultivates a community of informed and respectful inquiry and dialogue at the intersections of science with religion, spirituality, and philosophy in service of global, societal, and personal well-being. Find out more at


Abigail Fuller, Conference Coordinator
Institute on Religion in an Age of Science
[email protected]

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Religion News Service or Religion News Foundation.

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