The Climate Crisis Through the Eye of the Needle: Ecology, Economics, and Religion

A Counterpoint Conversation with Joerg Rieger, Annika Rieger, and Marcia Pally

5 July 2022, 10:00-12:00 CET | Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin and Zoom

Counterpoint and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin co-organized a conversation about the deep structural links between ecology, economics, and religion. The event took place in person and via Zoom on 5 July 2022. Recording is available (see below).

If 71 percent of global CO2 emissions can be traced back to the interests of 100 corporations who in turn are deeply shaping popular imaginations, the current climate crisis has to be addressed in more comprehensive ways than is commonly realized. More specifically, if economic relationships have implications not only for ecological relationships but also for cultural and religious relationships and vice versa, conversations between the various disciplines are required both for deeper analyses of the problem and for the development of more constructive solutions. If people act on articulated and unarticulated understandings of the way the world works, what understandings of the world might undergird our current economic and environmental policies, and what new understandings might we develop in order to confront things like climate change, gross economic inequity, and species extinction? Are there theological, ethical, social, and historical examples of relationality that might undermine the current economic system that supports unlimited growth and understands things like “environmental degradation” and “unjust labor practices” as externalities? These conversations should also embrace a multi-scalar approach, as climate change is an issue of planetary, national, and local scales (however the local is defined).


Prof. Dr. Marcia Pally teaches multilingual multicultural studies at New York University and held the Mercator Guest Professorship in theology at Humboldt University-Berlin, where she remains a regular Guest Professor. Her latest books are White Evangelical and Right-wing Populism: How Did We Get Here?From This Broken Hill I Sing to You: God, Sex, and Politics in the Work of Leonard Cohen, and Commonwealth and Covenant: Economics, Politics,and Theologies of Relationality.

Annika Rieger is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at Boston College focusing on environmental sociology and political economy, specifically the corporate drivers of global environmental change. Her current research projects utilize quantitative and computational methods to investigate how transnational corporations contribute and respond to climate change, as well as how nations and international organizations might mitigate these contributions. Her research has been published in journals such as Environmental Sociology, Human Ecology Review, and Energy and Social Science Research, and she has also contributed chapters in the International Handbook of Environmental Sociology (with Juliet Schor) and the T&T Clark Companion on Christian Theology and Climate Change (with Joerg Rieger).

Prof. Dr. Joerg Rieger is Distinguished Professor of Theology and the Founding Director of the Wendland-Cook Program in Religion and Justice at Vanderbilt University. Author and editor of 26 books, his books include the forthcoming Theology in the Capitalocene: Ecology, Identity, Class, and Solidarity (2022), Jesus vs. Caesar: For People Tired of Serving the Wrong God (2018), Unified We are a Force: How Faith and Labor Can Overcome America’s Inequalities (with Rosemarie Henkel-Rieger, 2016), Occupy Religion: Theology of the Multitude (with Kwok Pui-lan, 2012), and No Rising Tide: Theology, Economics, and the Future (2009). His works have been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Croatian, German, Malayalam, Korean, and Chinese.

Host: Prof. Dr. Kocku von Stuckrad, co-founder and co-director of Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, and Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Groningen.


Straße der Pariser Kommune 8A | 10243 Berlin

Recording of Event

Watch the recording of the conversation via Counterpoint’s YouTube Channel here.

Click here for the flyer (PDF) announcement of the event.

Image credits: “Facing the Eye of the Needle” – © Kelvy Bird, 2021, downloaded from article by Otto Scharmer


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