Thomas Berry would have been 100 on Nov. 9, 2014. Many conferences around the world, including the “Living Cosmology: Christian Responses to the Journey of the Universe,” held recently at Yale Divinity School, honored him on his centennial birthday. Berry’s influence on the world of science, ecology and religion, particularly at the beginning of the new millennial era, has been significant. It is an appropriate time to look at the emerging legacy of the “great work” he inspired in so many people.
Berry said that each cultural era has its own “great work” to accomplish. Ours is to reestablish our connection to nature and work toward sustainable lifestyles and systems that reverse the destruction we are currently inflicting on the planet. So how are we doing, in light of recent reports from the United Nations and the United States on the impacts of escalating climate disruption and the massive loss of biodiversity leading to ever greater extinction of species? How are people manifesting their commitment to their own “great work” in the midst of these global ecological threats, as well as cultural breakdowns, increased corporate economic hegemony, political paralysis, and rise of intolerance and acts of violence towards each other?