Larry L. Rasmussen

2009 Presenters

Larry L. Rasmussen

Larry L. Rasmussen

Larry L. Rasmussen, Th.D., Reinhold Niebuhr Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics, Union Theological Seminary, New York City

“We really must treat the planet as our commons and nurture human good and the good of others that share in the commons. There was a time that it wasn’t popular to talk about Earth as a community, but now there is such positive resonance with it. I haven’t figured out whether it's because, like E.O. Wilson says, our biophilia is hard-wired and we have a sense. It may be dulled and dumbed down, but we have a sense that we belong to a community that’s much larger than ourselves, that was here before we arrived and will be here after we leave. We’re kind of born to belonging.”

One of the world's foremost Christian environmental ethicists, Dr. Rasmussen has mentored a generation of Christians in eco-theology and “green religion.” He spearheaded the “greening” at the Union Theological Seminary as an institution and rooted his courses and scholarship in the practice of environmental justice with communities and community leaders. He has published more than a dozen books, including the landmark, award-winning Earth Community, Earth Ethics. He is currently directing a 10-year project on Earth-honoring Christianity at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

A Minnesota native, Rasmussen studied history and philosophy at St. Olaf College (B.A., 1964). He received a bachelor of divinity degree from Luther Theological Seminary (1965), and his Th.D. from Union Theological Seminary (1970). Following service as an assistant professor of religion at St. Olaf and a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., he was appointed the Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Social Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1986, retiring in 2004. He served as co-moderator of the Justice, Peace, Creation unit of the World Council of Churches 1990–2000.

Read a more detailed Nobel conference profile of Dr. Rasmussen written by freelance science writer A.J.S. Rayl.

TOPIC: Dr. Rasmussen will address the social ethics of water, including water democracy and water justice, and other questions climate change will present. He will also speak to the coming collision between the global corporate consumer economy and the Earth’s economy and the state of our ethical framework to handle the water crises.