The field of religion and ecology began with the Religions of the World and Ecology conference series at Harvard University, organized from 1996-1998. The field focuses on retrieving, re-evaluating, and reconstructing narratives, practices, and worldviews that influence relationships between human society and the environment.
The GCRE in its conception and implementation is a product of the Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology. The Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology is an international multireligious project contributing to a new academic field and an engaged moral force of religious environmentalism. With its conferences, publications, monthly newsletter, and website, it explores religious worldviews, texts, and ethics in order to contribute to environmental solutions along with science, policy, law, economics, and appropriate technology. The Forum was founded in 1998 by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim after they organized the Harvard conferences and while editing the 10 volume book series that Harvard published. The Forum has been based at Yale University since 2006.
Following the 20th anniversary conference of the Religions of the World and Ecology Conference series at Harvard from 1996 to 1998 and in celebration of all the work, research, and collaboration accomplished for two decades, the Graduate Conference in Religion and Ecology (GCRE) was founded at Yale in 2017. The conference at Harvard in October 2016 directly sparked interest among Yale Divinity School graduates to organize the Graduate Conference in Religion and Ecology at Yale.
Organized by graduate students at Yale University, this venue provides graduate and undergraduate students from across the world with their own collegial space in which to share original research and develop meaningful discourse.
Hosted annually, the GCRE is a space for students to engage in dynamic, interdisciplinary conversations across curricular boundaries.
As an international interdisciplinary conference, the GCRE hosts students researching Environmental Studies, Environmental Humanities, Forestry, Conservation, History, Historiography, Social Sciences, Food Studies, Philosophy, Ethics & Morals, Theology, Religious Studies, Animal Ethics, Law & Policy, and Business & Management, among others.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the past two conferences have been held online, with continued attendance from graduate students, professors, alumni, and community members. The 2023 GCRE will be held in person as part of Yale Divinity School's Bi-Centennial Celebration and in continued collaboration with the Yale School of the Environment.