2018 Natural World Summit


Restoring Our Relationship
With the Natural World

May 24-25, 2018
Rene Caisse Theatre
Bracebridge, Ontario


The 2018 Muskoka Summit on the Environment promoted a variety of perspectives to examine how to bring ethics into our relationship with the biosphere. We explored the extent of our impacts on the planet and various views of our place in nature.

The human population and our demands on the natural world have grown to the point where we are now a major driver of the rapid changes to the planet. But humans are woven into the web of life and we can no longer think of “us” (humans) and “it” (nature). A new consciousness is required for we have a crucial role to play in promoting the health of the biosphere as a place where humans can survive.

The 2018 Summit explored the role of cultures, religions and science in building a more balanced and ethical understanding of our place on Earth.


MSE was pleased to have the following excellent lineup of speakers:

  • Stephen Scharper (University of Toronto) – Research focus: religious ethics and the environment
  • Meg Lowman (California Academy of Sciences) – Research focus: canopy biodiversity and a champion of forest conservation around the world
  • John Smol (Queen’s University) – Research focus: the study of how ecosystems change over long time frames in response to both natural and human-induced environmental change
  • F. Stuart Chapin (Terry) (University of Alaska) – Research focus: the study of the resilience of regional systems in the face of directional changes in climate, economics, and culture
  • James Gordon (Musician, City of Guelph) – Interests: environmental concerns from an artistic perspective and real-life pragmatism gained from experience on the Guelph City Council
  • Dan Longboat (Trent University)

Companion Workshop – Grounding: Ecology, Faith, Hope

People interested in further exploring the role of religion in our relationship with the natural world were able to attend a companion workshop entitled Grounding: Ecology, Faith, Hope, that took place May 25-26 and was hosted by the Bracebridge United Church.