CREATE Forum Series

Emory University Center for Ethics


Tensions in Sustainability Forum Series

Understanding environmental concerns in tension with economic and social interests, facilitating constructive conversations about these tensions, and developing environmentally sustainable practices in daily life

The Tensions in Sustainability Forum Series is designed to help people constructively live into a commitment to environmental sustainability. Sustainability has three facets: environmental, social and economic wellbeing. All these goals matter, but they perennially conflict with each other. The Tensions in Sustainability Forum Series equips participants to better understand and constructively address conflicts between environmental concerns on the one hand and economic/social concerns on the other, as these conflicts arise both in participants’ own decisions and in their political, economic, and personal relationships. This series does not offer one-size-fits-all solutions to these enduring conflicts. Rather, it acquaints participants with the historical underpinnings of these challenges, and it helps participants utilize their religious or philosophical worldviews and personal or professional skills to respond to these conflicts.

The series is designed for people who want to increase their knowledge about environmental concerns, facilitate constructive conversations with people about environmental sustainability, and develop environmentally sustainable practices in their own lives. The forum series may be implemented in a number of settings: religious congregations, young professional gatherings, rotary clubs, etc. The Tensions in Sustainability Forum Series is one of several projects undertaken by the CREATE (Culture, Religion, Ethics, and the Environment) Program at Emory’s Center for Ethics. All of the information presented in this forum series is available online at our website at

Module 1. Stakes of the Tension: A primer on climate change and mass extinction

Module 2. United States History and Expansion: Tensions between US conquest of North America and environmental sustainability

Module 3. Climate Change Controversy: Why and how people reject environmentally sustainable motives

Module 4. Money and Other Motives: Discerning businesses’ role in environmental sustainability

Module 5. Talking It Through: Communicating about environmental challengers across worldview

Module 6. Re-Engaging Nature: Connecting social, religious, and environmental flourishing

Why is CREATE Important?

The Center for Ethics at Emory University was awarded a four-year grant from the Ray C. Anderson Foundation to examine the cultural, religious, and ethical underpinnings of American environmentalism and corporate sustainability.