'Green Patriarch' to Address Mississippi River's Ecological Issues

The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I will hold his eighth environmental symposium this October to address issues related to the Mississippi river. (Photo: Nikolaos Manginas)

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, sometimes known as the "green patriarch" for his environmental interests, will hold a symposium next month in the southern United States to discuss the ecological challenges facing residents of the Mississippi River Valley.

Titled, "The Great Mississippi River: Restoring Balance," the gathering will attract nearly 200 scholars, educators, faith leaders, government officials and others in purpose to establish "the extent and the ways in which the religious community can contribute" in addressing issues of pollution and other human-related problems that face the river today, according to the event's website.

"[T]he fate of the Mississippi waters is more than one aspect of global warming. It is also, very acutely, an ethical crisis," the site reads. "The exploitation of the great river - its pollution, the confinements of its course and the draining of its wetlands – is starting to produce serious human and environmental consequences."

"The Mississippi is a challenge to human responsibility for the environment."

Held in partnership with Greece-based NGO Religion, Science & the Environment (RSE), the symposium run from Oct. 18 to 25 and will be the eighth such event since 1995 for the Ecumenical Patriarch. Based on the topic of the "fate of the world's waters," past symposia have included studies on the Aegean Sea, the Black Sea, the Danube River, the Adratic Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Amazon River, and the Arctic.

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