Institute on Religion in an Age of Science: The “Wicked Problem” of Climate Change: What is it Doing to us, and for us?

June 24, 2017 to July 1, 2017

Climate change is a “wicked problem” with overlapping causes and consequences in economic, ecological, ethical, and technological realms. As climate change continues to alter our planet, how can we use this monumental change as an opportunity for societal and spiritual transformation? “Uncertainty and ambiguity emerge here as resources, because they force us to confront those things we really want—not safety in some distant and contested future, but justice and self-understanding now.” – Sheila Jananoff. Coming to terms with what the “wicked problem” of rapid climate change might do for us will take creativity, imagination, and complex interdisciplinary thinking such as that done at IRAS conferences.

Theme Speakers

  • Solomon Katz, Ph.D. Krogman Center for Childhood Growth and Development at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Barry Costa – Pierce, Ph.D., University of New England
  • Bill Shoemaker, Ph.D., University of Connecticut Medical School
  • Carol Wayne White, Ph.D., Bucknell University
  • Barbara R. Rossing, Th.D., Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  • Matthew Fox, Ph.D., Fox Institute of Creation Spirituality
  • Ellen Kennedy, Sacred Circle Dance
  • Paul Carr, Ph.D., Air Force Research Laboratory
  • Robert Pickart, Ph.D. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Emily E. Austin, Ph.D. University of New Hampshire

Minister of the Week

Rev. Dr. Mary Westfall, UCC Church, Durham, NH

Youth Programming

Children and youth (ages 3 through High School) will meet in their age groups each morning from during IRAS theme talks. Activities include island exploration/ beach time, marine lab and island musician visits, art, field games, and conference-themed, age-appropriate activities. The afternoon Serendipity Program offers art projects on the porch and lawn games on the front lawn every day except Wednesday, when we’ll hold our annual Intergenerational Olympics. Evening activities include a bonfire, theater games, singalong and storytelling evening, art, games, and Candy Bingo.

Registration Fee

$225 for IRAS or members of partner & sponsor organizations, $325 for non-members, $125 for youth up to 18 years old, $500 cap on registration for families


There are a number discounts that conferees attending IRAS could qualify for – check out Star Island’s discount page to find what discount best fits you. Star Island Discounts.

Sponsor & Partner Discount
Are you an IRAS Sponsor or Partner? Have you ever been to Star Island? If you are, and have never been to Star Island we would like to offer you 30% off room and board to attend this year. Fill out this application to see if you qualify! Sponsor & Partner Discount.

Past Speaker Discount
Were you a speaker at an IRAS conference on Star Island, but haven’t returned since? We want to welcome you and your family back to this summer at a special rate! Attend the full duration of the conference and receive 30% room & board! Fill our this application to see if you qualify! Past Speaker Discount.
In order to qualify you must not have returned to Star Island since you were a speaker. 

Room & Board Rates

These rates include lodging, meals, and ferry transportation.

IRAS Standard Shared Standard Single Motel Shared Motel Single
Adult 18+ $939 $1,264 $1,156 $1,680


Youth rates are determined by age on the first day of the program, regardless of room type.

IRAS Under 6 6-11 Yrs 12-17 Yrs
Youths Free $439 $627

Ferry Schedule

Saturday, June 24
Departure: Portsmouth 2:25 p.m.
Arrival: Star Island 3:25 p.m
Saturday, July 1
Departure: Star Island 8:20 a.m.
Arrival: Portsmouth 9:45 a.m.


Shapley Booth Fellowships. Four Fellowships for best proposals in response to the call for papers/posters. Full room and board and some financial assistance. See the “Call for Papers/Posters” at Student Scholarships. Two Room and Board Scholarships for students who will be assigned tasks by the Conference Coordinator. Contact Jane Bengtson, Student Scholarship chair, to apply. or visit Griswold Senior Scholarship. Scholarship to cover cost of registration. Contact Marion Griswold at or visit


Conference Registrar