Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth
A Collection of Essays
Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
The Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh was asked
what we need to do to save our world.
“What we most need to do,” he replied,
“is to hear within us the sound of the earth crying.”
Our present ecological crisis is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced—its accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans. A central but rarely addressed aspect of this crisis is our forgetfulness of the sacred nature of creation, and how this affects our relationship to the environment. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis. This is vital and necessary if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance.
Contributors include: Chief Oren Lyons, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sandra Ingerman, Joanna Macy, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Satish Kumar, Vandana Shiva, Fr. Richard Rohr, Bill Plotkin, Jules Cashford, Wendell Berry, Winona LaDuke, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Brian Swimme, and others.
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The earth is in distress and is calling to us, sending us signs of the extremity of its imbalance through earthquakes and tsunamis, floods and storms, drought, unprecedented heat. There are now indications that its ecosystem as a whole may even be approaching a “tipping point” or “state shift” of irreversible change with unforeseeable consequences.
This book is a collection of responses to the call of the earth. It is not offered as a solution to a problem because the world is not a problem; it is a living being in distress. The signs of global imbalance, the tsunamis, the destruction of the coral reefs, are not just physical symptoms. As Thich Nhat Hanh writes, these are “bells of mindfulness,” calling us to be attentive, to wake up and listen. The earth needs our attention. It needs us to help heal its body, damaged by our exploitation, and also its soul, wounded by our desecration, our forgetfulness of its sacred nature. Only when we remember what is sacred can we bring any real awareness to our present predicament.
- Chief Oren Lyons
- Thomas Berry
- Thich Nhat Hanh
- Chief Tamale Bwoya
- John Stanley
- David R. Loy
- Mary Evelyn Tucker
- Brian Swimme
- Sister Miriam MacGillis
- Wendell Berry
- Winona LaDuke
- Vandana Shiva
- Dr. Susan Murphy Roshi
- Satish Kumar
- Joanna Macy
- Geneen Marie Haugen
- Jules Cashford
- Bill Plotkin
- Sandra Ingerman
- Pir Zia Inayat-Khan
- Fr. Richard Rohr
- Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Animate Earth: Science, Intuition, & Gaia,
and founding member of Schumacher College
“Spiritual Ecology is a superb collection of thoughtful pieces by people who have gone deep to understand our relations with the Earth. It comes at a crucial time for humanity.”
—BARRY LOPEZ, landscape photographer and author of the
National Book Award winning Arctic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men,
Crossing Open Ground and About this Life. www.barrylopez.com
Senior Research Fellow IUCN, Visiting Fellow Faculty of Earth and
Life Sciences, VU (Vrije University Amsterdam)
OGYEN TRINLEY DORJE. www.kagyuoffice.org
and co-founder and board chair of YES! Magazine. www.davidkorten.org
and The Ascent of Humanity, http://charleseisenstein.net
—POLLY HIGGINS, advocate for Earth Law, award-winning author
of Eradicating Ecocide and Earth is our Business,
ecologist and voice for the Earth. www.pollyhiggins.com
International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers,
Indigenous World Forum on Water & Peace, Co-Secretariat
Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution,
George Washington University, author Man and Nature:
The Spiritual Crisis of Modern Man, www.nasrfoundation.org
The Regeneration Project – Interfaith Power & Light
and True Refuge. www.tarabrach.com
author of Where on Earth Are We Going? and co-author Only One Earth:
and founder,The Gallmann Memorial Foundation,
dedicated to the coexistence of people and nature in Africa.
in Our Capsized Culture (Penguin USA June 2013). www.marypipher.net
and former Executive Director of The Orion Society
Religion Studies and Environmental Policy and Culture,
Northwestern University, author Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology
“In my scholarly work I have explored our Earth for signs of life in defense of life. The signs can be found in a host of social movements around the world, which are inspired by a growing chorus of passionate voices. This volume provides direct access to many of these voices, some well known, others less so, all wise. It belongs in public and university libraries, the classroom, and wherever activists gather for inspiration and action.”
—BRON TAYLOR, professor of religion and nature, editor of The Journal for the
Study of Religion, Nature & Culture, author Dark Green Religion:
Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Furure, www.brontaylor.com
Indigenous nations and peoples believe in the spiritual powers of the universe. We believe in the ultimate power and authority of a limitless energy beyond our comprehension. We believe in the order of the universe. We believe in the laws of creation and that all life is bound by these same natural laws. We call this essence the spirit of life. This is what gives the world the energy to create and procreate, and becomes the ponderous and powerful law of regeneration—the law of the seed.
Ch 1. Listening to Natural Law
There is now a single issue before us: survival. Not merely physical survival, but survival in a world of fulfillment, survival in a living world, where the violets bloom in the springtime, where the stars shine down in all their mystery, survival in a world of meaning.
Ch 2. The World of Wonder
When you look at what is happening to our world—and it is hard to look at what is happening to our water, our air, our trees, our fellow species—it becomes clear that unless you have some roots in a spiritual practice that holds life sacred and encourages joyful communion with all your fellow beings, facing the enormous challenges ahead becomes nearly impossible.
Ch 13. The Greening of the Self