What Is Spiritual Ecology

Spiritual Ecology is a new area in religion, conservation, and academia that recognizes that all issues relating to conservation, environmentalism, and earth stewardship have a spiritual component. Spiritual Ecology proponents argue that modern conservation efforts must contain spiritual elements, and that contemporary religion and spirituality must include ecological knowledge and engagement.

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What is the significance of a spirituality of ecology?

The Scientific Revolution, which began in the 16th century and continued through the Age of Enlightenment to the Industrial Revolution, is credited with contributing to a major shift in human thinking that had repercussions on the environment, according to spiritual ecology. The shift from feeling nature as a living, spiritual presence to seeing it as a utilitarian means to an end coincided with the tremendous extension of collective awareness into the era of rational science.

Reason began to take precedence over faith, tradition, and revelation in the modern era. Agricultural civilizations and ancient ways of linking to seasons and cycles were supplanted by industrialized society. Furthermore, it is said that, as a result of the growing domination of a globalized, mechanistic worldview, a collective sense of the sacred has been severed and replaced with an insatiable drive for scientific progress and monetary riches without regard for limitations or accountability.

Some Spiritual Ecologists say that harmful attitudes toward the environment, body, and sacred nature of creation are largely due to a dominant patriarchal worldview and a monotheistic religious orientation towards a transcendent divinity. As a result, many people believe that indigenous civilizations' wisdom, which still considers the physical world sacred, holds the key to our current ecological crisis.

Spiritual ecology is a reaction to previous centuries' beliefs and socio-political institutions, which have moved away from connection with the planet and its spiritual nature. For than a century, it has been emerging and expanding as an intellectual and practice-oriented discipline.

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Spiritual ecology refers to a diverse group of people and actions that combine spiritual and environmental knowledge and experience. In addition, there is a deep, evolving spiritual vision of a collective human/earth/divine growth within the tradition that is expanding consciousness beyond the dualities of human/earth, heaven/earth, mind/body. This is part of a modern movement that emphasizes the connectivity of all of creation through oneness and interaction, or “interbeing.”

Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), the founder of the anthroposophical movement, described a “co-evolution of spirituality and nature,” and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit and paleontologist (1881-1955), spoke of a shift in collective consciousness toward a consciousness of the divinity within every particle of life, even the most dense mineral. As previously indicated, this change includes the required disintegration of divisions across fields of research. “As they get closer to the totality, science, philosophy, and religion are compelled to converge.”

With his emphasis on returning to a sense of awe and reverence for the natural world, Thomas Berry, the American Passionist priest described as a'geologian' (1914-2009), has been one of the most prominent personalities in this burgeoning movement. Many of Teilhard de Chardin's ideas, including as the idea that humanity is not at the center of the cosmos, but rather part of a divine totality with its own evolutionary path, he shared and advanced. This perspective necessitates a rethinking of the earth-human relationship: “The current imperative is to begin thinking within the context of the entire planet, the integral earth community with all of its human and nonhuman components.”

Leaders in the Engaged Buddhism movement, such as Thich Nhat Hanh, have more recently identified the need to return to a sense of self that incorporates the Earth. Joanna Macy proposes a collective transition, dubbed the “Great Turning,” that ushers us into a new awareness in which the world is no longer seen as distinct from us. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, a Sufi teacher, bases his spiritual ecology work on a communal developmental growth towards oneness, bringing us all closer to an understanding of nature and humanity – all life – as interdependent. The term “spiritual ecosystem” becomes obsolete in the vision and experience of oneness. What is spiritual is earth-sustaining, and spiritual honors a sacred earth.

The demand for humanity's full acceptance of responsibility for what we have done to the environment – physically and spiritually – is a key component of these contemporary teachers' teaching. Healing and transformation can only happen when you accept responsibility.

In his 2010 book Harmony: A New Way of Looking at Our World, Charles, Prince of Wales, mentions the need for a spiritual response to the environmental crisis, writing: “Our predominantly mechanistic way of looking at the world has also excluded our spiritual relationship with Nature. A specifically mechanistic science has only recently assumed such authority in the world… (and) not only has it prevented us from considering the world philosophically any longer, but it has also prevented us from considering the world spiritually. Any concerns about what we do to the Earth are given short shrift in the mainstream conversation.” Prince Charles, who has been a proponent of environmental awareness since the 1980s, goes on to say: “…I fear that by continuing to deny ourselves this deep, ancient, intimate relationship with Nature, we are exacerbating our subconscious sense of alienation and disintegration, which is mirrored in the fragmentation and disruption of harmony we are causing in the world around us. We are currently upsetting the vast diversity of life and the ‘ecosystems' that support it—forests and prairies, woods, moorland, and fens, oceans, rivers, and streams—to name a few. And it all adds up to the amount of ‘illness' we're causing to the delicate equilibrium that governs the planet's climate, on which we rely so heavily.”

The Encyclical of Pope Francis, published in May 2015, “Laudato Si': On Care for Our Common Home” affirmed the need for a spiritual and moral solution to our environmental catastrophe, thereby bringing spiritual ecology to the foreground of our current ecological debate. This encyclical acknowledges the fact that “According to the principles of this emerging area, “the ecological issue is essentially a spiritual one.” Bill McKibben, an American environmentalist, author, and journalist who has written extensively about the effects of global warming, claims that Pope Francis has “brought the full weight of the spiritual order to bear on the global threat posed by climate change, and in doing so joined its power with the scientific order.”

David Suzuki, a scientist, environmentalist, and a leader in sustainable ecology, likewise emphasizes the need of tackling the ecological issue by embracing the sacred: “The way we view the world influences how we handle it. If a mountain is a deity, not a pile of ore; if a river is one of the land's veins, not a source of irrigation water; if a forest is a sacred grove, not timber; if other species are biological kin, not resources; or if the planet is our mother, not an opportunity, we will treat each other with more respect. Looking at the world from a different perspective is the task.”

In the mystical arms of ancient faiths and spiritual arms of environmental protection, we see the formation of the core principles and worldview of spiritual ecology. These concepts depict a growing world and a future human experience of completeness in which dualities dissipate—dualities that have characterized previous periods and contributed to the destruction of the earth as “other” than spirit.

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“There is no barrier between planting fresh fields and praying,” says a Catholic nun interviewed by Sarah MacFarland Taylor, author of the 2009 book “Green Sisters: Spiritual Ecology” (Harvard University Press, 2009).

What does ecological stand for?

Ecology is the study of the interactions between living organisms, such as humans, and their physical environment; it aims to comprehend the vital links that exist between plants and animals and the environment. Ecology also informs us about ecosystem advantages and how humans might use Earth's resources in ways that preserve the environment for future generations.

What is spiritual biology?

The term'spiritual' literally means'related to spirits,' and a spirit is defined as “the force or principle of life that animates the body of living things” (Collins, 1982). One of the accomplishments of contemporary biology has been the abolition of spirits as “animating powers or principles of life.”

Why is ecology a religious concern?

The study of religion and ecology entails examining the various ways in which religious communities communicate with their particular landscapes and bioregions. Religious ecology sheds light on how people and societies construct complex symbolic systems based on their perceptions of the world, as well as practical methods for maintaining and executing these links. To put it another way, these symbolic systems are commonly incorporated in hunting, agricultural, and ceremonial practices that express respect for life's mystery, as well as ritual exchanges for acceptable interactions with environment, particularly as a source of food for body and spirit.

What is ecological education?

Ecological education is the process of developing an ecological understanding or literacy whose dimensions and parameters have evolved over time in connection to the growth of ecology as a science and the demands of the user/learner. As such, it should be viewed as a fluid and dynamic system of learning and knowledge that is tailored to the situation's specific requirements. Ecological literacy is defined in this context as providing the learner with enough information to make sound, scientifically based decisions about a given ecological situation or setting. Ecological education covers a wide range of topics, from very particular and comprehensive knowledge for researchers to broad and general concepts in primary school instruction. Likewise, the channels through which it is distributed are diverse, ranging from universities to businesses to community organizations. There are no commonly accepted ecological education paradigms; however, a structural examination of the topic reveals four components (the first three of which are reported here). The first, agency, relates to an individual's ability to actively access, gain, and benefit from an ecological research. Thus, age, hobbies, gender, education, prior experience, and other factors all contribute to the construction and limitation of an individual's access to ecological knowledge. Second, these folks must have access to educational possibilities, which is known as context. Schools, higher education, business, pressure groups, media, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) carry out the majority of instructional work on scales ranging from local to global and formal to informal. Then there's the content, which consists of the actual ecological principles that must be learned in every given context. This could be anything from a broad overview, as in a secondary school course, to very particular and thorough information required by a researcher. Furthermore, the topic may span from the most theoretical theories to practical ecological. All three aspects are supported by a philosophy whose origins are murky at best. On one level, traditional positivist perspectives give way to phenomenological and structural theories like queer theory, ecofeminism, and deep green ecology, which privilege and dictate the spectrum of knowledge “permitted.” Finally, it's worth mentioning that the term “ecology” dates from the late 1800s. However, as a concept, it can be traced back to at least Greek times. Still, it's better regarded as a modern undertaking from the 1950s onward, as discussed here.

Why did næss choose the name Deep ecology for his ecology movement?

Deep ecology is an environmental philosophy that emphasizes the inherent worth of all living things, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs, as well as the reorganization of modern human communities in conformity with such views.

Deep ecology asserts that the natural world is a web of interconnections in which species' survival is contingent on the survival of others in ecosystems. It claims that non-vital human meddling with or destruction of the natural world is a threat to all organisms that make up the natural order, not just humans.

The concept that the living environment as a whole should be valued and recognized as having certain basic moral and legal rights to live and develop, regardless of its instrumental benefits for human use, is at the heart of deep ecology. Deep ecology is frequently articulated in terms of a much broader sociality; it recognizes multiple communities of life on Earth that are constructed not only by biotic variables but also, where relevant, by ethical interactions, i.e., the value placed on other beings as more than just resources. It's called “deep” because it's said to delve deeper into the reality of humanity's relationship with the natural world, reaching conceptually more profound conclusions than conventional environmentalism. Because deep ecology is based on a distinct set of conceptual assumptions than anthropocentric environmentalism (which is concerned with environmental conservation solely for exploitation by and for human needs), the movement does not subscribe to anthropocentric environmentalism. Deep ecology presents a holistic view of the world we live in, attempting to apply the concept that the ecosystem's individual pieces (including humans) work as a whole to everyday living. The philosophy covers the key concepts of several environmental and green movements, supporting an environmental ethics system that promotes wilderness preservation, non-coercive policies that encourage human population decline, and simple living.