Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Nature Religion: Reuniting religion and nature

Nature religionists perceive nature as both sacred and interconnected. By “sacred”, we mean that nature has intrinsic value apart from its utility as a resource for human beings. By “interconnected”, we mean that our very being is determined by our ecology, by the material and cultural environment which we share with all other living beings. We are immersed in a web of life which is our true community. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: The Gaia Theory: Reuniting our bodies and nature

The Gaia Theory calls into question many deeply ingrained scientific and cultural assumptions and challenges us to perceive our world in a new way. The Gaia Theory also illustrates how we are radically interconnected with all other livings beings on the planet, human and other, as well as with the non-living elements of the Earth. We humans carry on our lives seemingly independently of Gaia, but yet we exist within a larger living entity on which we depend for our lives. [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: Neo-Pagans, “The Dirt Worshippers”

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The history of Neo-Paganism is part of a larger history of nature religion in the West, beginning with the American Transcendentalists, conservationists like John Muir, and early environmentalists like Aldo Leopold and Rachel Carson, all of whom appreciated a religious dimension to our relationship with the environment. [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: Rachel Carson, “A cry in the wilderness that changed the world”

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Rachel Carson: “We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a very tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. Now I truly believe that we in this generation must come to terms with nature, and I think we’re challenged, as mankind has never been challenged before, to prove our maturity and our mastery, not of nature but of ourselves.” [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: Aldo Leopold, “Thinking Like a Mountain”

“The land is one organism. … The outstanding scientific discovery of the twentieth century is not television, or radio,” wrote Aldo Leopold, “but rather the complexity of the land organism.” [Read more...]

Roots of the Deep Ecology Tree: John Muir, “Prophet of the Wilderness”

John Muir’s language sometimes came close to pantheism, or even animism. His language would be familiar to Neo-Pagans today: “I will touch naked God,” he wrote in anticipation of a trip into Yosemite. Elsewhere he wrote, “The whole wilderness seems to be alive and familiar, full of humanity. The very stones seem talkative, sympathetic, brotherly. No wonder when we think that we all have the same Father and Mother.” [Read more...]


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