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: Ecotheology: Reuniting God and nature

Lynn White argued that the belief that the earth was a resource for human consumption could be traced back to the triumph of medieval Christianity over pagan animism, and even further back to the Biblical injunction to man to “subdue” the earth and exercise “dominion” over every living thing. This narrative has had a profound influence on Neo-Pagans, who often describe their beliefs in contrast with the Abrahamic religions. But the injunction in Genesis to exercise “dominion” has been interpreted by many Judeo-Christian eco-theologians as a mandate to exercise environmental “stewardship”. There is untapped potential in Christianity and other monotheistic religions to inspire positive environmental change. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Ecofeminism: Reuniting the masculine and nature

Ecofeminism is a part of the broader feminist spirituality movement, which emerged with “second-wave feminism” in the late 1960s and early 1970s, as some consciousness-raising groups developed into feminist spirituality groups. What ecofeminism adds to this discussion is the idea that the oppression of women and the abuse of the environment are related phenomena, both arising from patriarchal power structures of hierarchy and domination. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Ecopsychology: Reuniting mind and nature

Much of modern psychology assumes a divide between inner reality (mind) and outer reality (nature). The central problem of ecopsychology is to overcome this divide. The human mind does not stand wholly apart from the natural world, but is deeply rooted in and intertwined with it. Ecopsychology sees the human psyche as a phenomenon of nature, an aspect of the larger “psyche” of nature or “soul of the world” (anima mundi). By ignoring this relationship between the mind and nature, modern psychology helps to perpetuate the Western industrial world’s destructive state of estrangement from its Earth home, which has disastrous consequences for both our psyches and for the environment. Ecopsychologists maintain that the pursuit of mental and emotional well-being, on the one hand, and environmental health, on the other, are closely intertwined tasks — indeed, they are inseparable. [Read more...]

Branches of the Deep Ecology Tree: Neo-Animism and Bioregionalism: Reuniting human and nature

Neo-animism represents a challenge to Western discourse which divides the world into subjects and objects, culture and nature. Neo-animism breaks down the conceptual barrier between the “cultural” (i.e., human) and the “natural” (i.e., other-than-human). Thus animists are those who encounter other-than-human beings as cultural persons. Neo-animism is not about the projection of consciousness or agency onto “inanimate” objects (the concept of “projection” presumes a subject-object dualism), but about respect and reciprocity within a community that transcends the subject-object dichotomy. [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...]


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