Ecospirit: Religion, Philosophy, and the Earth

Ecospirit: Religion, Philosophy, and the Earth

Ecospirit: Religion, Philosophy, and the Earth

Ecospirit: Religion, Philosophy, and the Earth


We hope--even as we doubt--that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species' self-destructiveness as material beings in a material world is growing--but so is the destructiveness. The practical interventions needed for saving and restoring the earth will require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on a spiritual and religious intensity.

This transformation has in part already begun. Traditions of ecological theology and ecologically aware religious practice have been preparing the way for decades. Yet these traditions still remain marginal to society, academy, and church.

With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. From new language for imagining the earth as a living ground to current constructions of nature in theology, science, and philosophy; from environmentalism's questioning of postmodern thought to a garden of green doctrines, rituals, and liturgies for contemporary religion, these original essays explore and expand our sense of how to proceed in the face of an ecological crisis that demands new thinking and acting. In the midst of planetary crisis, they activate
imagination, humor, ritual, and hope.


We earthlings may be approaching our ecological “tipping point.” That phrase indicates the transitional moment when small changes make huge differences, when predictable processes give way to nonlinear and irreversible amplification. This rhetoric of climate change and its “boiling point” belongs to the attempt to conceptualize and dramatize the impending planetary shifts heralded by mounting co levels and melting polar caps.

Yet hope for a sustainable earthling future—for a green shift—may depend upon a dramatic nonlinear transition as well. All effort on behalf of ecosocial justice thrives on the hope that the achingly small beginnings of movement may precipitate a “butterfly effect” of change, a tipping counterpoint, an avalanche of responsible action. the green shift seems to require a root change of human outlook, a mutation of collective philosophy, a spiritual phase transition. Certainly the ecoapocalypytic rhetoric of threat alone will not do the trick.

This anthology springs from the hope, the difficulty, and the transdisciplinarity of this possible shift. Its authors attempt to ground thinking— thinking in the most spirited sense—in the earth. Thought roots in the elemental, it matters, it bears fruit—or it dies. But this rooting is in the Deleuzian sense “rhizomatic”; it moves, branches, folds, and bifurcates multidimensionally, like the earth itself. Indeed such thinking roots and wings its way to change—it butterflies. Its potentiality, which always exceeds our knowing, may be called ecospirit. in this volume, ecospirit moves with a predictions, rhythm, oscillating among and between the . . .

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