Category Archives: Gaia

‘Destination of the Species: The riddle of human existence’ by Michael Meacher

An exploration of often mutually exclusive and even contradictory opinions as to the purpose of human existence – explanations offered by religion and humanism, and by scientific rationalism or ideological belief; that we exist to fulfil a divine purpose versus humankind as the result of meaningless random mutation, and so on. The author will already be known to most readers in Britain as someone who served as a junior minister in a former UK Government. Continue reading

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‘For Love of Matter: A Contemporary Panpsychism’ by Freya Mathews

‘All things are interconnected.’ I am always surprised that this highly abstract, therefore potentially dry statement can set off a tidal wave of joyful emotion in the depths of the psyche. For Freya Mathews it expresses a basic intuition, the essential starting point for a careful philosophical analysis which leads to Panpsychism, in a modern form of this ancient idea. She is clear that “One is likely to become a panpsychist only as a result of direct experience of a responsive world” and her ample and engaging examples of such experience include her own and other people’s. On an ordinary, daily car journey: “With all the objects around me finely and blackly etched against the orange light, the differences between trees and telegraph poles, birds and distant airplanes, no longer registered. I was filled with a sense of one of those semi–ineffables: that every instance of matter is not merely manifest and visible, but actually there, present to itself…there is an innerness to its reality as well as an outerness.” Continue reading

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‘Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy’ by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone

It is so easy to become fearful, isolated and despondent about the enormity of the environmental and social challenges that we, as a human race, are currently facing. This book tells us how we can sustain ourselves through these challenges and live positive, compassionate and hope filled lives Continue reading

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‘Ecology and Religion’ (Foundations of Contemporary Environmental Studies Series) by John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker

These authors have spent many years studying world religions. Their particular interest is in the relationship between religion and ecology and between them, they have probably done more than any academics anywhere to bring religious and ethical perspectives into environmental discussions. The aim of this textbook is to bring the fruits of their thought and study to the coming generations. Continue reading

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‘Animal Wisdom: Learning from the Spiritual Lives of Animals (Sacred Activism)’ by Linda Bender

This author, a scientifically trained veterinarian, who has worked with animal all her life, talks to us about the way animals think and feel and dwell–unlike us–in the ever-present moment. They have a lot to teach us. She encourages her readers “…to think of intuitive, telepathic communication with animals as a natural ability that you once had and have temporarily misplaced rather than as a supernatural power that you are trying to acquire.” It is, she says, a skill that is achievable by all of us. A lovely, thought-provoking and insightful book. Continue reading

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‘Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path to Self-Discovery’ by Mark Coleman

This book describes itself as offering a path of self discovery in Nature. There is an introduction by Jack Kornfield, who commends the author for providing a way to: be joyful, see anew, be amazed. It has about forty sections, mostly of three or four pages, with a short teaching session, followed by guidance for a meditation. Continue reading

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‘Uprooted: On the Trail of the Green Man’ by Nina Lyon

This book on the Green Man—that ubiquitous but endlessly varied symbol that takes the form of a human face sprouting greenery—is impossible to pigeonhole and its message is hard to pin down in a few sentences. But the Green Man is unpindownable. Not just because his origins are so ancient and so complex but because he represents something that is still alive and real and omnipresent. Despite humankind’s efforts to ‘conquer’, ‘tame’ and ‘manage’ Nature, Nature resigns supreme—because of course we are Nature, subsumed within it, just like everything else in the living world. So what this author has produced, as a result of her journeying around the UK and other parts of Europe in search of the Green Man – and her amusing but often rambly and confusing meanderings through history, literature, folklore, religion, sex, magick, shamanism, metaphysics and endless speculative cogitation – is a book in which the Green Man is never pinned down, yet ever present. Continue reading

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‘EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think to Create the World We Want’ by Frances Moore Lappé

When she was researching for her landmark book Diet for a Small Planet back in 1970, Frances Moore Lappé realized that it is we human beings ourselves who create the problems, such as scarcity, that we find so troubling. “While most of us think that ‘seeing is believing’… no, for human beings ‘believing is seeing.’ Our core ideas about how the world works determine, literally, what we can see and what we can’t.” Continue reading

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‘The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry’ by Rupert Sheldrake

The aim of this book is to encourage a fundamental and beneficial re-evaluation of the way the sciences are defined and practised in our modern world. It does so by carefully and systematically examining ten core beliefs that most scientists accept without question, all of which are in fact untested and untestable and which severely limit the ability of our modern sciences to respond convincingly to the challenges we face in the twenty-first century. Continue reading

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‘Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth’ Edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

Our present ecological crisis—accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans — is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance and in this book, under the editorship of Sufi teacher and author Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, twenty powerful voices take it in turns to do that, each in his or her own way. Continue reading

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‘Sustainable Revolution: Permaculture in Ecovillages, Urban Farms and Communities Worldwide’ by Juliana Birnbaum & Louis Fox

After an impassioned Foreword by Paul Hawken and some excellent explanations of Permaculture principles and ethics, this colourful and lavishly illustrated book takes us on a tour around the entire globe visiting no fewer than sixty different—and all equally inspiring—projects based either directly or indirectly on Permaculture concepts. These range from desert reclamation in the hottest, driest area in Jordan to the re-establishment of forest in India to educational urban farms like Melbourne’s Ceres and from long-established communities such as Findhorn on the north coast of Scotland to a newly-established eco-village in Kenya. Continue reading

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‘Christian Animism’ by Shawn Sanford Beck

The churches have tended to regard creation as sacred only in so far as it reveals God to us and the focus is on our obligation to be responsible stewards rather than being in a real relationship with the rest of creation. Beck’s religious faith is important to him and he makes the case for Christian animism. The definition of animism that he uses is the attribution of a living soul to inanimate objects and natural phenomena and he argues that this is that is compatible with Christian tradition and the Bible. Continue reading

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‘Nature Spirituality from the Ground Up: Connect with Totems in Your Ecosystem’ by Lupa

This author is an ecopsychologist with a counselling practice, and her specialty, which she describes as ‘bioregional totemism’ takes a much wider and more holistic approach than many of her colleagues. She calls it a self-created, spirit-centred neoshamanic path. It begins with a reminder that everything we touch came in some way from a natural source and that: …even living in the middle of the city, I spend every moment immersed in nature. ” Continue reading

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‘Nature as Mirror: An Ecology of Body, Mind and Soul’ by Stephanie Sorrell

The old mechanistic paradigm under which most of us grew up has trained our thought habits so thoroughly that those of us struggling to express an ecocentric worldview often find ourselves literally at a loss for words. For example, we hear ourselves using phrases like ‘walking outside in Nature,’ even though we know that Nature includes us also, whether outdoors or in. We talk about ‘caring for the planet’ as though it were a thing and separate from ourselves. And if finding a vocabulary for ecocentrism is hard, how much harder is it to live it? Continue reading

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‘Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning’ by George Monbiot

George Monbiot researches the subject of climate change in depth, he cuts through preconceptions and gets to the root of the problem. A breath of oxygen rich fresh air. He shows how we can reduce carbon emissions by 90% by 2030 – this is the level he suggests we need to reach to avoid runaway global warming and the collapse of large eco-systems. Continue reading

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‘Planet as Self: An Earthen Spirituality’ by Sky McCain

‘Planet as Self’ argues for a radical rethink of our relationship with Mother Earth or Gaia and points out how beliefs – scientific or religious – can so easily be mistaken for truths. Nothing less than a paradigm shift in our basic beliefs is called for. Continue reading

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‘Wild Mind: A Field guide to the human psyche’ by Bill Plotkin

Plotkin, an eco-psychologist and wilderness guide well known for his earlier books Soulcraft and Nature and the Human Soul, turns his attention now to a complete and holistic re-visioning of psychology. Rather than focusing on pathology and dysfunction as most psychologists—except perhaps the Jungian ones—have done, his focus is on wellness. Not just wellness in the sense of being ‘normal’ and well-functioning but in the much wider and deeper context of our existence as just one species among many and just one aspect of ‘all-that-is.’ Continue reading

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‘Stories of the Great Turning’ edited by Peter Reason and Melanie Newman

An inspiring collection of personal stories, told by sixteen people who are each, in their own individual ways, involved in working towards what Joanna Macy calls ‘The Great Turning,’ i.e. the movement away from the madness of our materialist, militaristic, industrial culture and towards the sanity of living sustainably and co-operatively on our planet. Continue reading

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‘Collected Papers of Michael E. Soulé: Early Years in Modern Conservation Biology’ by Michael, E. Soulé

This book contains skilfully collected presentations of the many faceted concerns of conservation combined with peer-reviewed scientific research in the broadest areas of biology, environmental studies and genetics. With well prepared overviews and summary paragraphs of the fourteen presented papers, the book serves as an essential text book for students of conservation biology and also as a fascinating general knowledge source for any layperson interested in the multitude of synchronous and symbiotic relationships within the plant and animal kingdoms and in the concept of the planet as a living, holistic being. It is a collection that would provide stimulating reading for anyone seeking deeper understanding of the ways in which the strands of the web of life are woven together. Continue reading

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‘Deep Green Living (GreenSpirit ebooks Book 6)’ Edited by Marian Van Eyk McCain

This ebook on Deep Green Living is a collection of articles written by fourteen different authors and is in four parts. The first is about feeling our sense of place on the Earth, the second looks at our lifestyles, the third is about wildness and the final part discusses our relationship with the natural world. The intention of the ebook is to help us to find our place in the world and to inspire us to live in good relationship with the Earth and all beings. Continue reading

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‘Environmental Culture. The Ecological Crisis of Reason’ by Val Plumwood

The late Val Plumwood’s previous book Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (Routledge, 1993) is one of the foundational texts of eco-feminism. In Environmental Culture she has written a worthy successor. Continue reading

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‘Living in Connection: Theory and Practice of the New World-View’ by Chris Clarke

In this book, Chris links his extensive, first-hand knowledge of modern physics with a deeply-felt creation spirituality, aided by a powerful grasp of the history of science and philosophy. He wants to tell us what it means to really live in moment-by-moment connection with all-that-is, or, to use a favourite term of his, with the Other. To do this, he sets out the new world-view that makes living in connection possible.
Continue reading

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‘Climb up to the Moor: Moorland Life through the Seasons of the Year.’ Words and pictures by Judith Bromley with selected paintings by Robert Nicholls

This book about the moorland of the North Yorkshire National Park is a feast for the senses. Everyone reading it will certainly want to experience the moorland as Judith has. She walks there in every season: observing, watching, writing and painting. Each month she describes the impact on all of her senses of what is above her head, below her feet and within her field of vision. By itself the language that she uses paints glorious pictures in our minds, but the written words are accompanied by stunning paintings of the places she describes. Continue reading

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‘Keeping the Wild: Against the Domestication of Earth’ by George Wuerthner (Author, Editor), Eileen Crist (Editor) and Tom Butler (Editor)

Anthropocentrism, instead of gradually going away as so many of us have hoped, is sneaking in again by the back door. The people letting it in are not the familiar enemy who rip the tops of mountains and drill the Arctic but a small bunch of people who are billing themselves as the ‘new environmentalists’ (also known as ‘Anthropocene-boosters’) and who are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Continue reading

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‘Sacred Earth Celebrations’ by Glennie Kindred

With her whole-hearted commitment to celebrating the Earth and its cycles, Glennie Kindred delves into the living tradition of our Celtic ancestors and arrives at a magnificent collection of sacred ceremonies based on the eight Celtic festivals: the Summer and Winter Solstices, the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes, the four cross-quarter points of Imbolc, Beltain, Lammas and Samhain. However, the celebrations in the collection are not in any way fixed or immutable; for her …they help us to discover more about ourselves and our intrinsic connection to Earth. Glennie believes we are free to celebrate the festivals in whatever way we choose, and her book is packed with suggested ways to do just this.
Continue reading

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‘Rewild Yourself: Becoming Nature’ by Rachel Corby

In recent years, as modern life causes more and more of us to become emotionally disconnected from the Earth upon which all our lives depend, we are realizing that it is not just the land we live in that needs rewilding but our own selves. This means finding ways to break down all the artificial boundaries that we humans have tried to place between ourselves and the rest of Nature. It means recognizing that we are—and always have been and always will be—an intrinsic part of the Earth, cells in the body of a living planet. Furthermore, it means re-learning how to live our daily lives out of that knowing. It means coming back ‘down to Earth’ in the truest sense of that phrase: consciously re-immersing ourselves in every way possible in the natural world that surrounds is, both without and within. That way lies healing—for ourselves and our planet. Continue reading

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“The Garden Awakening: Designs to nurture our land and ourselves” by Mary Reynolds

Mary Reynolds is a talented Irishwoman with ancient magic in her blood and a sublime sense of beauty, both of which she brings to her work as a garden designer. Her aim is to create gardens that are very natural places, gardens in which the energy flows freely and abundantly and which also evoke in us a sense of homecoming, in that they reconnect us with the pulse of Nature and remind us that we, too, are part of the natural world. Continue reading

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‘Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth’ by William Bryant Logan

Logan converts that which seems ordinary into something mystical, taking us with the stardust created in the ‘big bang’, through the ages, to join the other components of earth, dirt, soil, muck, loam, humus, compost, or whatever you choose to call the skin of the Earth. Continue reading

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‘Nature’s Due: Healing Our Fragmented Culture’ by Brian Goodwin

For Brian Goodwin, intelligence, meaning and subjectivity are inherent in nature, not restricted to the human realm. As a scientist, Goodwin is well equipped to show us how this can be so, though he calls on folk stories as well as scientific studies to help him convey the message. His argument equally implies that all our stories, arts and other cultural creations also arise from the endlessly inventive, emergent, unpredictable reality which is Nature. Continue reading

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‘Healing this Wounded Earth: with Compassion, Spirit and the Power of Hope’ by Eleanor Stoneham

The book is a call to action – to heal our wounds and our fractured society, and most importantly halt the violence we are inflicting on this planet before it’s too late. The author points out that, through increasing urbanisation, most of us have lost contact with the land and the soil and as a result part of our soul has died. She writes from a Christian perspective but draws on the wisdom of other religious traditions as well. She assures readers that her message is for those of all faiths or none: what matters is that they possess ‘the honesty of intention’ She tackles big questions such as how we move into a new era of social responsibility, lay the foundations of a just society and reform our economic system so that we value people and not money.
Continue reading

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‘The Universe Story In Science and Myth’ by Greg Morter and Niamh Brennan

This book describes our planet’s whole evolutionary journey from the Big Bang to the present day, as revealed to us by science. It then goes on to explain why the story is so relevant for our time and to discuss some of the many inspirations we can draw from it. Continue reading

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‘Don’t Even Think About It: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change’ by George Marshall

As the title suggests, this is not a book about climate science. It’s about humans and the weird but inescapable fact that we, as the species whose actions have contributed so heavily to climate change, seem utterly incapable not only of addressing the issue but even of admitting that it exists. Why? Why don’t we all join the dots and amend our lifestyles to lower carbon emissions? Marshall is convinced that the real answers to do not lie in the things that drive us apart so much as the things we all share: our common psychology, our perception of risk, and our deepest instincts to defend our family and tribe. This book, the result of years of research, provides a full and fascinating explanation of this phenomenon and what we might do about it. Continue reading

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‘The Tao of Liberation: Exploring the Ecology of Transformation’ by Mark Hathaway and Leonardo Boff

Beginning with an evocative quote from the Tao to set the ambience for the material that follows, this work creatively holds many diverse areas in an integral manner covering, with a commanding scholarship, such fields as economics, psychology, cosmology, ecology and spirituality. It also displays a strenuous commitment to issues of social justice combined with a path-breaking reflection on sustainability in a larger evolutionary context, exploring the work of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme in the context of cosmology. Continue reading

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“Nature’s Allies: Eight Conservationists Who Changed Our World” by Larry A. Nielsen

With political leaders who deny climate change, species that are fighting for their very survival, and the planet’s last places of wilderness growing smaller and smaller, it is all to easy to succumb to despair and to give up because, after all, what can a single person do? Well, one person can do a surprising amount. In Nature’s Allies, Larry A. Nielsen uses the stories of eight people to show that through passion and perseverance, we can each be a positive force for change. Continue reading

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‘The Art Of Conversation With The Genius Loci’ by Barry Patterson

…Nevertheless, I liked his book for three reasons. Firstly, it teaches a slow, careful and highly conscious way of interacting with – and appreciating – place. Continue reading

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‘Out of the Labyrinth: Who We Are, How We Go Wrong and What We Can Do about It’ by Carl Frankel

This book addresses the elements in human nature that either propel one in the direction of living in harmony with the earth or, as is the usual case, carry on as though a connection didn’t exist. Continue reading

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‘Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future’ by Bron Taylor

The overall aim of this book is to define and describe dark green religion which, reduced to one simplistic sentence, means a belief in the intrinsic value and sacredness of Nature, and to examine the influence of this strand of belief upon our contemporary culture, particularly in the West. Continue reading

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‘Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice’ by Cormac Cullinan

South African lawyer Cormac Cullinan describes all the ways in which human laws and governance systems need be designed to promote human behaviour that contributes to the health and integrity not only of human society, but also of the wider communities, and of the Earth itself. Continue reading

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‘The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light’ by Paul Bogard

By lighting up the Earth to the point where hardly anyone gets to see the stars any more we are cheating ourselves and our descendants out of an experience that should be their birthright—but which, after a few generations, nobody is going to know is even possible. Also, since all living beings evolved on a planet where nights are dark, we are unthinkingly disrupting countless ecological systems and cycles that have existed since life began.
This book chronicles its author’s journey across the USA in search of really dark skies and his conversations with those he met along the way, including astronomers, who face increasing challenges from light pollution, and urban planners who are starting to look at how we might light our cities and towns more subtly and sustainably in order to preserve the darkness our bodies—and our souls—actually need for good health.
Continue reading

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‘Blue Mind’ by Wallace J. Nichols

Ranging as it does from in-depth explanations of neuropsychological processes to personal stories from surfers, divers, fishermen, sailors and others, this book is so impressively comprehensive that it could easily have been subtitled ‘Everything you always wanted to know about our human relationship to water and lots more that you never even imagined.’ Continue reading

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‘Gossip from the Forest’ by Sara Maitland

In this beautifully written book, Sara Maitland sets out on a series of walks through ancient forest and woodland in Britain seeking the symbiosis between forests and fairy stories. She expresses a deep concern that the future of these two sources of healthy life experience is endangered. Continue reading

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‘Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organisations & Society’ by Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski & Betty Sue Flowers

I’ve always wondered what manner of ‘profound change’ it would take to alter how individuals think and act. Individuals make up society; if enough of them did change, that would mean society itself would undergo some kind of transformation. Thus it was with great curiosity and anticipation that I waded in and began absorbing the discerning logic and experiential wisdom the four experts had woven in and out of all kinds of background qualifications and assembled into one gigantic platter of prescriptions for how to make sense of who we are, how society functions, the consequences of our interactions and the kinds of scenarios that result because of the choices we make, both personal and public, at all levels of human conduct. Continue reading

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‘The Acentric Labyrinth: Giordano Bruno’s Prelude to Contemporary Cosmology’ by Ramon Mendoza

Ramon maintains that Giordano Bruno, who was burned at the stake in 1600, is the true founder of modern cosmology, and that he goes far beyond modern physics in linking cosmology and spirituality. Bruno put forward a view of the Universe which is close to that – indeed goes further than that – which is held by early twenty-first century physics. Continue reading

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‘Eyes of the Wild:Journeys of Transformation with the Animal Powers’ by Eleanor O’Hanlon

An epic, personal journey to meet whales and wolves, bears and wild horses, guided by outstanding biologists and other observers who are renewing an ancient way of connection with the wild. Continue reading

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‘Soil, Soul, Society: A New Trinity for our Time’ by Satish Kumar

Drawing on the teachings of Buddha, Ghandi, Rabindranath Tagore and E.F. Schumacher, Satish Kumar outlines a spiritual vision of sustainability in which we can learn from Nature as well as about Nature. Offering practical guidance for how we can achieve this vision, Satish teaches that only love and reverence and not fear will lead to long term sustainability. Continue reading

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Sustainable World Sourcebook: Critical Issues, Viable Solutions, Resources for Action (4th Edition, 2014)

If you wanted a comprehensive yet succinct overview to present to someone with scant knowledge of social/environmental issues, to anyone interested in sustainability, or to a group looking for action ideas and/or discussion topics, this would be your perfect resource book. It is, in fact, a practical and inspirational one-stop shop for all things green. It covers social justice, energy, climate change, economics, communities and all aspects of the environmental issues that our world is currently facing. Inspirational and potentially attitude-changing. Continue reading

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‘The Optimistic Environmentalist: Progressing Toward a Greener Future’

As an environmental lawyer, Canadian writer David Boyd knows full well that much of the environmental news these days is bad news. However he also knows that although news tends to make more compelling headlines than good news, there is good news to be found. Although we have a very, very long way to go, it is a fact that: From air pollution to safe drinking water, from greener cities to renewable energy, we’ve made remarkable but widely underacknowledged progress. And his aim was to document as many examples of this kind of good news as he could fit between two covers. Continue reading

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‘In Search of Grace: An Ecological Pilgrimage’ by Peter Reason

Two vivid accounts of sailing pilgrimages the author recently undertook in his small yacht, Coral, from the southern coast of England to Ireland, and to the far north of Scotland. Yet his book is not simply a day-to-day account of things that happened or had to be done in order for him to reach various historical sacred places of interest. Its richness lies in his skill of including additional material, writers, and sharing thoughts and knowledge he has about Nature, and our interactions and relationships with her. Continue reading

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‘Gaia Eros:Reconnecting to the Magic and Spirit of Nature’ by Jesse Wolf Hardin

Jesse Wolf Hardin’s book bears an accurately descriptive title. Gaia, the living, conscious, inspirited Earth, and eros, the love of the Earth. Gaia Eros – Earth love. Its thirty-eight small chapters felt to me more like a collection of love poems than a series of essays. Unconnected by a logical, progressive unfolding of ideas, each is complete in itself like musical variations on a theme – the theme of Earthly love. Continue reading

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‘Sacred Gaia: Holistic Theology and Earth System Science’ by Anne Primavesi

As part of the development of a liberation theology, Anne Primavesi presents a critique of the view that biological evolution is driven almost exclusively by competitive processes and the way this has been carried over into the human SocialScape and used to justify the exploitation of humans and the natural world. Continue reading

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