Spiritual Ecology: Exploring Four Elemental Questions

Spiritual ecology may be defined as the vast, diverse, complex, and dynamic arena of interactions of religions and spiritualities with ecologies, environments, and environmentalisms. It is predicated on understanding that secular approaches to resolve environmental problems from the local to the global levels, while indispensable and achieving many successes, are insufficient. The addition of religions and spiritualities may help. Four elemental questions are explored here. What is nature? What is human? What is the place of humans in nature? What should be the place of humans in nature? The focus is on Animism and Buddhism. The underlying argument is that both nature and humans are spiritual, and this needs to be recognized and facilitated. Increasing urbanization and other forces like materialism and consumerism have increasingly alienated humans from nature contributing to environmental problems, the nature-deficit. Mutual healing of humans and nature may be achieved through reconnecting with nature which can generate spirituality. This reflects ecopsychology and neurotheology as well as a basic attraction to living beings and landscapes, respectively called biophilia and topophilia.

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Leslie E. Sponsel
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