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Spiritual Ecology

Spiritual Ecology [Kindle Edition]

Leslie E. Sponsel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description


"Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries." - Choice "This is a valuable and challenging work that deserves wide reading and consideration." - Current Anthropology

Product Description

An internet search for "Spiritual Ecology" and related terms like "Religion and Nature" and "Religion and Ecology" reveals tens of millions of websites. Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution offers an intellectual history of this far-reaching movement. Arranged chronologically, it samples major developments in the thoughts and actions of both historic and contemporary pioneers, ranging from the Buddha and St. Francis of Assisi to Wangari Maathai's Green Belt Movement and James Cameron's 2010 epic film Avatar.

This foundational book is unique in that it provides a historical, cross-cultural context for understanding and advancing the ongoing spiritual ecology revolution, considering indigenous and Asian religious traditions as well as Western ones. Most chapters focus on a single pioneer, illuminating historical context and his/her legacy, while also connecting that legacy to broader concerns. Coverage includes topics as diverse as Henry David Thoreau and the Green Patriarch Bartholomew's decades-long promotion of environmentalism as a sacred duty for more than 250 million members of the Orthodox Church worldwide. For more information, visit

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 599 KB
  • Print Length: 312 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0313364095
  • Publisher: Praeger (31 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008UT9BBM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #640,139 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars important and overdue 4 July 2013
A series of easily accessible chapters, on a collection of diverse individuals who have shaped and are shaping the world for many people, this is an important book, which should be read by everyone interested in ecology and religion/spirituality. It's a pity it's so expensive in the UK!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Because the secular approach is simply not enough 21 Feb 2014
By Roger E. Breisch - Published on
Perhaps the author says it best: "More often than not secular approaches to ecocrises have proven insufficient although certainly necessary. Perhaps a spiritual approach will serve as a catalyst to finally turn things around for the better because the ecocrisis is ultimately a spiritual and moral crisis."

By now it must be clear we are in desperate need of new ways to envision the problems we face...and new ways to listen for solutions. While there are those who argue that spiritual traditions are responsible for humanity's moral and ethical separation from nature, Les Sponsel shows otherwise. He helps the reader walk the path of history, and illuminates the ideas and people who have, over the centuries, tried to show us the error of our ways.

I loved what he taught me about the role played by luminaries such as The Buddha, St. Francis of Assisi, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and Rudolf Steiner...and I value having been introduced to the current vanguard carrying the torch of spiritual approaches to our ecocrisis.

I particularly appreciate learning of the diversity of thinking throughout human history, and how that rich blend of thinking continues today. Clearly, the future, if we are to witness it, requires very new ways of envisioning the species and its relationship to the rest of nature.

If you wish to learn more about the context of how spiritual thought relates to ecology, this book is essential reading.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Evolutionary Consciousness 26 Nov 2013
By James L. Facette - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For some time I have been focused on the dire predictions for humanity, the more-than human community, and the planet, as a result of the seemingly inexorable march of Climate Change/Global Warming toward irreversible tipping-points. It is indeed devastating to realize that we humans are undoing the creative Earth evolution of four billion years in a few short centuries. Spiritual Ecology: A Quiet Revolution has opened for me a renewed hope that we can indeed reverse the downward slide by focusing on the positive possibilities, envisioning and reshaping of ourselves, pursuing a shift in consciousness. The questions for humanity are: What is Nature? What is the place of humans in Nature? What should be the place of humans in Nature? We must remember how to be a human being in relationship to the natural world, to our home. Here is some optimism in what otherwise so often appears to be a rather dismal world with an ever more dismal future for humankind and Gaia.

“The author tells us: “The key message of the book is twofold. First secular approaches to environmental concerns are absolutely necessary and have made great strides, but they have not been sufficient. Second, the multitude of diverse approaches under the rubric of spiritual ecology may well be the last chance for the survival of our species. We are likely to see whether or not the intellectual and practical components of spiritual ecology will help turn the environmental situation around for the better within a few decades, especially in the face of the increasing pressures of global climate change (assuming that this does not reach a catastrophic tipping point). Perhaps a spiritual approach will serve as a catalyst to finally turn things around for the better because the ecocrisis is ultimately a spiritual and moral crisis.

The book is revolutionary, non-violent and decentralized—a devastating critique of the industrial growth society as a seriously unsustainable, maladaptive, dysfunctional, and destructive system. “Only in the long term will the passage of time reveal the destiny of the human species and the planet. But ultimately the matter is simple: a choice between ecocide or ecosanity”!

A quote from the profound thinker, writer, revolutionary dissident and former president of Czechoslovakia Vaclav Havel testifies: “What could change the direction of today’s civilization? It is my deep conviction that the only option is a change in the sphere of the spirit, in the sphere of human conscience. It’s not enough to invent new machines, new regulations, new institutions. We must develop a new understanding of the true purpose of our existence on the Earth. Only by making such a fundamental shift will we be able to create new models of behavior and a new set of values for the planet”.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spiritual Ecology is alive! Join the Revolution . . . 30 Oct 2012
By David Adams - Published on
In a world plagued by religious fanaticism and blind faith, Dr. Sponsel shows us a kinder, "greener" side of spiritual development. Based on an exhaustive review of the world's religions in theory and practice, Dr. Sponsel demonstrates religion is less "many paths up the same mountain" and more many sacred mountains, caves, and rivers traversed by a species in search of itself.

This book will appeal to both the academic and the seeker alike. There are gems of wisdom that can be lifted from the page and applied to one's own daily practice. Dr. Sponsel gives us hope that the flipped coin of humanity still has a chance to land feet first should the sacred landscapes both endure and inform who we are as individuals and a culture.

Spiritual Ecology envisions a world where progress is measured by an inward compass rather than "leading economic indicators."
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book by a pioneering intellectual 8 Sep 2012
By C.F.G. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a doctoral student dedicated to improving the quality of life for humans and all other species, and as someone who has been in personal contact with Dr. Les Sponsel, I can attest that this book is visionary, necessary, and compelling.

Dr. Sponsel is almost single-handedly responsible for creating and popularizing the scientific study of how human interaction with the environment eflects and affects our spiritual, emotional, and physical health.

He is the rare kind of scholar that every graduate student loves to have as a graduate advisor and mentor. Dr. Sponsel doesn't just write and research about ethics, spirituality, and our life on this planet, he works 24/7 to help our world, his students, and academia.

Dr. Sponsel's breadth of knowledge, attention to detail, academic expertise, and courage are among the reasons this book contains a unique exploration of the multi-faceted interface between humans and the earth.

In this book you'll find plenty of new information, perspectives and opportunities to truly understand the power of humans to turn our planet into a Garden of Eden, or a paved-over, ruined paradise.

I was especially moved by the book's very appropriate closing chapter, which focuses on ecology and the Dalai Lama. This chapter is a brilliant summing up of what I get from this book, which is that humans have reached a level of power and technology that allows us to behave as gods. What we do to each other and the planet is a moral and spiritual issue that each of us can consider personally and intellectually.

Will human powers be used to further the goals of angels, or devils? Will we cannibalize this planet and all its creatures in our relentless desire to build more shopping malls, or will we become kinder, gentler and more compassionate towards each other, other species, and the earth?

Dr. Sponsel's book will help you answer those questions, and build a better future. Order a copy today.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Overview of a Most Pressing Issue 24 Jan 2013
By Jamie Southam - Published on
Dr Sponsel's history of Spiritual Ecology fills an important intellectual and philosophical lacuna at that point where anthropology, spiritual practise and environmentalism intersect. His easy-to-read style should never be confused for simplistic discourse, and each of these twenty-one chapters constitutes a combination of historical analysis and philosophical framework for a given aspect of the subject. Spiritual Ecology is arguably one of the most important intellectual and spiritual practises in today's world, since it encourages us all to consider both our individual and societal place within the universe and our energertic relationship with the natural world, and so determines the way in which we foster knowledge of, and communicate the importance of, that natural world, to and for future generations. For this reason, Dr Sponsel's contribution should be mandatory reading for policy makers as well as for environmentalists. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the environment, on whatever level, to read and contemplate the material contained in this book, and to use the extensive bibliography (one of the primary features of the book, in fact) to deepen their knowledge.
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