“This is a subject that should have been documented long ago–this wise and careful book fills an important gap, and does it with real power.” Bill McKibben, author Eaarth
“This book is a tour de force. No one has attempted to bring together such a wide range of people and movements under the rubric of Spiritual Ecology. The result is deeply engaging for scholars and activists alike. Sponsel has given us a gem.” Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on Religion and Ecology,Yale University
“Sponsel, a noted scholar of ecological anthropology, traces a broad, ecumenical “religion of nature” from deep roots in the past to modern advanced thinkers. He argues persuasively that we would not have an environmental crisis today if we treated the earth with respect and reverence. The book offers a fascinating tour through the spiritual landscape, and its extensive notes give readers a rich guide to further reading and reflection.” Donald Worster, author of A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir (2008)
“Spiritual Ecology is essential reading today, when most of the world seems swept up by the economic dimensions of the environment. Providing a welcome antidote to the current materialistic approach, Leslie Sponsel’s keen reminder of the spiritual component of nature is both timely and a reminder that the most effective reasons for conservation come from the heart, not from the wallet.” Jeffrey A. McNeely, Senior Science Advisor, InternationalUnion for Conservation of Nature
“Leslie Sponsel’s new book is an excellent guide to spiritual ecology. It is much more: it is an evocation of spiritual ecology—its forms, its dynamic development, and its promise for the contemporary world. Dr. Sponsel, a leading authority on this field, provides a historical overview of the development of ecological and environmental visions in religion from earliest times to the present. He surveys major religions, and, in particular detail, modern writers who have developed new philosophical understandings of religion-environment relationships. This book serves both as a wonderful introduction to the field and an inspiring essay on the basic tenets, values, and goals of spiritual ecology.” Eugene N. Anderson, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of California Riverside
“I am delighted with this inspiring panoramic introduction to the remarkable people who have personally contributed to the on-going “quiet revolution” that will help solve our contemporary problems of conflict, poverty, and environmental degradation. This source book could only have been produced by an anthropologist with firsthand experience with life in the tribal world and in the ancient great civilization cultural traditions of South andSoutheast Asia. This is an absolute treasure trove of cross-cultural ideas and sources for beliefs and practices that respond constructively to global environmental problems and related social justice issues. I immediately went to the library and the Internet to learn even more about particular organizations and people. As an anthropologist who has been concerned with indigenous people and the environment for many years, I am especially pleased with how sensitively Sponsel treats the “ecologically noble savage” issue, and the well-deserved importance he gives to animist beliefs generally.” John H. Bodley,Washington StateU niversity
“At a moment in history when political and technological solutions to the environmental crisis has been shown to have their limits, Leslie Sponsel has compiled a wonderful collection of essays on a spiritual approach to ecology. Fundamentally re-envisioning the relationship between the human and nature, Spiritual Ecology draws on the wisdom and practical insights of global spiritual traditions from antiquity to the present. This is a foundational text that includes inspirational classics as well as critical essays that explore how a spiritual ecology can deeply inform our debates about our relationship to our planet.” Duncan Williams, School of Religion,University of Southern California
“Humans possess an inherent inclination to find meaning and purpose through their relation to the world beyond themselves, to what we call nature. This marvelous and informative book explores this need from its roots in tribal cultures through its expression and distortion in the modern era. It is only recently that people have come to believe human progress and civilization means transforming and transcending our evolutionary roots in the natural world. This book importantly explores and leads the way toward a new movement, “spiritual ecology,” bringing us back to our spiritual roots in nature.” Stephen R. Kellert, Yale University Schoolof Forestry and Environmental Studies
“As Sponsel so ably demonstrates, there has always been a dimension of environmentalist thought that is founded on the understanding, explicit or implicit, that nature is sacred. As activists and policy makers seek ways of averting environmental disaster, the time is overdue for this mode of thought to enter the mainstream. This much needed book provides the kind of understanding that might help it to do so.” Kay Milton, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, Queen’s University Belfast, Ireland
“In a world where religious beliefs are too often seen as the source of deadly tension and violent conflict, Leslie Sponsel’s Spiritual Ecology offers a helpful and healing contrary view. Aptly subtitled, A Quiet Revolution, this provocative collection of essays serves as key resource and guide to the global sources of inspiration, thought, and action that collectively constitute a life-sustaining path for humanity.” Barbara Rose Johnston, Senior Research Fellow, Center for Political Ecology
“Awareness that the natural world is our essential ground of being, to be revered as sacred, goes back to the dawn of the human journey. Today this awareness returns in the growing recognition that we cannot fully face or adequately respond to what our species is doing to the biosphere without a spiritual apprehension of our non-separateness from it. That is the quiet revolution to which Leslie Sponsel’s Spiritual Ecology brings a fresh and fascinating overview. To the unfolding history it provides, this lean and lovely book takes the archetypal form of Tree, letting us follow–from roots to branches, leaves and fruit–the organic emergence of our native wisdom.” Joanna Macy, Ph.D., author, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess we’re in Without Going Crazy.
“Sponsel beautifully integrates the different dimensions of spiritual ecology: theology, morality, social movement, and personal experience; and he does so with a fine eye to its global and multicultural nature. This always clear and often moving book deserves wide readership and serious attention.” Roger S. Gottlieb, Professor of Philosophy, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, author of A Greener Faith and Engaging Voices
“Leslie Sponsel’s “Spiritual Ecology” is a great guide to the wide landscape of the environmental movement. The book brings together the scientific, philosophical, political and religious aspects of environmentalism. If you want to see a bigger picture of the multi-dimensional view of sustainability and spirituality, then this is the book for you; it is informative, educative and evocative.” Satish Kumar, Editor-in-Chief, Resurgence magazine
“Spiritual Ecology is a must read for anyone interested in having harmonious and peaceful relationships with (M)other Nature. As we rewild our hearts we must feel the deep interconnections that exist between ourselves and other beings and diverse and magnificent landscapes. The quiet revolution must begin and end in our heart. We suffer the indignities to which we subject animals and Earth and everyone benefits when we openly and widely express dignity, respect, kindness, compassion, peace, and love.” Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado; author of The Emotional Lives of Animals, Wild Justice, and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Expanding Our Compassion Footprint.
“Whether one agrees or disagrees with the themes or theses presented within this book, it is bound to become one of the foundational texts in the spiritual ecology movement. It is written in a dramatic manner with personal insights from ethnographic research along with details regarding the main personalities, both religious and secular, who have contributed to this movement.” Raymond Scupin, Director, Center for International and Global Studies, Lindenwood University.
Winner in the Science category at the annual Green Book Festival, San Francisco, CA, May 17, 2014