Environmental issues and spirituality: tracing the past and making contemporary connections

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Abstract

In this chapter current aspects of spirituality are presented that contribute to the field of environmental and sustainability studies. In the twenty-first century both spirituality and sustainable practices are the foundations of hope. Sustainable practice is commonly associated with scientific knowledge and rationality and is less often connected to spirituality in its many forms. With its roots in deep ecology, ecofeminism and the ever present connections to indigenous knowledge(s), this chapter proposes that the notion of spirituality is embedded in understandings of sustainable practice. Short excerpts from ethnographic travel journals are used to connect the literature with experience.
In environmental terms the present time is now called the age of the Anthropocene, a time when humanity is displaced and takes its chance beside other species in a bid for survival. Many writers and researchers argue that extinction demands attention. At the same time people are using inventiveness and creativity to hold back what many see as an inevitable fate given the global evidence for climate change. With ever increasing momentum and popular support the Green movements are perceived by the author to be a new and politicised spirituality for the twenty-first century. For many people, their relationships with other species, with nature, and with new technologies, creates new possibilities focused on common threads and community and on spiritual connectedness, grounded in ways of life that sustain and hold promise for the future.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpirituality across Disciplines
Subtitle of host publicationResearch and Practice
EditorsMarian de Souza, Jane Bone, Jacqueline Watson
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherSpringer
Pages245-257
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9783319313801
ISBN (Print)9783319313788
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016

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