NPR logo Spiritual Ecology: A Universal Grounding

Spiritual Ecology: A Universal Grounding

A common caricature of traditional religions is that they are insulated from progressive social engagement, instead focused on ancient texts, life-after-death concerns and opposition to science education. Many comments along these lines followed this week’s posts by Adam and Marcelo.

I’m spending this week at a conference called The Energy Transition: Religious and Cultural Perspectives, organized by the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science (IRAS) on Star Island off the coast of New Hampshire. I came with a vague sense that the traditions had become engaged in matters relating to climate change and global sustainability, but I was unaware of the depth and scope of that engagement. Here’s a sampling of their commitment.

  • Bill McKibben’s includes active participation by religious congregations.
  • A film Renewal: Stories from America’s Religious Environmental Movement is available that describes American environmental activists from Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist traditions.

Marcelo writes of “spiritual ecology” as a moral universal, one with the potential to serve as one of the higher grounds as we move from the sterile science-religion debates between fundamentalist and atheistic believers (yes, I would say that “strident atheism” is a fundamentalist belief). Spiritual ecology is, of course, fully open to those of us who are not affiliated with a traditional religion. But to me it is very exciting to realize that this is a path that we can all walk together.

We no longer support commenting on stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.