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Editor’s introduction to this book list

As we become more aware of the connectedness of all life, and the catastrophic impact of industrialization on lands, oceans, plants, animals and people, cherishing and defending the integrity of the web of life becomes as pressing a need as changing the global economic system that causes a billion people to go to sleep hungry each night. Images of sea birds dying in the plume of oil leaking from offshore wells give a new meaning to the words of Jesus, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40 NIV).

  

Image courtesy of artist, Meganne Forbes.

 

 

Over time we are all becoming more aware of how deeply intertwined the two issues are: caring for people and caring for the Earth.  Because wrecked land feeds no one, and overfished and poisoned seas yield no life-nurturing food.  All of this has a special depth of meaning for those who love God as the creator and sustainer of all life, and faith-inspired ecology movements are emerging around the world to express that special meaning.

Many great writers have addressed these issues, and this page will strive to list the best books.  Please participate in the development of this page by sending your suggestions via our CONTACT page. As is the case with all the book lists on this site, the online book information linked to the titles is provided by Global-Find-A-Book.net, an information service company and book purchase gateway owned and operated by the Editor.

The Internet allows us to greatly extend the concept of an annotated bibliography, keeping the top level book entries relatively short, while the annotation material for the various books may include hundreds or even thousands of pages, and in some cases all or large parts of the books themselves.

Many thanks to Molly Young Brown and Jim Brown for the initial research that got this book list started.


 

Ecotheology

Berry, Thomas. The Dream of the Earth.  San Francisco:1988. In this classic of “ecotheology,” Father Berry’s essays show us a universe dynamically alive: a whole system, fluid and interconnected, an enchanted world that was part of the natural mind for most of human history.

Boff, Leonardo. Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor.  In his latest work, the noted Latin American theologian Leonardo Boff extends the intuitions of liberation theology, showing how they contribute to answering urgent questions of poverty and ecological degradation.

Hayden, Tom.  The Lost Gospel of the Earth: A Call for Renewing Nature, Spirit and Politics. Ig Publishing: 2006.  More timely and necessary than ever in the wake of recent calamities like Hurricane Katrina and the Republican war against the environment, The Lost Gospel of the Earth is legendary activist Tom Hayden’s eco-spiritual call for revamping traditional religious doctrine to reflect a greater environmental consciousness, which he believes is the only way to save the planet from catastrophe.

Ruether, Rosemary Radford.  Gaia and God: An Ecofeminist Theology of Earth Healing. Internationally acclaimed author and teacher presents a sweeping ecofeminist theology that illuminates a path toward “earth-healing,” a whole relationship between men and women, communities and nations. “This is theology that really matters.” Harvey Cox

Sojourners Magazine.  Christians and the Environment.  Washington: 2007. A study guide for small groups. This series is designed to spark discussion and thought about how to live out God’s call for justice in our world. This guide includes four sessions, each with Sojourners articles, questions for discussion, and ideas for further study.

Image courtesy of artist, Meganne Forbes.

 

Deep Ecology

Drengson, Alan, and Yuichi Inoue, eds. The Deep Ecology Movement.  Berkeley CA: 1995.  This comprehensive introductory anthology brings together Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess’ pioneering work with essays by environmental thinkers and activists responding to and expanding on its philosophical and practical aspects.

Fox, Warwick. Toward a Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism. Albany NY: 1995. The common ground between deep ecology and transpersonal psychology is explored here with great clarity.

Katz, Eric, Andrew Light, and David Rothenberg, Beneath the Surface: Critical Essays in the Philosophy of Deep Ecology. Boston: 2000. The first anthology on deep ecology that is not primarily the work of the movement’s followers, this book approaches deep ecology as a philosophy, not as a political, social, or environmental movement.

LaChapelle, Dolores. Sacred Land, Sacred Sex-Rapture of the Deep: Concerning Deep Ecology and Celebrating Life. Durango CO: 1988.  LaChapelle draws on scholarly work in philosophy, anthropology, psychology, ecology, and history in her portrayal of humans as technological creatures within the household of nature.

Macy, Joanna, and Molly Young Brown. Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World. Gabriolia Island BC: 1998. An inspiring and practical guide to the “work that reconnects” as developed by Buddhist scholar, ecofeminist, and deep ecologist Joanna Macy and her colleagues.

Macy, Joanna. World as Lover, World as Self. Berkeley CA: 1991.  An engrossing collection of talks and essays, drawing on Buddhist philosophy, systems thinking, and the author’s work in Deep Ecology.

McLaughlin, Andrew.  Regarding Nature: Industrialism & Deep Ecology Albany NY: 1993. Holding industrialism as a primary reason for our current ecological misfortune, the author seeks new options to help both humans and the rest of nature flourish, through fundamental change in our understandings of both nature and humanity.

Oelschlaeger, Max, ed. The Wilderness Condition: Essays on Environment and Civilization. Washington DC: 1992. An anthology of original essays on wilderness philosophy, representing the views of major figures both in deep ecology and mainstream environmental ethics theory.

Seed, John, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming, and Arne Naess.  Thinking Like A Mountain: Toward a Council of All Beings. Philadelphia, 1988. A seminal collection of readings, meditations, poems, and workshop notes presenting the basic concepts and processes of deep ecology.

Sessions, George, ed. Deep Ecology for the 21st Century: Readings on the Philosophy & Practice of the New Environmentalism.  Boston: 1995.  These 39 articles by leaders in the field explore the basic philosophy of Deep Ecology, its roots in the writings of Thoreau, Muir, and Carson, its relationship to social ecology, ecofeminism, and the Greens, and as exemplified by poet Gary Snyder and philosopher Arne Naess.

Image courtesy of artist, Meganne Forbes.


Systems Thinking

Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life. NY:1996. In this important book on systems thinking, Capra presents an innovative view of the interrelationships of psychological, biological, and social phenomena.

Laszlo, Ervin. The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time. Cresskill NJ: 1996. This work attempts to explain the systems view of the world as the paradigm of the latest scientific developments.  A revised edition of the original 1972 title.

Macy, Joanna. Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory: The Dharma of Living Systems. Albany NY: 1991.  A fascinating comparison of classic Buddhist thought with General Systems Theory, by one of the central figures in Deep Ecology.

Sahtouris, Elisabet, and James E. Lovelock. Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution. 2000. Elisabet Sahtouris draws together some of the best thinking about Earth as a living organism and offers a broad understanding of humanity’s place in the web of life.

von Bertalanffy, Ludwig. General System Theory. NY:1968.  From the father of General Systems Theory, introducing major concepts and principles.

Image courtesy of artist, Meganne Forbes.


Ecophilosophy, Ecopsychology, and Related Disciplines

Abrams, David.  The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World. NY: 1996. Abram demonstrates that our most cherished human attributes–from the gift of language, to the awareness of past and future, to the rational intellect itself–emerge in interaction with, and wholly dependent on, the natural world.

Adams, Cass, ed.  The Soul Unearthed: Celebrating Wildness and Personal Renewal Through Nature. Los Angeles, 1996.  A rich anthology bringing together more than fifty of the planet’s most eloquent advocates teaching how to be refreshed and transformed by what is wild in the Earth – and in humans.

Roszak, Theodore, Mary Gomes and Allen Kanner, eds.  Ecopsychology. San Francisco, 1995.  In a comprehensive collection of essays, 24 ecopsychologists explore the psychological basis of our ecological crisis, and the “ecological” basis of common psychological ills, suggesting most of them originate in our alienation from nature.

Roszak, Theodore. The Voice of the Earth. NY: 1993.  A pioneering book that seeks to bridge the centuries-old split between the psychological and the ecological, exploring an “ecopsychology” that sees the needs of the planet and the person as a continuum.

Shepard, Paul.  Nature and Madness. Atlanta GA: 1982.  A true Elder of ecophilosophy, Paul Shepard draws on a stunning array of disciplines, from biology and psychology to history and theology to develop a unified theory of the human condition.

Snyder, Gary. The Practice of the Wild. NY: 1990. From one of the most important teachers/writers of the modern era, this book eloquently brings the wisdom of the wild to teach and to guide and to help us re-inhabit Earth.

Zimmerman, Michael, ed. Environmental Philosophy.  A superb collection of essays in five areas of eco-philosophy: environmental ethics, deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology, and animal liberation/rights.