On July 17, did you look up and smile? If not, you’re one of several billion people who were captured in candid pose when NASA’s Cassini space probe looked back at Earth from about 1.5 billion kilometers (932 million miles) away. Cassini has always been able to flip around and snap pictures in Earth’s general direction, but this picture was special since it used the enormous bulk of Saturn to block the usually confounding brightness of the Sun. Cassini, which was launched to survey that most ostentatious of ringed planets, captured an absolutely incredible image of both the Earth as a pale blue dot, and of Saturn as a striking, luminous apparition.
In reality, the picture is cobbled together from many shots taken over a period of Cassini’s circuitous orbit. Remember that Cassini was launched in 1997, the same year a computer finally beat a human Grand Master in chess; it’s incredible that technology built and launched more than 16 years ago could capture images of such fidelity over any period of time. NASA took several months to build the final, indelible image which is featured above. Click below to see it in all its full, super-high-res glory.
Click for full detail on one of NASA’s most amazing and expensive photos ever.
This picture is being referred to as the Day The Earth Smiled photo, which really could not be less catchy if it tried. Still, it’s at least accurate thanks to NASA’s awareness campaign, which tried to get everyday citizens to smile at the sky for the first posed interplanetary photo most of us have ever experienced. Light from the sun refracts around the swirling weather systems of gas and debris that make up Saturn and its rings, creating a halo effect that makes our sixth planet look truly breathtaking. In the annotated version, you can also see Venus, Mars, and some of Saturn’s moons.
Cassini and Messenger’s nearly simultaneous views of Earth, from totally different directions.
This Smile Day photo probably won’t ascend to its predecessors’ heights of popularity, but it does stand as one of the most visually sensational shots our planet could ever enjoy. Until we can take a photo of the Earth next to the Sun in mid-supernova, we’re unlikely to find a context more dramatic than a Saturnian solar eclipse. As if to confirm this, NASA’s Messenger probe took some vanilla Earth-shots from orbit around Mercury, while on the very same day Cassini grabbed this picture through Saturn’s glowing outer atmosphere. The Messenger pictures are much more typical of this type of stellar photography, and despite being taken from less than a tenth the distance, they cannot compare.
The Pale Blue Dot (Earth), as seen by Voyager 1 on its way out of the Solar System
These sorts of pictures of course invite references to the Pale Blue Dot (pictured above), a concept popularized by Carl Sagan with a book of the same name. There is something about the insignificant physical size of the Earth relative to the rest of the universe that always seems to either excite or upset people. That feeling of being dwarfed can apparently evoke anything from spiritual connectedness to strong materialist nihilism, and neither side seems willing to compromise on its interpretation. The Pale Blue Dot shows the human race to be either the universe’s most precious and fragile miracle, or as just another mechanical aspect of its unfeeling physical logic.
Either way, it’s a stunning photo that will inevitably come to influence how the next generation envisions their own embattled planet.
Now read: NASA activates 622 Mbps laser network between the Earth and Moon
Abram, David. Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology (Vintage, 2011).
David Abram’s first book, The Spell of the Sensuous, hailed as “revolutionary” by the Los Angeles Times, as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, has become a classic of environmental literature. Now he returns with a startling exploration of our human entanglement with the rest of nature.
As the climate veers toward catastrophe, the innumerable losses cascading through the biosphere make vividly evident the need for a metamorphosis in our relation to the living land. For too long we’ve ignored the wild intelligence of our bodies, taking our primary truths from technologies that hold the living world at a distance. Abram’s writing subverts this distance, drawing readers ever closer to their animal senses in order to explore, from within, the elemental kinship between the human body and the breathing Earth. The shape-shifting of ravens, the erotic nature of gravity, the eloquence of thunder, the pleasures of being edible: all have their place in this book.
Abram, David. The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World (Vintage, 2012).
David Abram draws on sources as diverse as the philosophy of Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism, Apache storytelling, and his own experience as an accomplished sleight-of-hand magician to reveal the subtle dependence of human cognition on the natural environment. He explores the character of perception and excavates the sensual foundations of language, which--even at its most abstract--echoes the calls and cries of the earth. On every page of this lyrical work, Abram weaves his arguments with passion and intellectual daring.
"Long awaited, revolutionary...This book ponders the violent disconnection of the body from the natural world and what this means about how we live and die in it."--Los Angeles Times
Anderson, Ray and Sissel Waage. Ants, Galileo, and Gandhi: Designing the Future of Business through Nature, Genius, and Compassion (Greenleaf, 2003).
Although sustainability efforts in business are still a work in progress, it is increasingly clear that key elements of a new generation of enterprises will be radically different from those of our contemporary modern industrial economy. The core distinctions between what currently exists and what is being created are communicated in this book through the cSchor, Juliet B. True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy (Penguin Books, 2011).
A groundbreaking statement about ecological decline, suggesting a radical change in how we think about consumer goods, value, and ways to live. In True Wealth, economist Juliet B. Schor rejects the sacrifice message, with the insight that social innovations and new technology can simultaneously enhance our lives and protect the planet. Schor shares examples of urban farmers, DIY renovators, and others working outside the conventional market to illuminate the path away from the work-and-spend cycle and toward a new world rich in time, creativity, information, and community.ompelling metaphor of Ants, Galileo, and Gandhi.This collection, developed from The Natural Step's conference on Sustainability and Innovation in 2002, provides radical ideas for generating a new perspective on the dynamics of business systems. 'Ants' symbolize the lessons to be learned from nature and the dependence of individual beings on broader, complex systems. "Galileo" embodies brilliance in perceiving and proving that the current paradigm is flawed. "Gandhi" exemplifies exceptional compassion in fighting for fundamental change.
All of these attributes are increasingly relevant in a world where, globally, we are experiencing both a steady decline in life-supporting resources and rising demands. Recognition of these challenges is sparking innovation within the private sector where the first glimmers of systemic change can be seen. The book examines the emergence of 21st-century enterprises that recognize their reliance on broad social and ecological systems ("ants"), incorporate sparks of genius rooted in rigorous analyses ('Galileo'), and acknowledge the importance of compassion and determination within any endeavour ('Gandhi'). With contributions from Ray Anderson, Gretchen Daily, Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Alois Flatz, Allen White and many more, the book illustrates that pioneering companies recognize that new opportunities emerge from recognizing the broader systems on which all businesses rely.
Efforts to work with ecological and social dynamics of vibrancy and resilience offer a new space for innovation. Companies are stepping into this space and exploring innovative approaches to developing sustainability-focused products, operations and strategies. These sustainability-inspired business efforts are considering new ways to address human needs and desires. The most promising approaches are based on systems thinking and recognition of the linkages between 'upstream' and 'downstream' effects of actions. Understanding the undesired 'downstream' impacts of a firm's practices draws attention 'upstream'. This assessment highlights the most expedient approach: to design these impacts out of enterprises from the very start. The book is divided into five sections to present a set of theories emerging about sustainability and its application to: business strategy and operations; financial-sector practices; accountability and reporting drivers; and organizational change pathways. Together, these sections illustrate the current range of sustainability theories and applications. Ants, Galileo, and Gandhi will be essential reading for both academics looking for robust teaching material, practitioners looking for inspiration and the general reader interested in exploring the state of the art in the realignment of 21st-century business.
Bekoff, Mark. Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation (University of Chicago Press, 2013).
For far too long humans have been ignoring nature. As the most dominant, overproducing, over consuming, big-brained, big-footed, arrogant, and invasive species ever known, we are wrecking the planet at an unprecedented rate. And while science is important to our understanding of the impact we have on our environment, it alone does not hold the answers to the current crisis, nor does it get people to act. In Ignoring Nature No More, Marc Bekoff and a host of renowned contributors argue that we need a new mind-set about nature, one that centers on empathy, compassion, and being proactive.
This collection of diverse essays is the first book devoted to compassionate conservation, a growing global movement that translates discussions and concerns about the well-being of individuals, species, populations, and ecosystems into action. Written by leading scholars in a host of disciplines, including biology, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, political science, and philosophy, as well as by locals doing fieldwork in their own countries, the essays combine the most creative aspects of the current science of animal conservation with analyses of important psychological and sociocultural issues that encourage or vex stewardship. The contributors tackle topics including the costs and benefits of conservation, behavioral biology, media coverage of animal welfare, conservation psychology, and scales of conservation from the local to the global. Taken together, the essays make a strong case for why we must replace our habits of domination and exploitation with compassionate conservation if we are to make the world a better place for nonhuman and human animals alike.
Berry, Thomas & Mary Evelyn Tucker. The Sacred Universe: Earth, Spirituality, and Religion in the Twenty-first Century (Columbia University Press, 2009)
A leading scholar, cultural historian, and Catholic priest who spent more than fifty years writing about our engagement with the Earth, Thomas Berry possessed prophetic insight into the rampant destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of species. In this book he makes a persuasive case for an interreligious dialogue that can better confront the environmental problems of the twenty-first century. These erudite and keenly sympathetic essays represent Berry's best work, covering such issues as human beings' modern alienation from nature and the possibilities of future, regenerative forms of religious experience. Asking that we create a new story of the universe and the emergence of the Earth within it, Berry resituates the human spirit within a sacred totality.
Berry, Wendell & Michael Pollan. Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food (Counterpoint, 2009).
Only a farmer could delve so deeply into the origins of food, and only a writer of Wendell Berry’s caliber could convey it with such conviction and eloquence. Long before Whole Foods organic produce was available at your local supermarket, Berry was farming with the purity of food in mind. For the last five decades, Berry has embodied mindful eating through his land practices and his writing. In recognition of that influence, Michael Pollan here offers an introduction to this wonderful collection.
Drawn from over thirty years of work, this collection joins bestsellers The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Pollan, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, as essential reading for anyone who cares about what they eat. The essays address such concerns as: How does organic measure up against locally grown? What are the differences between small and large farms, and how does that affect what you put on your dinner table? What can you do to support sustainable agriculture?
A progenitor of the Slow Food movement, Wendell Berry reminds us all to take the time to understand the basics of what we ingest. “Eating is an agriculture act,” he writes. Indeed, we are all players in the food economy.
Brown, Lester R. World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (Earth Policy Institute, 2011)
We are facing issues of near-overwhelming complexity and unprecedented urgency. Our challenge is to think globally and develop policies to counteract environmental decline and economic collapse. The question is: Can we change direction before we go over the edge?
Corbey, Raymond and Annette Lanjouw. The Politics of Species: Reshaping our Relationships with Other Animals (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
The assumption that humans are cognitively and morally superior to other animals is fundamental to social democracies and legal systems worldwide. It legitimises treating members of other animal species as inferior to humans. The last few decades have seen a growing awareness of this issue, as evidence continues to show that individuals of many other species have rich mental, emotional and social lives. Bringing together leading experts from a range of disciplines, this volume identifies the key barriers to a definition of moral respect that includes nonhuman animals. It sets out to increase concern, empathy and inclusiveness by developing strategies that can be used to protect other animals from exploitation in the wild and from suffering in captivity. The chapters link scientific data with normative and philosophical reflections, offering unique insight into controversial issues around the ethical, political and legal status of other species.
Brings together leading experts from a range of disciplines who provide contextualized illustrations of a variety of human-nonhuman relationships
Connects scientific data with normative and philosophical reflections, offering unique insight into the ethical, political and legal status of other species
Identifies the key barriers to a definition of moral respect that includes nonhuman animals, setting out strategies for increasing concern, empathy and inclusiveness
Cox, Lynne. Grayson (Mariner Books, 2008).
The true story of a miraculous encounter between a teenaged girl and a baby whale off the coast of California. It was the dark of early morning; seventeen-year-old Lynne Cox was swimming her last half mile back to the pier after a long workout when she became aware that something was swimming with her. The ocean was charged with energy as if a squall was moving in; whatever it was felt large enough to be a white shark coursing beneath her body. In fact, it was a baby gray whale. Lynne quickly realized that if she swam back to the pier, the young calf would follow her to shore and die from collapsed lungs. On the other hand, if Lynne didn’t find the mother whale, the baby would suffer from dehydration and starve to death. Something so enormous—the mother whale would be at least fifty feet long—suddenly seemed very small in the vast Pacific Ocean. This is the story—part mystery, part magical tale—of what happened.
de Chardin, Pierre Teilhard. Hymn of the Universe (HarperCollins, 1969).
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a figure-head in the unfolding of a new cycle in the life of mankind, moves us profoundly not only by the amazing lucidity of his scientific vision but also by his love, his immense love, of God, which enabled him to see, everywhere throughout the created world, what the majority of men are blind to: the constant presence of the Creator.
De Waal, Frans. The Age of Empathy: Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society (Broadway Books, 2010).
An important and timely message about the biological roots of human kindness.
—Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape
Are we our brothers' keepers? Do we have an instinct for compassion? Or are we, as is often assumed, only on earth to serve our own survival and interests? In this thought-provoking book, the acclaimed author of Our Inner Ape examines how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, Frans de Waal demonstrates that animals–and humans–are "preprogrammed to reach out." He has found that chimpanzees care for mates that are wounded by leopards, elephants offer "reassuring rumbles" to youngsters in distress, and dolphins support sick companions near the water's surface to prevent them from drowning. From day one humans have innate sensitivities to faces, bodies, and voices; we've been designed to feel for one another. De Waal's theory runs counter to the assumption that humans are inherently selfish, which can be seen in the fields of politics, law, and finance, and which seems to be evidenced by the current greed-driven stock market collapse. But he cites the public's outrage at the U.S. government's lack of empathy in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as a significant shift in perspective–one that helped Barack Obama become elected and ushered in what may well become an Age of Empathy. Through a better understanding of empathy's survival value in evolution, de Waal suggests, we can work together toward a more just society based on a more generous and accurate view of human nature. Written in layman's prose with a wealth of anecdotes, wry humor, and incisive intelligence, The Age of Empathy is essential reading for our embattled times.
Dorje, Ogyen Trinley the Karmapa. The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out (Shambhala, 2013).
The Karmapa calls on us to open our mind and heart to the innumerable connections we share with others—in our families, communities, social systems, and on our planet. Thanks to the depth of his spiritual training, and the breadth of his curiosity about the world and his love for it, he presents a relevant framework for understanding what it means to be human now—and why it’s imperative that we concern ourselves with the well-being of all others. He points to a world we can create through our own effort, using a resource we already have in abundance—the basic nobility of our human heart.
Friend, Catherine. The Compassionate Carnivore: Or, How to Keep Animals Happy, Save Old MacDonald’s Farm, Reduce Your Hoofprint, and Still Eat Meat (Da Capo Lifelong Books; Reprint edition, 2009).
Catherine Friend tackles the carnivore’s dilemma, exploring the contradictions, nuances, questions, and bewildering choices facing today’s more conscious meat-eaters. The Compassionate Carnivore is “perfect for people who would like to eat meat but have moral, ethical, or health concerns about doing so” (Marion Nestle, What to Eat). Based on her own personal struggle, Friend’s original, witty take on the meat and livestock debates shows consumers how they can be healthy and humane carnivores, too.
Gardner, Barbara. The Compassionate Animal: The YOGA of the Extended Circle of Compassion (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012).
'The Compassionate Animal' explores the age-old religious traditions which have given us a profound guidance in developing empathy towards all sentient beings. The book is immediately informative, educative, challenging and inspiring. It has been an honour and a privilege to know Barbara who has dedicated her life to the wellbeing of all humans as well as non-human creatures. Her book is a testimony to her intellectual, emotional, and spiritual commitment to serve the cause of animal welfare. I hope that 'The Compassionate Animal' will be on the shelves of all school, university and public libraries and politicians, policy makers and opinion formers will read it so that they can comprehend the significance of the subject.' Ingrid Newkirk, Founder & President PETA, says 'THE guidebook for anyone searching for their soul, for peace of mind, for a point to living at all. Barbara Gardner's mesmerizing book shows how spiritual teachings from long ago are wholly applicable today and can help us bring out the best in ourselves, allowing us to escape the thoughtless conduct and rudderless trek through life that bring unhappiness to ourselves and those around us. In Jain terms, this is a 'right' book.' Jill Robinson MBE, Dr.med.vet. h.c. - Founder & CEO Animals Asia Foundation, says 'A book so long overdue has arrived. At a time when scientists are at last concluding that non-human animals are conscious, the onus is surely on us all to treat other species as considerately and compassionately as we treat our own. Barbara Gardner creates a compelling argument towards accelerating this path of kindness, and understanding our role in more urgently releasing animals from their physical and psychological pain - until the cruelty ends.'
Gilbert, Sara. The Imperfect Environmentalist A Practical Guide to Clearing Your Body, Detoxing Your Home, and Saving the Earth (Without Losing Your Mind) (Ballantine Books, 2013).
Actress, producer, mother, and imperfect environmentalist, Sara Gilbert understands how helping the environment can seem overwhelming. Between keeping up with work, friends, and kids, who has the time or money to maintain a compost pile, become an activist, or knit a sweater out of recycled grocery bags? Fortunately, we now know that small changes here and there in our everyday lives can make a big impact on the environment. We just need to know where to begin. That’s where Gilbert comes in, with this tongue-in-cheek reference guide packed full of helpful information, available at your fingertips. Read it cover to cover or just open it up to a random page; you can take what you want from it when you want. Whether you’ve got money to burn or have to crash on a friend’s couch, here are all of the eco-essentials to get the planet back on track, and you won’t have to hug a single tree—unless tree-hugging is your thing. Sharing the basics on health and beauty, work and money, home and gardening, family and fitness, and more, The Imperfect Environmentalist cuts through the clutter—both in our homes and in our heads—and offers simple approaches to help us clear out the pollutants, put down the poisons, and begin to breathe easy again—one 100% recycled page at a time.
Hawken, Paul. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World (Penguin Books, 2008).
The New York Times bestselling examination of the worldwide movement for social and environmental change
Paul Hawken has spent more than a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice. From billion-dollar nonprofits to single-person dot.causes, these groups collectively comprise the largest movement on earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media.
Blessed Unrest explores the diversity of the movement, its brilliant ideas, innovative strategies, and centuries of hidden history. A culmination of Hawken?s many years of leadership in the environmental and social justice fields, it will inspire all who despair of the world?s fate, and its conclusions will surprise even those within the movement itself.
Goodall, Jane. Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants (Grand Central Publishing, 2014).
In her wise and elegant new book, Jane Goodall blends her experience in nature with her enthusiasm for botany to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around us. Long before her work with chimpanzees, Goodall's passion for the natural world sprouted in the backyard of her childhood home in England, where she climbed her beech tree and made elderberry wine with her grandmother. The garden her family began then, she continues to enjoy today. SEEDS OF HOPE takes us from England to Goodall's home-away-from-home in Africa, deep inside the Gombe forest, where she and the chimpanzees are enchanted by the fig and plum trees they encounter. She introduces us to botanists around the world, as well as places where hope for plants can be found, such as The Millennium Seed Bank, where one billion seeds are preserved. She shows us the secret world of plants with all their mysteries and potential for healing our bodies as well as Planet Earth. Looking at the world as an adventurer, scientist, and devotee of sustainable foods and gardening-and setting forth simple goals we can all take to protect the plants around us-Jane Goodall delivers an enlightening story of the wonders we can find in our own backyards.
Grober, Ulrich and Ray Cunningham. Sustainability: A Cultural History ( UIT Cambridge Ltd., 2012).
From diets to economic growth, everything these days has to be sustainable, and in clear and thought-provoking terms, Ulrich Grober reassesses the concept of sustainability using a range of fascinating historical instances of its application. He considers the vision of men such as Hans Carl von Carlowitz, credited with having first formulated the three pillars of sustainability: environmental equilibrium, economic security, and social justice. The journey takes in Francis of Assisi’s 13th-century Canticle of the Sun, as well as Greek philosophers and Enlightenment scholars. Grober reveals that sustainability, whether in the court of Louis XIV or the silver mines of Saxony, is always born of crisis and yet also marks the birth of a new awareness, a realization that the planet we live on has to be sustained and preserved for future generations. This book offers a historically rich and nuanced introduction to a concept that could not be of more pressing importance for the 21st century.
Hahn, Thich Nhat. Love Letter to the Earth (Parallax Press, 2013).
Love Letter to the Earth is Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh’s passionate appeal for ecological mindfulness and the strengthening of our relationship to the Earth. Rejecting the conventional economic approach, Nhat Hanh shows that mindfulness and a spiritual revolution are needed to protect nature and limit climate change.
While many experts point to the enormous complexity in addressing issues ranging from the destruction of ecosystems to the loss of millions of species, Thich Nhat Hanh identifies one key issue as having the potential to create a tipping point. He believes that we need to move beyond the concept of the "environment," as it leads people to experience themselves and Earth as two separate entities and to see the planet only in terms of what it can do for them. Thich Nhat Hanh points to the lack of meaning and connection in peoples' lives as being the cause of our addiction to consumerism. He deems it vital that we recognize and respond to the stress we are putting on the Earth if civilization is to survive.
Love Letter to the Earth is a hopeful book that gives us a path to follow by showing that change is possible only with the recognition that people and the planet are ultimately one and the same.
Hahn, Thich Nhat. A Love Letter to the Planet (Parallax Press, 2012).
A passionate appeal for ecological mindfulness and strengthening our relationship to the Earth. Based on the best selling The World We Have.
Hahn, Thich Nhat & Oren Lyons and others. Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth (The Golden Sufi Center, 2013).
Showing the deep connection between our present ecological crisis and our lack of awareness of the sacred nature of creation, this series of essays from spiritual and environmental leaders around the world shows how humanity can transform its relationship with the Earth. Combining the thoughts and beliefs from a diverse range of essayists, this collection highlights the current ecological crisis and articulates a much-needed spiritual response to it. Perspectives from Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, and Native American beliefs as well as physics, deep psychology, and other environmental disciplines, make this a well-rounded contribution. The complete list of contributors are Oren Lyons, Thomas Berry, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Joanna Macy, Sandra Ingerman, Richard Rohr, Wendell Berry, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Satish Kumar, Vandana Shiva, Pir Zia Inayat-Kahn, Winona LaDuke, John Stanley, John Newall, Bill Plotkin, Geneen Marie Haugen, Jules Cashford, and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.
Herm, Eric. Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth (Dreamriver, 2010).
This book examines commercial agriculture's strain on our natural resources, ecosystems, and the farmer. As a fourth-generation farmer, Eric Herm deals with the harsh economic realities and complicated legislation facing farmers, as well as the undeniable health impact of GMO crops and excessive chemicals. The book provides resources of natural, healthy alternatives that will inspire the farmers' transformation from corporate-motivated producers back to the flesh and bone guardian angels of the Earth.
Herman, Louis G. Future Primal: How Our Wilderness Origins Show Us the Way Forward (New World Library, 2013).
How should we respond to our converging crises of violent conflict, political corruption, and global ecological devastation? In this sweeping, big-picture synthesis, Louis G. Herman argues that for us to create a sustainable, fulfilling future, we need to first look back into our deepest past to recover our core humanity. Important clues for recovery can be found in the lives of traditional San Bushman hunter-gatherers of South Africa, the closest living relatives to the ancestral African population from which all humans descended. Their culture can give us a sense of what life was like during the tens of thousands of years when humans lived in wilderness, without warfare, walled cities, or slavery. Herman suggests we draw from the experience of the San and other earth-based cultures and weave their wisdom together with the scientific story of an evolving universe to help create something radically new—an earth-centered, planetary politics with the personal truth quest at its heart.
Kolb, Janice Gray. Compassion for All Creatures (Blue Dolphin Pub, 1997).
Spiritual teachings come in many forms. For Jan Kolb, teachers belonging to the animal kingdom, particularly Rochester the cat, showed her how animals help humans to be sensitive, courageous - even telepathic - and how their unconditional love can ease our emotional wounds and open our hearts.
This very personal book of experiences, sharings, confessions, and deep thoughts sings the author's praises of all God's creatures through photos, poems, and meditations. With heartwarming stories on the spirituality of animals, especially our animal companions, as well as accounts of senseless cruelties to innocent beings, this book lends an impassioned voice for examining animals rights from Mother Nature's point of view.
Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder (Algonquin Books, 2008).
"I like to play indoors better 'cause that's where all the electrical outlets are," reports a fourth-grader. Never before in history have children been so plugged in-and so out of touch with the natural world. In this groundbreaking new work, child advocacy expert Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today's wired generation-he calls it nature deficit-to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as rises in obesity, Attention Deficit Disorder (Add), and depression. Some startling facts: By the 1990s the radius around the home where children were allowed to roam on their own had shrunk to a ninth of what it had been in 1970. Today, average eight-year-olds are better able to identify cartoon characters than native species, such as beetles and oak trees, in their own community. The rate at which doctors prescribe antidepressants to children has doubled in the last five years, and recent studies show that too much computer use spells trouble for the developing mind. Nature-deficit disorder is not a medical condition; it is a description of the human costs of alienation from nature. This alienation damages children and shapes adults, families, and communities. There are solutions, though, and they're right in our own backyards. Last child in the Woods is the first book to bring together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development-physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and Add. Environment-based education dramatically improves standardized test scores and grade point averages and develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.
Macy, Joanna & Chris Johnstone. Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in without Going Crazy (New World Library, 2012)
The challenges we face can be difficult even to think about. Climate change, the depletion of oil, economic upheaval, and mass extinction together create a planetary emergency of overwhelming proportions. Active Hope shows us how to strengthen our capacity to face this crisis so that we can respond with unexpected resilience and creative power. Drawing on decades of teaching an empowerment approach known as the Work That Reconnects, the authors guide us through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality, and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, to a life-sustaining society.
Macy, Joanna. Greening of the Self (Parallax Press Moments, 2013).
The premise of Greening of the Self is that we are not individuals separate from the world. Instead we are always “co-arising” or co-creating the world, and we cannot escape the consequence of what we do to the environment. Joanna Macy's innovative writing beautifully demonstrates that by broadening our view of what constitutes “self” we can cut through our dualistic views and bring about the emergence of the “ecological self”, that realizes that every object, feeling, emotion, and action is influenced by a huge, all–inclusive web of factors. Any change in the condition of any one thing in this web affects everything else by virtue of interconnectedness.
Greening of the Self is visionary and future-oriented, making it essential reading for anyone who wants to discover the knowledge authority and courage to respond creatively to the crises of our time. Based on a chapter in Joanna Macy’s bestselling World as Lover, World as Self.
Mannix, Edward. Impossible Compassion: Utilizing Directed Compassion to Cure Disease, Save the Environment, Transform Relationships…and Do All Sorts of Other Good Things for Ourselves and Everyone Else (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012).
A Self Help Guide to bring restoration and healing in your life. Useful and helpful in many levels of our journey and experiences. Its practical explanation assisting you to go about directing compassion in your life and those you encounter with. Finding it useful and well delivered. Words and actions creates our world around us starting from the moment we are born and even before as our parents actions directly contribute into us their own fears, abilities etc.
Our words and actions causes ripple effects in other people that connect with us on a daily basis. Leaving their footprints in us. These footprints cause everlasting results in our lives and the after effects creates positive or negative results. Applying compassion to ourselves and those we come in contact with not only helps us to help them but shields us from any harming after effects.
Developing your compassionate heart creates a force of goodness and healing that extend further than our own world, touching our environment, the people we come in contact with. Our way of life, community and businesses.
Pfeiffer, Bill & John Perkins. Wild Earth, Wild Soul (Moon Books; Reprint edition, 2013).
Humankind has the capacity and know-how to create Earth-honoring cultures in a new way for new times. Through tapping into ancestral memories, taking what's best from the human potential movement, and collaborating with present day indigenous peoples we can find our way home. Practicing the key ingredients of a lasting culture is an ecstatic way to live. This book shows you how.
Pipher, Mary. The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture (Riverhead Trade, 2013).
In Reviving Ophelia, Mary Pipher offered a paradigm-shattering look at the lives of adolescent women. Now Pipher is back with another ground-breaking examination of everyday life, this time exploring how to conquer our fears about the major environmental issues that confound us and transform them into a positive force in our lives. Pipher emphasizes the importance of taking small, positive steps to preserve what’s important, drawing from her own experiences as part of a group fighting energy company TransCanada’s installation of the Keystone XL oil pipeline across the Midwest, which will sit atop the Ogallala Aquifer, the source of 40% of the United States’ fresh water. The challenges she confronts reveal surprising answers to the critical questions we face: How do we mobilize ourselves and our communities to work together to solve global problems? How do we stay happy amid very difficult situations? And what is the true meaning of hope? Both profound and practical, The Green Boat explains how we can attend to the world around us with calmness, balance, and great love.
Rowe, Martin. The Way of Compassion ( Lantern Books, 2000).
Jungian psychologist James Hillman, animal behavioralist Jane Goodall, humorist/social activist Dick Gregory and environmentalist Maneka Gandhi (India's Minister of Welfare) are among the contributors to this eloquent, forceful body of writings that forges vital links between vegetarianism, environmentalism, animal rights and the quest for social justice. All the pieces are drawn from Satya: A Magazine of Vegetarianism, Environmentalism, and Animal Advocacy, which Rowe edits. For readers contemplating a switch away from a meat-centered diet, this cheerfully inclusive volume includes diverse perspectives: Philadelphia rabbi Arthur Waskow's "Eco-Kosher" living strategy; British theologian Andrew Linzey's theocentric philosophy of animal rights; African American WBAI radio host Shelton Walden's thoughts on how the animal advocacy movement can reach out to the black community. One essay, by Rynn Berry, lays to rest the myth that Hitler was a vegetarian: the Fuhrer gorged on Bavarian sausages, ham, liver and pigeon, though he occasionally went on "vegetarian" binges to cure his flatulence and excessive sweating. Selections range from timely reports on "mad cow disease" and genetic engineering to wake-up calls concerning Earth's diminishing resources and a critique of Americans' dependence on the automobile. What unites the contributions is the shared conviction that gratuitous, massive violence against animals has no place in a future world free of exploitation and domination. Anyone concerned about the state of the planet will relish drinking from this clear and bracing pool of wisdom.
Schor, Juliet B. True Wealth: How and Why Millions of Americans Are Creating a Time-Rich, Ecologically Light, Small-Scale, High-Satisfaction Economy (Penguin Books, 2011).
A groundbreaking statement about ecological decline, suggesting a radical change in how we think about consumer goods, value, and ways to live. In True Wealth, economist Juliet B. Schor rejects the sacrifice message, with the insight that social innovations and new technology can simultaneously enhance our lives and protect the planet. Schor shares examples of urban farmers, DIY renovators, and others working outside the conventional market to illuminate the path away from the work-and-spend cycle and toward a new world rich in time, creativity, information, and community.
Shiva, Vandana. Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (South End Press, 2005).
Vandana Shiva A leading voice in the struggle for global justice, Vandana Shiva is a world-renowned environmental activist and physicist. In Earth Democracy, Shiva updates the struggles she helped bring to international attention—against genetic food engineering, culture theft, and natural resource privatization-—uncovering their links to the rising tide of fundamentalism, violence against women, and planetary death. Starting in the 16th century with the initial enclosure of the British commons, Shiva reveals how the commons continue to shrink as more and more natural resources are patented and privatized. As our ecological sustainability and cultural diversity erode, so too is human life rendered disposable. Through the forces of neoliberal globalization, economic and social exclusion ignite violence across lines of difference, threatening the lives of millions. Yet these brutal extinctions are not the only trend shaping human history. Struggles on the streets of Seattle and Cancun and in homes and farms across the world have yielded a set of principles based on inclusion, nonviolence, reclaiming the commons, and freely sharing the earth’s resources. These ideals, which Shiva calls Earth Democracy, serves as an urgent call to peace and as the basis for a just and sustainable future.
Shiva, Vandana. Making Peace with the Earth (Pluto Press, 2013).
In this compelling and rigorously documented exposition, Vandana Shiva demolishes the myths propagated by corporate globalization in its pursuit of profit and power and shows its devastating environmental impact. Shiva argues that consumerism lubricates the war against the earth and that corporate control violates all ethical and ecological limits. She takes the reader on a journey through the world's devastated eco-landscape, one of genetic engineering, industrial development and land-grabs in Africa, Asia and South America. She concludes that exploitation of this order is incurring an ecological and economic debt that is unsustainable. Making Peace with the Earth outlines how a paradigm shift to earth-centered politics and economics is our only chance of survival and how collective resistance to corporate exploitation can open the way to a new environmentalism.
Shiva, Vandana. Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit Paperback (South End Press, 2002).
While draught and desertification are intensifying around the world, corporations are aggressively converting free-flowing water into bottled profits. The water wars of the twenty-first century may match—or even surpass—the oil wars of the twentieth. In Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution and Profit, Vandana Shiva, "the world's most prominent radical scientist" (the Guardian), shines a light on activists who are fighting corporate maneuvers to convert this life-sustaining resource into more gold for the elites.
In Water Wars, Shiva uses her remarkable knowledge of science and society tooutline the emergence of corporate culture and the historical erosion of communal water rights. Using the international water trade and industrial activities such as damming, mining, and aquafarming as her lens, Shiva exposes the destruction of the earth and the disenfranchisement of the world's poor as they are stripped of rights to a precious common good.
In her passionate, feminist style, Shiva celebrates the spiritual and traditional role water has played in communities throughout history, and warns that water privatization threatens cultures and livelihoods worldwide. Shiva calls for a movement to preserve water access for all, and offers a blueprint for global resistance based on examples of successful campaigns.
Shiva, Vandana. Stolen Harvest (South End Press, 2000).
In this remarkable book, Vandana Shiva effectively contrasts corporate command-and-control methods of food production with the small farmer economy that predominates in the third world (especially in her native India). In contast to what many here in the U.S. might perceive as the conventional wisdom, Shiva makes a strong argument that local, small scale agriculture is superior to the agribusiness model for a number of reasons.
First, Shiva points out that many of the productivity gains attributable to the Green Revolution were achieved by dramatically increased inputs of fertilizer, seed and water. When one compares units of input with units of output, however, native practices produce higher yields -- especially when one takes into account the multiple uses derived from a single product.
For example, mustard oil is a vital product used by many of India's poor for cooking, seasoning, medicine and other uses. But it has been banned by the Indian government (under highly suspicious circumstances) in order to allow imports of soybean oil products. While giant corporations benefit from expanded sales, native industries have been destroyed, contibuting to poverty and malnourishment.
Shiva discusses the commercial fishing and aquaculture (shrimp farming) practices that inevitably result in environmental destruction and reduced catches. She compares this short-sighted approach with traditional Indian fishing techniques that have successfully sustained themselves for generations while protecting important ecosystems such as mangrove forests.
Shiva discusses corporate patenting of seeds, which insidiously transforms the cooperative ethic of seed sharing into a criminal offense. The author supports a non-cooperation movement in India that is resisting corporate attempts to claim ownership of seeds that have been cultivated by countless generations of farmers.
Shiva's sacred cow / mad cow metaphor effectively and appropriately contrasts agribusiness with small farming. India's sacred cows live in harmony with the environment, performing multiple services and producing multiple products for the community; whereas mad cows are a grotesque manifestation of an industrial system obsessed with uniformity, technology and profit.
Shiva also touches on the topic of genetic engineering (GE) and discusses the threat it poses to biodiversity, food safety and human health.
The Afterword to the book alludes to the WTO protests in Seattle. Shiva believes this watershed event proves that people are becoming more aware of the dangers of unaccountable corporate power, yet she believes that positive change is possible. This opening of consciousness to new possibilities may be attributable to the extraordinary work of people like Vandana Shiva, whose intelligence and compassion is abundantly evident in this book. (Review by Malvin for Vine Voice)
Shyne, Rahbin. Adventures In Compassion. 30 Easy Ways To Better The World: Make A Difference Every Day (The Compassion Series) (Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 2013).
We want to contribute to a planet that works better for everyone. This Adventure in Compassion guides you through 30 short, simple actions—one each day—to better the planet, people and animals. The point is to try them all once. Continue the ones that fit. Imagine the impact we could have on the planet if every person on the planet took on one new daily or weekly action that world. At the end of 30 days, you’ll see new opportunities to make a difference all around you. You won’t be asked to break a sweat, write a check or put on overalls. Like Adventures in Compassion, 30 Small Acts of Love, the actions are simple, but the results are profound. Most take only a few minutes or are woven into your normal routine. Everything you need to act is provided and presented in an uplifting easy-to-follow format. After 30 days of raising your environmental consciousness and exercising charitable muscles, you’ll recognize that you truly are a hero with the power to change the world, one choice at a time.
Sleeth, Mathew. The Gospel According to the Earth: Why the Good Book is a Green Book (Harper One, 2010).
As an emergency room doctor, Matthew Sleeth saw a disturbing increase in asthma, autoimmune diseases, cancers, and other environmentally related health issues. Although he considered himself an environmentalist, he lacked the commitment to do anything about it. One slow night in the ER, Sleeth picked up a Gideon's Bible in the waiting room. Although raised in a Christian home, he had long ago abandoned his childhood beliefs. Reading the gospels that night, Sleeth became a Christian, and to his shock, he began to uncover in the Scriptures an enormous wealth of environmental answers that he had been seeking. As a result, his family took an account of their lifestyle, drastically reduced their reliance on electricity and fossil fuels, and began sharing their inspirational journey with others. Here, Sleeth invites you on his family's journey as they realize that one cannot be a Christian without recognizing the Bible's call to care for God's creation.
Sponsel, Leslie E. Spiritual Ecology (Praeger, 2012).
Award winner in Science category at the annual Green Book Festival in San Francisco, May 17, 2014
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 www.spiritualecology.info.
Tremayne, Wendy Jehanara. The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living (LLC, 2013).
This is the inspirational story of how one couple ditched their careers and high-pressure life in New York City to move to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where they made, built, invented, foraged, and grew all they needed to live self-sufficiently, discovering a new sense of value and abundance in the process. Alongside their personal story are tips and tutorials to guide readers in the discovery of a fulfilling new lifestyle that relies less on money. Tremayne wholeheartedly believes that everyone has the skill, imagination and creativity to make it work.Vaughan-Lee
Tucker, Mary Evelyn & Brian Thomas Swimme. Journey of the Universe (Yale University Press 2011).
Today we know what no previous generation knew: the history of the universe and of the unfolding of life on Earth. Through the astonishing combined achievements of natural scientists worldwide, we now have a detailed account of how galaxies and stars, planets and living organisms, human beings and human consciousness came to be. And yet . . . we thirst for answers to questions that have haunted humanity from the very beginning. What is our place in the 14-billion-year history of the universe? What roles do we play in Earth's history? How do we connect with the intricate web of life on Earth?In Journey of the Universe Brian Thomas Swimme and Mary Evelyn Tucker tell the epic story of the universe from an inspired new perspective, weaving the findings of modern science together with enduring wisdom found in the humanistic traditions of the West, China, India, and indigenous peoples. The authors explore cosmic evolution as a profoundly wondrous process based on creativity, connection, and interdependence, and they envision an unprecedented opportunity for the world's people to address the daunting ecological and social challenges of our times.Journey of the Universe transforms how we understand our origins and envision our future. Though a little book, it tells a big story—one that inspires hope for a way in which Earth and its human civilizations could flourish together.This book is part of a larger project that includes a documentary film, an educational DVD series, and a website. The film and the DVD series will be released in 2011. For more information, please consult the website, journeyoftheuniverse.org.