Spiritual Ecology

A Quiet Revolution

by Leslie E. Sponsel

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Abortion in the United States

July 2012


Pages 284
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Religion/Theology

A prominent scientist and scholar documents and explains the thoughts, actions, and legacies of spiritual ecology's pioneers from ancient times to the present, demonstrating how the movement may offer the last chance to restore a healthy relationship between humankind and nature.

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


  • Clear, concise, and captivating essays on well-known, as well as little-known, pioneers in spiritual ecology
  • Chapter-long treatment of each individual's contributions, allowing for in-depth coverage
  • An extensive resource guide, including films and websites
  • An appendix listing approximately 100 pioneers in spiritual ecology


  • Reveals the little-recognized but extensive initiatives at the interface of religion/spirituality and ecology, the environment, and environmentalism
  • Traces the historical development of spiritual ecology from many centuries ago to the present
  • Highlights the continuing legacy of key pioneers of spiritual ecology
  • Counters critics of spiritual ecology and related matters
Author Info

Leslie E. Sponsel, PhD, is professor emeritus in anthropology at the University of Hawai`i, Honolulu, HI, where he developed and directed the Ecological Anthropology Program for three decades. Sponsel publishes extensively on a diverse number of subjects at the interfaces of ecology, religion, and peace. He conducted field research in the Amazon rainforest in Venezuela and, since the mid-1980s, has been pursuing fieldwork in Thailand. He is developing the Research Institute for Spiritual Ecology (RISE).



"This is a valuable and challenging work that deserves wide reading and consideration."
—Current Anthropology

"Summing Up: Recommended. All levels/libraries."—Choice

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