"An ecological civilization embraces the spiritual qualities of life. The religio-spiritual dimension lends itself to an ecological vision that is able to imbue the universe with ethical imperatives and a sense of responsibility for creation. It encourages us to comprehend the universe differently—not as a lifeless deposit of resources designed to meet human needs, but as a fragile system with its own intentionality and inherent worth. Often, religious persons talk about denying the “self” in order for the true “Self” to come into focus. This shift aligns with an ecological civilization that seeks to expand our circumference of awareness and our own place within it. As a result of widening our understanding of what the religious perspective encompasses, the tasks of working for the betterment of the society and the environment become pivotal undertakings for religious individuals and institutions." (Philip Clayton, Andrew Schwartz: What is Ecological Civilization?)
For the majority of us, the spiritual side of an ecological civilization will unfold in a city. Most us are urban-dwellers. It can begin with a recognition that our home, our apartment, our kitchen, is, as the poet Lucy Griffith puts it, our "place of attention." She lives in the countryside, but her poem communicates a possibility for us all. It is that we, too, are palmed within an arc of light, itself divine. This arc reveals itself in the more-than-human world: the wrens, the rabbits, the house plants, the insects, the trees, the sunlight, the rain, the sun, the moon. It also reveals itself in the faces and lives of friends and family and strangers. All are part of the web of life; all are members of the Earth community. The arc circles us and encircles us, though never in a suffocating way. It is not all-powerful but it is all-beautiful and all-gentle. Eco-spirituality begins with our awakening to this arc and its many worlds. It begins at home: our lives held in this gentle cup.
- Jay McDaniel
Finding Nature in the City
Podcast: Greater Good Magazine: Science for a Meaningful Life