ecological spirit


Why Ecological Spirit?

Ecology is the study of interactions among living things and their environment, and the spirit is considered an essential force that animates nature. The two are inseparable in our holistic world system. We are part of nature. Ecological Spirit aims to promote ecological solutions through rigour in science and promote the best solutions for our local grassroots and global environmental needs through dialogue.

Ecology vs. Sustainability

Rachel Carson (1962) with her book “Silent Spring” was recognised as helping with the modern environmental studies launching ecology into the mainstream. Yet, Ecology is a word that has fallen out of fashion in politics and science and often replaced with sustainability. There are however subtle and important differences. The definition of sustain is “to cause or allow something to continue for a period of time” (“Cambridge Dict.,” n.d.) which implies staying the same. Sustainability is associated with conservation and permanency with regards to protecting the planet, how we perceive it should be, usually on the premise of humankind verses nature (Gregory, 2018; Russell, 1928; Sang, 2009; Watts, 1951). This framing of the nature is a presumption accepted as a norm and not always challenged (Joost & Meerloo, 1956; Wahl-Jorgensen & Hanitzsch, 2009). This is an abstract ideology, the world is a complex dynamic system where such permanence is a presumption that is often taken as fact (Bohm, 1980, 1992). This pursuit of permanence leads to attachment, fear of loss, jealousy, fear and hate; yet there is no permanence in anything (Bohm, 1980, 1992, 2003; Jiddu Krishnamurti, 2010).

“But of course, to understand this whole question, much more is required.” (Bohm, 1985)

Enormous changes have been happening in the socio-technical system over the past decades with a technological paradigm shift away from fossil fuels to a sustainable energy system (Abas, Kalair, & Khan, 2015; Bergman & Foxon, 2021; Lombardi & Vannuccini, 2021; Mathews, 2013). A technoeconomic paradigm shifts is a technology change characterised by the creation of space for the new technology, the growth or surge with it,  and the ending of, or reduction in a previous technology (Perez, 2004). This shift has been exacerbated by the recent pandemic and now the war in Europe. The challenges and opportunities of pursuing a sustainable future have been widely discussed and debated in academic and popular discourse for several decades (Keeble, 1988). In particular, the issue of polarisation in contemporary science and academia has emerged as a key factor that can influence the success or failure of efforts to achieve sustainability (Kahan, Jenkins-Smith, & Braman, 2010; Pellow, 2014; Rosling, 2019). However, the relationship between green intentions and the broader philosophical socioeconomic context has not always been carefully studied.

We need to encourage ecological processes, framing and policies in harmony with natural cycles (Bohm, 1985; Gregory, 2018; Lakoff, 2010; Sang, 2009; Watts, 1951). We need more than just a technological paradigm shift, we need a shift in the fundamental way we perceive our planet to create an ecological world (Bohm, 1985, 1992; Gregory, 2018; Lakoff, 2010; Lockwood, 2020; Pirsig, 1974; Rosling, 2019; Sang, 2009; Scott, 1998; Watts, 1951). A transition to a new ecological paradigm appears to be prejudiced, suggesting that potentially there will not be the true transition needed to create a more ecological world; trust in science and academia could be severely eroded by such implications.

“While asserting that the poor create their own poverty, ruling elites pursue policies that take from the needy and give to the greedy”  (Parenti, 1996).

With the premise that global elites and government controlling the agenda it is evident that local needs are side-lined in favour of corporate and top-down governance needs (Parenti, 1996, 2016). The consequences from the perspective of thinking global and acting local, indicates that we need to look at the grassroots for change, which is, ultimately, ourselves, being accountable for our own actions and how we perceive the world (Krishnamurti, 1985, 2010; Krishnamurti & Bohm, 2003; Pirsig, 1974).

“The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there” (Pirsig, 1974).


Ecology and the Spirit

Being accountable for our own actions implies spiritual growth and relates to the study of interactions among living things and their environment, ecology. This human centre ecology involves a greater understanding of ourselves, a spiritual growth, and our environment. Bohm (1980) argued, from a more philosophical perspective, that science has become too focused on reductionism and analysis, leading to a fragmentation of knowledge and a failure to see the interconnectedness of phenomena. Bohm suggests that we must shift our perspective to a more holistic and interconnected view of the universe to overcome these limitations. From a philosophical perspective, a technological paradigm is often associated with the “mastery of nature”, rather than working with nature (Bloom, 1991; Lakoff, 2014; Mearsheimer, 2018; Russell, 1928). Being a part of nature the framing of “us and nature” can be replaced with just nature. With dialogue we can communicate with greater understanding gaining insights into the presumptions behind language. This paradigm shift in understanding allows for new questions to be asked based upon holistic presumptions. With this premise politicians and scientists can frame situations with a holistic perspective. It is important to consider the broader term of ecology where the word sustainable is often used. We are part of nature, and it is constantly changing, and we do not need to fear this. Ecology and the spirit are inseparable in our holistic world system.


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