From the Directors: Spiritual Ecology

April 1, 2019

Dear Friends,

In 2013, West Marin Sufi teacher and author, Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, edited Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth which included essays from 20 of the wisest spiritual and environmental leaders from around the world  and fostered the emergence of the "Spiritual Ecology Movement." In the second edition of the book (published in 2016), Llewellyn makes reference to two major events—the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference and the publication of Pope Francis's encyclical, On Care for Our Common Home—which brought into the mainstream the idea that the ecological crisis is essentially a spiritual problem. Concurrently, indigenous and non-western activists have been raising their voices, reminding the world that this is not a new concept.

These conversations and events raise a simple but fundamental question: how might we see environmental action as a spiritual practice? Black Mountain Circle is committed to this question, with spiritual ecology being a primary programmatic focus. In 2018, we researched and identified more than 200 Northern Californian spiritual ecology organizations/practitioners—including nonprofits, tribal leaders, educational and faith-communities—with the intent of forming an active and diverse regional network to catalyze joint initiatives, cultivate deeper resiliency for members and expand these concepts to broader audiences.

Our first opportunity to build a Spiritual Ecology Network takes place on Saturday, April 13, when we host Our Common Home Summit: Spiritual Ecology in Education and Actionat Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. The day focuses on educators, practitioners, and students from Northern California high schools, universities, NGOs and local faith communities. The daylong gathering will include keynote wisdomkeepers Joanna Macy and Corrina Gould, featuring 10 breakout sessions led by experienced practitioners who will offer tools to integrate the concepts and practices of spiritual ecology into their curricula, campus, faith communities, and spiritual life.

We hope you’ll consider joining us on April 13th in Oakland. To be notified about future Spiritual Ecology Network activities, let us know at spiritualecology@blackmountaincircle.org.

Steve and Kamala