Spiritual Ecology

Environmentalists around the world are waking up to the reality that science alone will not solve our current ecological crisis. The growing field of spiritual ecology is giving renewed attention to the importance of culture and cosmology in ecological work. Northern California is an international epicenter for thinkers and organizers working at these intersections. However, these academics, religious leaders, educators and activists have largely been working in isolation. The Spiritual Ecology Network of Northern California is forming an active and diverse network of practitioners. By creating a online platform and database, hosting network meetings and conferences, compiling and sharing best practices, we hope to catalyze the spiritual ecology movement in Northern California—providing seasoned practitioners and the next generation of local leaders with the spiritual and professional resources to help our society transition from one rooted in exploitation to one based in principles of regeneration.

Partnering with Sacred Ground Initiative

There is a call being answered by groups across the country to weave together the disparate practitioners in the field of Spiritual Ecology. The Sacred Ground Initiative came together to provide a national platform linking projects and practitioners of Spiritual Ecology in a “mycelial network.” Achieving the national vision will require bioregional hubs, regional networks where in person gathering and relationship building can provide models for an embodied cultural shift. Through their partnership, Sacred Ground Initiative and Black Mountain Circle can help to amplify each others' work, share key lessons learned from the national and local scales, and collectively work towards linking the dots during this critical time in the emerging Spiritual Ecology movement.

Our team is a collaboration between Black Mountain Circle (Steve Costa and Kamala Tully), Michael Downs (Bishop O’Dowd High School), Kyle Lemle (Lead to Life, and Spiritual Ecology Fellow), and Kailea Frederick (Earth is Ohana, and Spiritual Ecology Fellow).

Read more about our Spiritual Ecology program:

What is spiritual ecology?

Spiritual ecology is an emerging field at the intersection of environmentalism and awareness of the sacred within creation. It is concerned with both the spiritual roots of, and spiritual responses to the ongoing ecological crisis. A core tenet of spiritual ecology is the recognition of the interconnectedness and interdependence of all of life.  Read more here.

What is imperative about this moment?

Why is now the time to document and share the best practices in spiritual ecology across sectors?

The current political wave is a symptom of our country’s profound disconnect from ecological systems. Examples of anti-environmental and neoliberal politics stem from old patterns and ideologies rising to the surface that privilege individual profit at the expense of people and planet. As Albert Einstein says, “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we create them.” The time is now for paradigm-shifting ideas and tangible models to coalesce, spread, and strengthen the moral fabric of our cultures. Read more here.

Why have a special focus on young people?

Though the fruits of this project seek to benefit society as a whole, the work itself puts a special emphasis on young people.  Younger generations are not only shouldered with the burdens of impending environmental and humanitarian crises, but are also increasingly disconnected from spiritual communities and nature.  Sociologists identify that over ⅓ of millennials do not identify with any religious or spiritual tradition, and thus have fewer communal opportunities that cultivate a sense of the sacred and spiritual practice.  Health professionals warn than less time outdoors is negatively impacting physical, psychological, and emotional well-being of young people at an alarming rate, not to mention the well-being of the earth.  While these trends are concerning, young people have shown that they have a hunger for spiritual and ecological connection, and tremendous capacity to create cultural change.

Why focus on Northern California?

Northern California is as an international epicenter for the spiritual ecology movement. Since the 1950’s, our region has been a hotbed for progressive thought leadership, ecological sustainability and contemplative studies. We are home to many pioneering programs and practitioners whose work cuts across disciplines such as Joanna Macy, Brian Swimme, Lewellyn Vaughan-Lee, CIIS, The Cultural Conservancy, The Spiritual Ecology Fellowship, and many more. Read more here.