The Good in Nature and Humanity
6 x 9
Scientists, theologians, and the spiritually inclined, as well as all those concerned with humanity's increasingly widespread environmental impact, are beginning to recognize that our ongoing abuse of the earth diminishes our moral as well as our material condition. Many people are coming to believe that strengthening the bonds among spirituality, science, and the natural world offers an important key to addressing the pervasive environmental problems we face.
The Good in Nature and Humanity brings together 20 leading thinkers and writers -- including Ursula Goodenough, Lynn Margulis, Dorion Sagan, Carl Safina, David Petersen, Wendell Berry, Terry Tempest Williams, and Barry Lopez -- to examine the divide between faith and reason, and to seek a means for developing an environmental ethic that will help us confront two of our most imperiling crises: global environmental destruction and an impoverished spirituality. The book explores the ways in which science, spirit, and religion can guide the experience and understanding of our ongoing relationship with the natural world and examines how the integration of science and spirituality can equip us to make wiser choices in using and managing the natural environment. The book also provides compelling stories that offer a narrative understanding of the relations among science, spirit, and nature.
Grounded in the premise that neither science nor religion can by itself resolve the prevailing malaise of environmental and moral decline, contributors seek viable approaches to averting environmental catastrophe and, more positively, to achieving a more harmonious relationship with the natural world. By bridging the gap between the rational and the religious through the concern of each for understanding the human relation to creation, The Good in Nature and Humanity offers an important means for pursuing the quest for a more secure and meaningful world.
Chapter 1. Building the Bridge: Connecting Science, Religion, and Spirituality with the Natural World
PART I. Scientific and Spiritual Perspectives of Nature and Humanity
Introduction to Part I: Ethics and the Good in Nature and Humanity
Chapter 2. The Contribution of Scientific Understandings of Nature to Moral, Spiritual, and Religious Wholeness and Well-Being
Chapter 3. Spiritual and Religious Perspectives of Creation and Scientific Understanding of Nature
Chapter 4. Values, Ethics, and Spiritual and Scientific Relations to Nature
Chapter 5. Religion and Ecology: The Interaction of Cosmology and Cultivation
Chapter 6. Gaia and the Ethical Abyss: A Natural Ethic Is a G[o]od Thing
Chapter 7. Religious Meanings for Nature and Humanity
Chapter 8. A Livable Future: Linking Geology and Theology
Chapter 9. Alma De'atei, "The World That Is Coming": Reflections on Power, Knowledge, Wisdom, and Progress
PART II. Linking Spiritual and Scientific Perspectives with an Environmental Ethic
Introduction to Part II: The Search for Harmony
Chapter 10. Work, Worship, and the Natural World: A Challenge for the Land Use Professions
Chapter 11. Leopold's Darwin: Climbing Mountains, Developing Land
Chapter 12. A Rising Tide for Ethics
Chapter 13. Hunting for Spirituality: An Oxymoron?
Chapter 14. The Idea of a Local Economy
PART III. From The Perspective of the Storyteller
Chapter 15. The Garden of Delights: A Reading from Leap
Chapter 16. The Mappist
About the Contributors
Stephen R. Kellert ’71 Ph.D., a revered professor of social ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) whose research and writing advanced the understanding of the connection between humans and the natural world, died on Nov. 27 after a long illness.
Kellert, the Tweedy Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology, who came to F&ES in 1977 and continued to teach following his retirement in 2010, also mentored generations of doctoral, masters, and undergraduate students at Yale.
In recent years he helped pioneer the field of biophilic design, an emerging discipline that aims to improve health and well-being by promoting connections between people and nature in the built environment.
Those principles would inspire Kellert to propose a new F&ES headquarters that achieved less environmental impact but also made occupants feel more in touch with nature. His vision was fulfilled with the opening, in 2009, of Kroon Hall, a building that boasts, among other things, wide access to natural light and wood harvested by Yale foresters. Throughout the planning and construction of Kroon Stephen Kellert was involved. Read more.
In remembrance, we offer the prologue to Stephen's book, The Value of Life.
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