Eco-Alchemy: Anthroposophy and the History and Future of Environmentalism

Univ of California Press
Free sample

For nearly a century, the worldwide anthroposophical movement has been a catalyst for environmental activism, helping to bring to life many modern ecological practices such as organic farming, community-supported agriculture, and green banking. Yet the spiritual practice of anthroposophy remains unknown to most environmentalists. A historical and ethnographic study of the environmental movement, Eco-Alchemy uncovers for the first time the profound influences of anthroposophy and its founder, Rudolf Steiner, whose holistic worldview, rooted in esoteric spirituality, inspired the movement. Dan McKanan shows that environmentalism is itself a complex ecosystem and that it would not be as diverse or as transformative without the contributions of anthroposophy.
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About the author

Dan McKanan is the Emerson Senior Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School and the author of several books on religion and social transformation, among them Touching the World: Christian Communities Transforming Society and Prophetic Encounters: Religion and the American Radical Tradition.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Oct 31, 2017
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9780520964389
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Ecology
Religion / Philosophy
Religion / Religion & Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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“The Earth is a mosque.” Muslims are compelled by their religion to praise the Creator and to care for their community. But what is not widely known is that there are deep and long-standing connections between Islamic teachings and environmentalism. In this groundbreaking book, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin draws on research, scripture, and interviews with Muslim Americans to trace Islam’s preoccupation with humankind’s collective role as stewards of the Earth. Abdul-Matin points out that the Prophet Muhammad declared that “the Earth is a mosque.” Deen means “path” or “way” in Arabic. Abdul-Matin offers dozens of examples of how Muslims can follow, and already are following, a Green Deen in four areas: “waste, watts (energy), water, and food.” At last, people of all beliefs can appreciate the gifts and contributions that Islam and Muslims bring to the environmental movement. “Ibrahim Abdul-Matin not only shows the myriad ways American Muslims are contributing to the resolution of the environmental crisis that threatens us all but also goes a long way toward humanizing the Muslim community by sharing with the reader the lives of so many extraordinary, talented, and visionary people.” —Imam Zaid Shakir, Zaytuna College, Berkeley, California. “Ibrahim blends his passion for a green economy, his love and understanding of faith, and a deep commitment to justice in this book.” —Van Jones, founder, Green for All. “At a moment when distortions of Islam are what feed most Americans, Ibrahim Abdul-Matin has done something both practical and inspiring. He persuades us that the imperiled environment is both common struggle and common ground for people who share, it turns out, more than simply God.” —John Hockenberry, Emmy-award-winning journalist, author of Moving Violations, and host of National Public Radio’s The Takeaway.
Radical ecology typically brings to mind media images of ecological activists standing before loggers' saws, staging anti-nuclear marches, and confronting polluters on the high seas. Yet for more than twenty years, the activities of organizations such as the Greens and Earth First! have been influenced by a diverse, less-publicized group of radical ecological philosophers. It is their work—the philosophical underpinnings of the radical ecological movement—that is the subject of Contesting Earth's Future.

The book offers a much-needed, balanced appraisal of radical ecology's principles, goals, and limitations. Michael Zimmerman critically examines the movement's three major branches—deep ecology, social ecology, and ecofeminism. He also situates radical ecology within the complex cultural and political terrain of the late twentieth century, showing its relation to Martin Heidegger's anti-technological thought, 1960s counterculturalism, and contemporary theories of poststructuralism and postmodernity.

An early and influential ecological thinker, Zimmerman is uniquely qualified to provide a broad overview of radical environmentalism and delineate its various schools of thought. He clearly describes their defining arguments and internecine disputes, among them the charge that deep ecology is an anti-modern, proto-fascist ideology. Reflecting both the movement's promise and its dangers, this book is essential reading for all those concerned with the worldwide ecological crisis.
From the days of the apostles to the present, Christians have formed intentional communities. While some Christian communities withdraw to avoid contamination from "the world," others reach out in loving service to, and dialogue with, their neighbors. Dan McKanan advocates the latter approach: Christians must be willing to "touch the world" in order to unleash the transformative potential of their communities. In this book, McKanan explores two contemporary community movements that touch the world by honoring the diverse spiritual and vocational paths of the families and individuals who join them. One of these movements, Camphill, derives its inspirations from the esoteric vision of Christianity outlined by Rudolf Steiner. It boasts a worldwide network of schools and villages composed of members with and without developmental disabilities, living and working together most often in agricultural settings. The other is the well-known Catholic Worker movement founded in New York by Dorothy Day and peter Maurin. The Worker movement today includes nearly two hundred urban houses of hospitality and rural farms, along with countless individuals who have taken Day's and Maurin's ideals into everyday life. Blending theological and ethnographic approaches, McKanan builds his study on participant observation, archival research, and interviews with members of more than twenty communities. What emerges is a winsome and optimistic vision of the impact transformative Christian communities can have in a blessed and broken world.
The #1 New York Times bestselling account of a neurosurgeon's own near-death experience—for readers of 7 Lessons from Heaven.

Thousands of people have had near-death experiences, but scientists have argued that they are impossible. Dr. Eben Alexander was one of those scientists. A highly trained neurosurgeon, Alexander knew that NDEs feel real, but are simply fantasies produced by brains under extreme stress.

Then, Dr. Alexander’s own brain was attacked by a rare illness. The part of the brain that controls thought and emotion—and in essence makes us human—shut down completely. For seven days he lay in a coma. Then, as his doctors considered stopping treatment, Alexander’s eyes popped open. He had come back.

Alexander’s recovery is a medical miracle. But the real miracle of his story lies elsewhere. While his body lay in coma, Alexander journeyed beyond this world and encountered an angelic being who guided him into the deepest realms of super-physical existence. There he met, and spoke with, the Divine source of the universe itself.

Alexander’s story is not a fantasy. Before he underwent his journey, he could not reconcile his knowledge of neuroscience with any belief in heaven, God, or the soul. Today Alexander is a doctor who believes that true health can be achieved only when we realize that God and the soul are real and that death is not the end of personal existence but only a transition.

This story would be remarkable no matter who it happened to. That it happened to Dr. Alexander makes it revolutionary. No scientist or person of faith will be able to ignore it. Reading it will change your life.
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