Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth

Fordham Univ Press
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We hope-- even as we often doubt-- that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species' self-destructive relation to its own materiality is growing. But so is the destruction. The needed practical interventions seem to require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on spiritual or religious intensity. Traditions of ecological theology and eco-religious praxis have been preparing the way for several decades, yet they have remained marginal to society, academy, and church. With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. Its authors undertake an elemental deconstruction of our theological habits of supernaturalism, our under-thought praxis, as well as our philosophical models of nature. But in this study deconstruction begins to turn upon itself, perplexed by its own earth-blind anthropocentrisms. The possibility of "econstruction" arises.The essays of Ecospirit transmute a paralyzing sense of emergency into the emergence of a moving language of the earth. Grounded in the complex ecosocial contexts in which all creatures become, a discourse for a genesis collective begins to take form. The essays pursue a thought-experiment in multi-leveled, multi-religious, multi-contextual ecospirituality. They embrace introductory exercises in ecotheology, conceptually rigorous engagements with the theological tradition and its philosophical underpinnings, and explorations of the ways that religious praxis can both harm and heal. The book ranges across theology, religious studies, philosophy, literary criticism, ethics, sociology, and cultural studies--all serving to explore
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About the author


LAUREL KEARNS is Associate Professor of Sociology of Religion and Environmental Studies in the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion of Drew University.

CATHERINE KELLER is Professor of Constructive Theology in the Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion at Drew University. She co-edited with Virginia Burrus the first volume of the Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia, Toward a Theology of Eros: Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline (Fordham), and co-edited with Laurel Kearns its second volume, Ecospirit: Philosophies and Religions for the Earth (Fordham). Previous books include Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming and On the Mystery: Discerning Divinity in Process.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Fordham Univ Press
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Published on
Dec 31, 2007
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Pages
644
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ISBN
9780823227464
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Earth Sciences / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Hidden away in foggy, uncharted rain forest valleys in Northern California are the largest and tallest organisms the world has ever sustained–the coast redwood trees, Sequoia sempervirens. Ninety-six percent of the ancient redwood forests have been destroyed by logging, but the untouched fragments that remain are among the great wonders of nature. The biggest redwoods have trunks up to thirty feet wide and can rise more than thirty-five stories above the ground, forming cathedral-like structures in the air. Until recently, redwoods were thought to be virtually impossible to ascend, and the canopy at the tops of these majestic trees was undiscovered. In The Wild Trees, Richard Preston unfolds the spellbinding story of Steve Sillett, Marie Antoine, and the tiny group of daring botanists and amateur naturalists that found a lost world above California, a world that is dangerous, hauntingly beautiful, and unexplored.

The canopy voyagers are young–just college students when they start their quest–and they share a passion for these trees, persevering in spite of sometimes crushing personal obstacles and failings. They take big risks, they ignore common wisdom (such as the notion that there’s nothing left to discover in North America), and they even make love in hammocks stretched between branches three hundred feet in the air.

The deep redwood canopy is a vertical Eden filled with mosses, lichens, spotted salamanders, hanging gardens of ferns, and thickets of huckleberry bushes, all growing out of massive trunk systems that have fused and formed flying buttresses, sometimes carved into blackened chambers, hollowed out by fire, called “fire caves.” Thick layers of soil sitting on limbs harbor animal and plant life that is unknown to science. Humans move through the deep canopy suspended on ropes, far out of sight of the ground, knowing that the price of a small mistake can be a plunge to one’s death.

Preston’s account of this amazing world, by turns terrifying, moving, and fascinating, is an adventure story told in novelistic detail by a master of nonfiction narrative. The author shares his protagonists’ passion for tall trees, and he mastered the techniques of tall-tree climbing to tell the story in The Wild Trees–the story of the fate of the world’s most splendid forests and of the imperiled biosphere itself.


From the Hardcover edition.
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