Reflection Paper Eco-Justice

Reflection paper :

1. Diversity of life and the Trinity: The three principles of the Cosmos

Look at the diversity of life on Earth, grown over 3.5 billion years of evolution.Sit with the delicate interconnectedness of all species, life forms and ecosystems.See how they are interdependent with each other: atmosphere, seas, rivers, lakes, land itself.

What has human presence over the past hundreds of years meant for the Earth community? What will happen if this trend will continue. All life will be radically impoverished.

2. The Call

We are faced with the greatest challenge ever. All our intelligence, generosity, commitment is needed.

For all religious traditions and spiritual movements there is a radical reason for commitment. It is more than scientific, medical, economic, aesthetic and cultural reasons that motivate a radical commitment to biodiversity.

Judaism. Christianity, Islam all profess faith in the One God who creates the universe.

The Creator breathes life in all living things. ( Gen. 2:7, Job., 34, 12-15, PS. 104, 29)

Diversity of creatures can be seen as self expression of the Trinity- ecological relationships are coming from the life of the Trinity.

Abundance of life, as expressed in the community of Life, stems from the abundance of the divine communion; God saving us, through Jesus and the Spirit.

See what God has been doing for us in the word made flesh and the Spirit poured out.

The Trinity is ecstatic in being with each other – but also in being with the whole of creation.

The diverse species we find on Earth can be seen as sacraments of God. All the species in their own way tell us who God is, Therefore no one can be missed.

Ruthless destruction of species and their habitats is a diminishment of the expression of who God is. We are challenged with the demand of an ethical practice that honors and celebrates diversity.

Inspirations: D. Edwards in Ecology at the Heart of Faith


3. Ecological Justice: the process

Take an inventory of the occasions and acts of injustice that you are aware of in your bioregion, in the institutions with which you interact.

What do you fee, think , and respond to from your collective awareness of injustice?

What does the new cosmology have to tell us about justice-making?

What can it mean in the causes you have discovered? How can the three principles of the universe be a guide in the process of transformation needed?

How does your understanding of new cosmology and ecological justice assist you in comprehending the magnitude of the problems and concerns that confront us?

What concrete action might you undertake to begin to heal the injustice that is present in the human-Earth community?

In your own way take time for prayer, reflection on the gift of abundance in nature. Celebrate this abundance, celebrate the divine communication between the Creator and every being and part of creation that you become aware of today.

What can a commitment to biodiversity mean for you today?

Write about the new insights, aspects of new worldview that you have discovered in the  understandings of ecological justice, Earth Democracy and Earth Rights.

Write the ten commandments for Earth Justice



Mandala Hildegarde of Bingen,


4. Hildegard of Bingen on Justice in Creation

It is through water that the Holy Spirit overcomes all injustice, bringing to fulfillment all his gifts…

gifts, such that humankind might thrive in the moisture of justice and stream to spiritual things in the current of truth.

Has humankind never discovered God on the path of justice? Have people never observed how the earthly seeds comes to growth when it falls to the ground and is soaked by rain and dew?

As if this could come to pass thru any other than the creator of all things!…When a person understands Justice, the self is let go.

The first seed of the longing for Justice blows through the soul like the wind. The taste for good will plays in it like breeze. The consummation of this seed is a greening in the soul

That is like that of a ripening world. Now the soul honors God By the doing of just deeds.

Meditations with Hildegard of Bingen: G. Uelein. ISBN 0-939680-12-2

Elly Verrijt


Integrity of Creation


This term first surfaced on the Assembly of WCC in 1983.

At that time people were still very much involved in the nuclear treats. The awareness that there was another big threat came very slowly: the collapse of the ecosystems of the Earth. Integrity of creation deals with nothing less than with all life on Earth.

Integrity of Creation: the value of all creatures in themselves, for one another, and for God, and their inter-connectedness in a diverse whole that has unique value for God.

J. Mc. Daniel

To forget the integrity of creation means to forget that the Earth is a beautiful whole in itself.

The integrity of creation has six dimensions:

1. The integrity of creation describes the integral functioning of endless natural transactions throughout the bio-sphere and even the geo-sphere. They comprise the specific exchanges and cycles from which all nature lives; we humans included atop of the food chain. They have an integrity that must not be violated.  The behaviours of one domain are integrated with those of others. These exchanges are totally integrated. They have an integrity all together. Earth is a dynamic, but closed system.

2. The integrity of creation refers to nature’s restless self-organizing dynamics. While creation is finally one, its internally connected condition is dynamic. There is a persistent restlessness in nature, but this novelty is self-organizing. Nature is comprised of charged and changing stabilities. While all life is a restless adventure, it exists within vital boundaries and depends on elements working together as an astounding community.

Sometimes the changing relationships are harmonious, sometimes symbiotic, sometimes predatory, sometimes a mix of these. Destruction is certainly a part of nature’s creative process.

Integrity of creation means recognition and respect for these boundaries and integrated processes.

Recycling is a fundamental Earth dynamic. Waste in one phase normally becomes food or habitat in another, via cyclical and spiral processes.

Yet the natural recycling can be altered, in ways destructive of the processes themselves. E.g. destroy the ozone shield and see what happens on Earth and in the oceans. Earth is one and on the move. The fundamental law of nature is that human activities must stay within the boundaries of nature. If we transgress the boundaries, the consequences are that we alter nature in dangerous and unforeseen ways. In religious moral context this means the failure of humans to submit their power to Earth’s finitude and inhabit the Earth on terms it can accept.

3.The integrity of creation also points to Earth’s one -time endowment. The planet is self-renewing all the time, in ways seen and unseen. This totality is immensely rich, varied and dynamic. The Earth is also finite, limited, vulnerable, and subject to subversion and exhaustion. Our Earth is also fragile. Yet, we live as if the endowment were boundless and forever. We see now that the one – time endowment of the Earth is being violated.

4. The integrity of creation as a one-time, dynamic, natural endowment that can and is being jeopardized is related to another dimension, the integral relation of social and environmental justice. Earth is our shared home. AII, humans and otherkind alike, are relatives of one another as a consequence of basic relatedness on a closed planet. Earth knows this. The implication is that justice for people and for the rest of the planet are knotted together. Both poverty and affluence threaten and degrade basic life-support systems. (Affluence is responsible for roughly 70% of environmental degradation). At the same time human well – being and justice cannot be realized in an utterly devastated environment.

” The integrity of creation has a social aspect which we recognize as peace with justice, and an ecological aspect which we recognize in the self-renewing, sustainable character of natural ecosystems”.

Seoul conference, 1990.

5. The integrity of creation also names a divine source and a certain intrinsic dignity. It gives theological voice to faith’s conviction that creation in its totality and its differentiation is good and the work of a life-giving God. “Integrity” is a word for the preciousness integral to creation’s being.

“Creation” is a theological word rather than a scientific one. It means all things together, in, with, and before God, in their totality and in their differentiation as an expression of divine life.

6. The true understanding of integrity of creation carries more than the common conviction of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam about the interior goodness of creation as God’s. Creation is the gathering of independently good expressions of the divine love. This means deep respect for the otherkind as differentiated

It means respect for each creature and the fact that each creature has a right to do and be what it is created for.

More deeply, integrity of creation means here being with, as creation’s one way of being. Creation is social by nature, life requires mutuality. It means being- with rather than being above.

It also means consideration of other kind’s well-being as more than an extension of ours. The “integrity of creation’ carries moral freight of this kind. We are all symbionts. Evolution is the history of the total extended family.

An Earth Ethic that follows out of all this.

The integrity of creation pertains to all life-forms, not just to humans. For earth ethics, the integrity of creation means that all creatures are entitled moral consideration even when that does not issue in moral equality. Before God all creation has standing.

” A thing is right (for the Earth and the Earth community) when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” (Aldo Leopold)

How can humans be just towards plants, animals, streams, and land? How can we live morally just and preserve the integrity of creation? Nash proposes the following biotic rights;

1. The right to participate in the natural dynamics of existence. The right to flourish as nature provides this, without undue human alteration of genetic or behavioural “otherness” of non-human creatures.

2. The right to healthy and whole habitats.

3. The right to reproduce their own kind without humanly induced chemical radio- active, hybridized, or bio-engineered aberrations.

4. The right to fulfil their evolutionary potential with freedom from human induced extinctions. Extinctions are a natural part of the evolutionary process, but human-induced extinctions are unjust. Humanity’s exercise of its power ought not to undermine the existence of viable populations of non-human species in healthy habitats until the end of their evolutionary time.

5. The right to freedom from human cruelty, fragrant abuse, or profligate use.

6. The right to reparations or restitution through managerial interventions to restore a semblance of natural conditions disrupted by human abuse.

7. The right to a fair share of the goods necessary for individuals and species.



From a Conference of Justitia et Pax, S.America

Earth Community, Earth Ethics.  L. Rasmussen ISBN 1-57075-186- 2


Ethics and Ecology

Thomas Berry on :Ethics And Ecology

Now our concerns for the human community can only be fulfilled by a concern for the integrity of the natural world. The planet cannot support its human presence unless there is a reciprocal human support for the life systems of the planet. This more comprehensive perspective we might identify as macro phase ethics. This is something far beyond the actions of communities, or even of nations. We are presently concerned with ethical judgements on an entirely different order of magnitude.

Indeed, the human community has never previously been forced to ethical judgements on this scale because we never before had the capacity for deleterious actions with such consequences….(GW, chapter9, page 100-101)

We find ourselves ethically destitute just when, for the first time, we are faced with ultimacy, the irreversible closing down of the Earth’s functioning in its major life systems. Our ethical traditions know how to deal with suicide, homicide, or even genocide: but these traditions collapse entirely when confronted with biocide, the extinction of vulnerable life systems of the Earth, and geocide, the devastation of the Earth herself. (GW, chapter 9, page 104)

The present urgency is to begin thinking within the context of the whole planet, the integral Earth community with all its human and other-than-human components…. The ecological community is not subordinate to the human community. Nor is the ecological imperative derivative from human ethics….

The basic ethical norm is the well- being of the comprehensive community and the attainment of human well –being within that community. Here we find that we are dealing with a profound reversal in our perspective on ourselves and on the universe about us. …. (GW,chapter 9, page 105)

GW: The Great Work, Thomas Berry ISBN-0-609-80499



Free Photo, Internet

The Rainforest as Teacher

 “John  Seed 1

John Seed ( Australia)  gave up his practice of insight meditation after the rainforest suddenly took over as his teacher of truth.  Since hearing the call of the wild some decades ago, Seed has become a leading environmental activist as well as a theoretician and teacher of deep ecology. See his talk in this video on Youtube

Let us listen to him as he speaks.   “In 1979, although I had no knowledge of, or conscious interest in, the issue, I got involved in a demonstration to save a rain forest located about five miles down the road from where I lived. Somehow I found myself involved in what turned out to be the first direct action in Australia—or in the world for that matter—in defense of the rain forests.  When he stood in front of the big chainsaws  “All of a sudden, the forest was inside me and was calling to me, and it was the most powerful thing I have ever felt. Very soon after that I stopped meditating. My practice just dropped away. I wasn’t looking inside anymore. And I didn’t have any particular explanation for this. I must say, at first it caused me quite a lot of anguish, and for awhile the only reason I was sitting was some kind of vague dread or guilt that if I stopped something terrible would happen. But all the other motivation to meditate had gone, and pretty soon the guilt was gone too, and then I was just out there in the world of direct action. I was getting a very strong message from the rain forest and I followed it.


sacred grove

I receive great spiritual nourishment from the forest itself. Furthermore, I have the scientific understanding that we humans spent 125 million of the last 130 million years evolving within this rain forest, and that our cells and our very psyche are infused with the intelligence of the forest. The fact that the forest communicates so strongly to me is not surprising.

What also turned me toward the forest were the statistics I began reading from the United Nations Environment Program and from various ecologists, which indicate that we are the last generations of human beings that are going to be in a position to turn this thing around—to prevent the destruction of complex life on earth. That kind of information burnt away all the distractions in my life, the kinds of things that at one time had been obstacles to my meditation practice. But again, it was not so much the intellectual knowing as it was just being in the forest. That experience was what made it possible for me to apply myself to the environmental work with a kind of urgency and commitment that I was never able to apply to my sitting practice.

I find myself surrendering completely to the rain forest. The closest thing to meditation practice for me now is to lie down in the forest when it’s dry, cover myself in leaves, and imagine an umbilical cord reaching down into the earth. Then I visualize myself as being one leaf on the tree of life, both as myself personally and as a human being, and I realize that the sap of that tree runs through every leaf, including me, whether I’m aware of it or not.

I don’t believe this to be a mystical notion. It’s very matter of fact. In reality, every breath of air we take connects us to the entire life of the planet—the atmosphere. I feel it very physically. I’m part of the water cycle. The sun lifts the water up into the atmosphere and then it comes down, lubricating and giving life to everything. Eighty to ninety percent of what I am is just this water.

I help organize and lead gatherings called the Council of All Beings, and the exercises we do at these gatherings give us a sense that we are not so much a personality as an intersection of these great cycles. We begin to break the illusion of being separate from the rest of creation. I can lay on the ground and feel the vibration of this earth which gave rise to me and which has sustained my ancestors and everything else for four thousand million years in incredible intelligent harmony.

It’s only recently that I as a human being have lost the ability to dance to that tune which promises hundreds and thousands and millions of years of continued evolution. I started creating my own tune, the human tune, which has become so loud in my ears that I can’t hear the sound of the earth’s cycles or the music of the spheres. We need to check into those other tunes through ritual and ceremony.


Recognizing our connection with nature is very simple and accessible regardless of where we are living. We may think we’re surrounded by concrete and plastic, but then we think a little further and realize that the concrete is sand and the bodies of shellfish. The plastic is a product of the rain forest laid down during the carboniferous era 130 million years ago and turned into oil. Look just under the surface and the unnaturalness of things starts to disappear.

That’s what we work on in the Council of All Beings. We present a series of rituals and ceremonies intended to dispel the illusion of separation and alienation. All indigenous cultures have, at the very center of their spiritual life, similar kinds of ritual and ceremony that acknowledge and nurture human interconnectedness in the larger family of life. What has happened to modern humans is that we have become arrogant. It stems perhaps from the Judeo-Christian idea that we are the center of it all, the crown of creation, and the rest of the world is just resources. We look at the nature rituals and ceremonies of indigenous people as nothing but primitive superstition and pagan mumbo jumbo. We think we’re enlightened, and that means we are above nature, and out of that arrogance we are threatening to destroy ourselves.

Everything about our society is based on this idea of ourselves as specially created apart from the rest of nature. We don’t have to believe this intellectually to be completely enthralled by it. As long as we think of “the environment” we are objectifying it and turning it into something over there and separate from ourselves. Even if we don’t believe in any particular theory of economics, our whole life is conditioned by an economic system based upon the principle that the earth has no value until human labor is added to it. The earth is just a bunch of dirt, and we are so clever we can mold that dirt and turn it into spaceships and into great long electric wires to carry our messages. We ‘ve refused to recognize the miracle of the dirt which composes us. Any miracle that we have is only miraculous because we are made of this incredible dirt—miracle dirt which will agree to do everything we ask of it. We refuse to recognize any of that. All that we know is “aren’t I fantastic?” That’s our downfall.

Of course, everything dies, and we’re going to have to let go of this planet sooner or later. The sun is going to go into nova in four thousand million years, and then the earth is going to fry up in a crisp. So what am I going to do about it? Tear my hair.

Once I was swimming at sunrise on the coast of New South Wales when I was attracted to a rock that was covered with incredible life: sea weed, crabs, shellfish. And as I began to embrace this life, all of a sudden I was embracing the living rock underneath, and I could feel the molecular continuity between the rock and the life it was supporting and my own physical being. I experienced that all of the molecules and atoms were the same, and that somehow the rock had the potential and, I would have to say, the desire or the propensity to transform itself into all kinds of soft stuff, like sea weed and human flesh. I realized that the sharp distinction between cellular life and what preceded it was actually just in my mind. The universe was miraculous and seamless. The miracle didn’t start when humans came along or for that matter when life began. When a bolt of lightening fertilized the bowl of molecular soup, it was ready and waiting. I have a visceral understanding of this process, and a deep feeling of connection. Therefore I don’t have a great deal of anxiety about the result.

I was afraid to accept that realization at first. I struggled against it. I was afraid that I might lose my motivation by letting in the good news that everything was all right whatever happens. The atoms which had done this before, for whatever imponderable reasons, were obviously capable of doing it again. And nothing I did could touch those bigger processes.

SONY DSC Photo R. Kok

But my motivation to save complex life was undiminished by this realization. Somehow I have surrendered the interests of my personality, I say regularly to my DNA, “Just tell me what to do. I’m working for you now.” I’m not working for “the man” anymore.

The music that evolved me for four thousand million years— I can hear that again. It says to me, “Save the planet. Save complex life. Protect biological diversity. Try and keep gene pools intact wherever possible. That’s what I want you to do.”

Meanwhile, what I notice is that when I live committed like this, my life is full of joy. I was sitting on a train in Tokyo on my way to do a Council of All Beings and I looked around at the people on the train, the wealthiest people in the world, and saw that they were so unhappy. I don’t want that life. My life feels very joyful and exciting to me right now. In this day and age, if you end up with a joyful and exciting life, feeling at one with all things, you really can’t complain, regardless of the outcome.

This article is excerpted from an interview with John Seed by Wes Nisker in Inquiring Mind, a semi-annual journal of the Vipassana Community, P. O. Box 9999, North Berkeley Station, Berkeley, CA 94709.

For information about John Seed’s workshops write to R. G. Steinman, Rainforest Information Center, 9009 Fairview Road, Silver Springs, MD 20910.


Earth Rights: Reflection by Vandana Shiva

We need a new paradigm for living on the Earth. An alternative to the present paradigma is now a survival imperative for the human species. And the alternative that is needed is not only at the levels of tools or technologies: it is at the level of worldview.

How we look at ourselves in this world? What are humans for? Are we merely a money-making and resource guzzling machine? Or do we have a higher purpose? The world order built on economic fundamentalism of limitless growth and on the technological fundamentalism that maintained that there is a technological fix for every social and environmental ill is clearly disintegrating.

The collapse of the economic system in 2008 and the continuing financial crisis signal the end of the paradigm that put fictitious finance above real wealth created by Nature and humans, profits above people, and corporations above citizens.  This paradigm can only be kept afloat with limitless bailouts directing public wealth to private rescues instead of using it to rejuvenate Nature and economic livelihoods. It can only be kept afloat with increasing violence to the Earth and to the people. It can only  be kept alive as an economic dictatorship.

That is clear in India’s heartland ,where the limitless appetite for steel and aluminium for the global consumer society is now clashing head-on with the rights of tribal people to their lands and homes, their forests and rivers, their cultures and way of life.

Tribal people are saying a loud and clear “no” to their forced uprooting. The only way to get to the minerals and coal that feed the “limitless growth” model in the face of democratic resistance is the use of militarised violence…. More than 40,000 paramilitary forces have been placed in tribal areas that are rich in minerals and where tribal unrest is growing, demonstrating that the current economic paradigm can only unfold through militarisation and the undermining of democratic and human rights.

The technological fundamentalism that has externalised costs, both ecological and social, and blinded us to ecological destruction has also reached a dead end. Climate chaos- the eternality of technologies based on the use of fossil fuels- is a wake up call: a warning that we cannot continue on the fossil-fuel path. The high cost of industrial farming is running up against limits, in terms of both the ecological destruction of the natural capital of soil, water, biodiversity and air, and the creation of malnutrition, with a billion of people denied food and another two billion denied health because of rampant diabetes and other food-related diseases.

We are all menbers of the Earth family and our first and highest duty is to take care of Mother Earth: Prithvi, Gaia, Pachamama- however you name her. And the better we can care for her, the more food and water, health and wealth we have.

“Earth Rights”are first and foremost the rights of Mother Earth. Earth rights are also the rights of humans: the right to food and water, health and a safe environment and the right to rivers, seeds, biodiversity and an unpolluted atmosphere.

I have given the name Earth Democray to this new paradigm of living as an Earth Community, respecting the rights of Mother Earth. Earth Democracy enables us to create living democracies, which enable democratic participation in all matters of life and death: the food we eat or do not have access to; the water we drink or are denied through privatisation or pollution; the air we breathe or are poisoned by. Living democracies are based on the intrinsic worth of all species, all peoples, all cultures.

Earth democracies protects the ecological processes that maintain life and the fundamental human rights that are the basis of the right to life, including the right to water, the right to food, the right to health, the right to education and the right to jobs and livelihoods.

Nonviolence implies that our systems of production, trade and consumption do not use up the ecological space of other species and other people. Violence is the result when our dominant economic structures and economic organisation usurp and ring-fence that space.

According to an ancient Indian text, the Isha Upanishad, “the universe is the creation of the Supreme Power meant for the benefit of all creation. Each individual life form must, therefore, learn to enjoy its benefits in close relation with other species.Let not any one species encroach upon others “rights”.  Whenever we engage in consumption or production patterns that take mpore than we need, we are engaging in violence. Non-sustainable cunsumption and non-sustainable production constitue a violent economic order. Earth Rights are the basis for equity, justice and sustainability.

Vandana Shiva, India

In Resurgence, no 263, page 32.

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International attention and action to save the rainforests

As we all know the rainforests all over the world are in great danger. Already for a long time I always participate in actions to bring to the open what happens with the forests and the people who are living in conection with the rainforests.

On the site you can respond to those actions. On this website you find lots of stories and other informations that are a help to do something. It is just a matter of responding. In the past years a lot has been achieved already. Thank you for the attention given to it.

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