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This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment by Roger S. Gottlieb, Ed.

1996; 670 pp. $24.95. Routledge.

Who would have thought that more than twenty-five years after the first Earth Day catapulted ecological concern into so many areas of American life the case would still need to be made that our religious traditions have an inherent moral obligation to participate in protecting "the creation," the natural world? Roger Gottlieb's contribution to what is perhaps history's longest wake-up call is a hefty tome that seeks to illuminate "religion in an age of environmental crisis."

Drawing not only on the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) but also Buddhism, Taoism, native peoples' spiritual teachings, neo-Paganism, and spiritual ecofeminism, Gottlieb gathers testimony of ecological teachings in traditional religious texts, contemporary ecotheology, green liturgy, and ecosocial activism. The result: an impressive chorus of thoughtful voices urging that our efforts to attain spiritual wisdom be grounded in ecological wisdom.

When I reached the section on "Ecology, Religion, and Society," I found myself growing impatient. It is time to focus attention not only on declarations of general principles, but also on political efforts to change governmental policy. I appreciated Dieter Hessel's article on genetic engineering, and the World Council of Churches report which ends with issue-by-issue analysis and alternatives. Wake up, righteous sisters and brothers!

 

ISBN: 0415943590

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