The lens I use to look out into the world is a lens that I will call Spiritual Environmentalism. I have been using this term for sometime now, and after doing a quick Blackle.com search (Blackle.com is Google’s new search engine designed to conserve energy , read about it here) I realize that my definition of this term is different from some authors who are using it. I thought it would be a good idea to define what exactly I am talking about, since, for me, environmentalism has always been grounded in my spirituality.  

Spiritual Environmentalism is, to me, about looking at our planet and recognizing that there is a larger spiritual picture that surrounds us. That larger picture begins with the understanding that all life is valuable. Regardless of if that life is contained in a human, a tree, a cat, or a dog (yes, even a dog) that life holds value and must be respected.  

This idea that all life is valuable is not anything new. Countless people across the brief history of our human race have expressed this same idea within their own faith based understanding. To mention just a few, people such as Mother Teresa, Gandhi, and the Buddha all acknowledged the idea that life is valuable. In our own Muslim tradition we have these very examples in prophets such as Muhammad, Solomon, Eesa.  

The idea that all life is valuable comes from the view that the very breath of The Divine is what causes that which has no life to have life. Meaning, that it is the very breath of Allah that gives birth to each element of life we hear, see, or become aware of.  And if this is the case, which I do believe it is, then this means that within all forms of life there is an element of Allah that is constantly stirring. Therefore an element of Allah stirs within you, within me, within the trees and mountains, within a cat and within a dog (yes even a dog). 

Spiritual Environmentalism expresses this understanding through various actions. These actions can include recycling; buying organic and local, rescuing a stray animal, standing in awe at a sunset or those actions can include gaining awareness, getting involved in an activist project, contemplating the diversity of life. The thing that makes these actions different is that the “doer” sees any one of these undertakings as an act of devotion and recognizes that these various actions honor the idea of respecting the earth and respecting life. An individual engaged in Spiritual Environmentalism creates actions that are grounded in respect, gratitude, and compassion and not in fear, agitation, or guilt.  

There you have it! Spiritual Environmentalism is a “way of being” that is positioned in the notion that all life is valuable and this “way of being” is expressed in actions that largely flow from a place of respect, gratitude and compassion.  

A few questions:

Do you agree/disagree with the ideas expressed above? And why.

Is this how you view the world?

What would you include or not include in this definition?

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