Spiritual Ecology, Rewilding & Permaculture

What is Spiritual Ecology in Action?

Spiritual Ecology…is about sticking our hands in the soil – feeling into the roots of social and environmental issues – cultivating a deeper relationship with life that reflects the interconnectedness of all life.

The Four Principles of Spiritual Ecology:

  • Interconnectedness
  • Reverence for Nature
  • Stewardship
  • Service

How can these principles be rooted in our lives and what are the opportunities and challenges taking these principles into the environmental, social and spiritual movements?

What are Rewilding and Permaculture?

Rewilding is an ecological awareness idea that is gradually gaining momentum within environmental circles, and it bears significant comparison with some of permaculture’s guiding principles. Permaculture emphasizes the preservation of natural ecosystems and making efforts to repair ecosystems that have been damaged by human activity. Rewilding also proposes people taking a proactive approach to assist natural ecosystems to retain their former diversity and abundance – which have been curtailed by human encroachment on the land. Wilderness management as it is currently practiced seeks to somehow contain or suppress natural processes or managing the environment for the benefit of a single species, rewinding proposes letting nature re-find its own balance – in many ways letting the land turned back to its natural state so that nature itself can work out what is best for it. Rewilding is about making a whole wilderness ecosystem truly wild – self-sustaining, abundant and diverse (which just happens to overlap with the aims of permaculture design). It is about creating a future in which humans can once again see themselves as ecosystem participants of a global ecosystem, rather than separate and often antagonistic elements. Given what we know about nature as permaculturists or forest gardeners we can be certain that once the balance is reached nature will find the correct equilibrium for that ecosystem, and will eventually reach abundance. There are several reasons why rewilding is an appealing prospect.

Biodiversity: Rewilding gives nature a chance to re-establish its natural state of abundance and biodiversity.

Self-Sustaining: When ecosystems are allowed to blossom in their biodiversity, they naturally create a system that is self-sustaining.

Protect from Extinction: Reintroducing species to an area where they were once native is a way of protecting species from extinction.

Commercial: Natural ecosystems can provide financial gains, such as offering expeditions or tours which can be there as a place of inspiration.

Rewild Ourselves: Rewilding is not only beneficial to the land and the animals that live on it; it is also good for humans. 

Permaculture and Spiritual Ecology Permaculture is a wholistic design system based on observing Nature’s principles that demonstrates us how to create resilient, regenerative systems, whether they are homesteads and gardens, communities, enterprises or larger ecosystem restoration projects. When I hear about the environmental devastation that is happening faster than ever before or that clean water, a rapidly dwindling resource, is being globally privatized it makes me feel that I too am drying and dying. Our bodies are connected to the great body of the Earth. The destruction 
of our world is experienced deep in our psyche, whether we consciously acknowledge it or not. To manage this, we need to develop our own sense of resilience and balance. Life is not only precious; it is a profound experiment in learning.

Integrating Wholeness: Shifting the Paradigm to Being an Ecosystem Participant

Bringing Spiritual Ecology, Rewilding and Permaculture into our daily life will support shifting the paradigm of lack to abundance, from separation consciousness to interbeing.

The keystone of spiritual ecology, rewilding and permaculture

is a paradigm shift in

our own human consciousness.

From monoculture mind to polyculture mind;

From separation to unity;

From exploitation and manipulation to respect and interdependence;

From intervener to ecosystem participant.

What Inspires and Energises me?

After 40 years as an earth activist, wild nutritionist and community ecological herbalist, people often ask me where do I turn for inspiration? How do I keep going? I make it my responsibility to be as well informed as
 I can about the state of the world and the systems that exact the damage. Then I make it equally my journey to learn more about the solutions: from the grand, inspiring projects that regenerate whole landscapes to the small practices I can use in my daily life. I am a forest gardener and co-facilitator of The Living Centre. I like to work within the community in practical ways, not only with herbs and trees but also with well-designed people care systems, whether they are personal or educational.

Visioning and Acting for the Future

Spiritual Earth Activism is about the journey, not the destination. The process of our journey is living the change we want to see in the world, but not expecting to see great changes in our lifetimes. It is an alchemical, often invisible, practice that we hope benefits the future, rather than engaging in the drama of today.

Rewilding and ecological growth as a noble endeavour by humanity

The great challenge lies in attuning a majority of humanity with nature, creating a force of stewards instead of destroyers. Ultimately, spiritual ecology, rewilding, and permaculture is about instilling compassion for all of nature. It is about restoring the ecosystems and biosphere and for humanity to recognize its humble place in it, instead of dominance. This is a gradual process, but attainable with consolidated vision, drive and effort, and hence with increasing leverage and success. It is a true vision that our caring hearts know is beyond just possible but it is the future that happening now!