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Dark Green Religion

Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future

Bron Taylor (Author)


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In this innovative and deeply felt work, Bron Taylor examines the evolution of “green religions” in North America and beyond: spiritual practices that hold nature as sacred and have in many cases replaced traditional religions. Tracing a wide range of groups—radical environmental activists, lifestyle-focused bioregionalists, surfers, new-agers involved in “ecopsychology,” and groups that hold scientific narratives as sacred—Taylor addresses a central theoretical question: How can environmentally oriented, spiritually motivated individuals and movements be understood as religious when many of them reject religious and supernatural worldviews? The “dark” of the title further expands this idea by emphasizing the depth of believers' passion and also suggesting a potential shadow side: besides uplifting and inspiring, such religion might mislead, deceive, or in some cases precipitate violence. This book provides a fascinating global tour of the green religious phenomenon, enabling readers to evaluate its worldwide emergence and to assess its role in a critically important religious revolution.
Readers' Guide

1. Introducing Religion and Dark Green Religion
2. Dark Green Religion
3. Dark Green Religion in North America
4. Radical Environmentalism
5. Surfing Spirituality
6. Globalization with Predators and Moving Pictures
7. Globalization in Arts, Sciences, and Letters
8. Terrapolitan Earth Religion
9 .Conclusion: Dark Green Religion and the Planetary Future

Afterword on Terminology
Appendix: Excerpts with Commentary on the Writings of Henry David Thoreau
Bron Taylor is Professor of Religion and Nature at the University of Florida. He is Editor-in-Chief of the multi-volume Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature and the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, and Editor of Ecological Resistance Movements: The Global Emergence of Radical and Popular Environmentalism.
“This ambitious work seeks to set forth a new religious tradition characterized by its central concern for the fate of the planet.”—Nova Religio: The Journal Of Alternative & Emergent Religions
“Dark Green Religion is intelligent, well-written, and very much worth reading.”—Worldviews
“Taylor aims to illustrate the existence of an ideological current in contemporary North American society that has nature as its focus, and to argue that this is socially and politically significant.”—Emma Tomalin Environment & History
“Names levels of spirituality that are often unacknowledged, unattended to, or rejected, and demonstrates how a new global spirituality (DGR) is becoming a force for positive change on our planet.”—Isle: Interdis Stds In Lit & Environ
Dark Green Religion will be of interest for that growing number of people who think that it is essential that humankind comes into a new relationship of non-dominance with the natural world and that this has a spiritual dimension.”—Green Web
“Taylor’s book is a major achievement"—Journal American Academy Of Religion/ Jaar
“Far from a disinterested study, Taylor views the alleged decline of traditional religions not as secularization as much as this new natural religion replacing older more outmoded ones.”—Weishan Huang Religion Watch
"Taylor examines the evolution of 'green religions' in North America, that is, spiritual practices that hold nature as sacred and have in many cases replaced traditional religions."—Leslie Lewis The Compendium Newsletter
“A love of green may be a human universal. Deepening the palette of green scholarship, Bron Taylor proves remarkably to be both an encyclopedist and a visionary.”—Jonathan Benthall, author of Returning to Religion: Why a Secular Age is Haunted by Faith

"This important book provides insight into how a profound sense of relation to nature offers many in the modern world a vehicle for attaining a spiritual wholeness akin to what has been historically associated with established religion. In this sense, Dark Green Religion offers both understanding and hope for a world struggling for meaning and purpose beyond the isolation of the material here and now."—Stephen Kellert, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

"In this thought-provoking volume, Bron Taylor explores the seemingly boundless efforts by human beings to understand the nature of life and our place in the universe. Examining in depth the ways in which influential philosophers and naturalists have viewed this relationship, Taylor contributes to the further development of thought in this critically important area, where our depth of understanding will play a critical role in our survival."—Peter H. Raven, President, Missouri Botanical Garden

"Carefully researched, strongly argued, originally conceived, and very well executed, this book is a vital contribution on a subject of immense religious, political, and environmental importance. It's also a great read."—Roger S. Gottlieb, author of A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and our Planet's Future

"A fascinating analysis of our emotional and spiritual relationship to nature. Whether you call it dark green religion or something else, Bron Taylor takes us through our spiritual relationship with our planet, its ecosystems and evolution, in an enlightened and completely undogmatic manner."—Dr. Claude Martin, Former Director General, World Wildlife Fund

"An excellent collection of guideposts for perplexed students and scholars about the relationships of nature religions, spirituality, animism, pantheism, deep ecology, Gaia, and land ethics—and for the environmentalist seeking to make the world a better place through green religion as a social force."—Fikret Berkes, author of Sacred Ecology: Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Resource Management

"Dark Green Religion shows conclusively how nature has inspired a growing religious movement on the planet, contesting the long reign of many older faiths. Taylor expertly guides us through an astonishing array of thinkers, past and present, who have embraced, in part or whole, the new religion. I was thoroughly convinced that this movement has indeed become a major force on Earth, with great potential consequences for our environmental ethics."—Donald Worster, University of Kansas

"In this exceptionally interesting and informative book, Bron Taylor has harvested the fruits of years of pioneering research in what amounts to a new field in religious studies: the study of how religious/spiritual themes show up in the work of people concerned about nature in many diverse ways. Taylor persuasively argues that appreciation of nature's sacred or spiritual dimension both informs and motivates the work of individuals ranging from radical environmentalists and surfers, to eco-tourism leaders and museum curators. I highly recommend this book for everyone interested learning more about the surprising extent to which religious/spiritual influences many of those who work to protect, to exhibit, or to represent the natural world."—Michael E. Zimmerman, Director, Center for Humanities and the Arts, University of Colorado at Boulder

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