Ecology and Vision

Contemplation as Environmental Practice

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Matthew T. Eggemeier College of the Holy Cross, 1 College Street, Worcester, MA 01610

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This essay analyzes the significance of contemplative practice for the development of environmental ethics. The writings of Mary Oliver, Annie Dillard, and Tim Lilburn are examined as examples of the way in which the cultivation of a contemplative way of seeing the world constitutes an important environmental practice. While Oliver, Dillard, and Lilburn differ in the strategies they employ to facilitate this contemplative experience, they converge in their view that the work of learning to see the natural world with contemplative attention is a spiritual act that is not only significant in its own right but which also serves to support the development of an environmental ethics.

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