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Many people working in the field of religion and ecology share a concern for peace in this world. For example, the geologian Thomas Berry wrote a poignant essay presenting his vision of the peace of the Earth, a Pax Gaia, which was published in his important book, Dream of the Earth (1988). In crafting a response to the ecological crisis, Berry repeatedly wrote with urgency about the need to rediscover and foster wonder amongst humans in relation to both the Earth and universe communities. Broadly taking these two features of Berry’s work as its jumping off point, this article unfolds select ways to couple wonder, the moral imagination and socio-ecological flourishing at a time of climate change and social unrest, in the service of substantive peace. Specifically, the authors offer a discussion of wonder as it can be understood from reading Berry’s work. Moving towards a contemporary contextual ethical application, this article then draws on the work of conflict transformation theorist and practitioner Jean Paul Lederach concerning the moral imagination, which he characterizes as the art and soul of building peace. The authors conclude by proposing a path towards an authentic Pax Gaia that broadens the scope of wonder to include more fully its human component, and broadens the scope of the moral imagination to include more fully its biological and geological components. It is in this way, this article suggests that we can foster an integral approach to peace, one characterized by socio-ecological flourishing.

In: Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology