For many contemporary Pagans, religious practice fosters a sense of spiritual connection with the Earth. Pagans actively try to cultivate a harmonious relationship with the non-human natural world. In this time of accelerating environmental change, many Pagans feel a sense of urgency to help transform humanity’s relationship with the Earth.
This sense of urgency is what drew together a large group of diverse Pagans, including Pagan leaders, authors, artists, and bloggers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and other places around the world, to draft “A Pagan Community Statement on the Environment.” The statement has been published at ecopagan.com. The statement has been translated into 16 languages. Thousands of people from over 70 countries have signed the statement, with more signing every day.
The statement begins with the recognition we human beings are part of nature, neither above nor separate from it:
“As part of the body of life on Earth, we care about the health of all parts of the body. Many human activities destroy parts of the body, and we recoil at them. Cutting down a rainforest is no different from cutting off a healthy leg or arm. In fact, these are even more vital than our arms and legs, because these forests are part of our planetary lungs.”
The statement continues on to recognize the many ecological harms caused by human action, including habitat loss, deforestation, climate change from emission of greenhouse gases, unsustainable depletion of natural resources, and increasing waste and pollution.
The statement then calls for the creation of a culture of “true sustainability.” True sustainability, the statement explains, “does not mean trying to find ways to ‘sustain’ our current levels of consumption or trying to ‘sustain’ economic and political systems which have failed us.” Rather, it means “transforming the systems of domination and exploitation that threaten our future into systems of symbiotic partnership that support our ecosystem,” which includes:
- Dismantling or substantially reforming any economic or political system which encourages the exploitation of Earth and people,
- Moving away from disposable culture toward a renewable culture wherein all products are intended for longevity, repairability, and easy recycling or composting at the end of their use,
- Creating sustainable, local economies with the shortest distances between production, consumption and recycling of byproducts,
- Reforming our food systems for the benefit of humans, other living beings and the greater ecosystem,
- Distributing resources in a more just and humane fashion, and
- Ensuring that our human populations are below the carrying capacity of our planet through access to voluntary birth control, and equal access to education and work for women.
Beyond technical and political solutions, the statement calls for a “change in spirit” that fosters “a new relationship between humanity and other species and Earth as a whole.”