The Gaian Way was founded by Erik Assadourian in 2019 (after many years of thinking and writing about the need for a deeper environmental way). It is now an active living community with several events online each month and three local guilds that meet regularly for nature meditations.
Erik Assadourian is a sustainability researcher and writer who was affiliated with the Worldwatch Institute from 2001 until 2017, when the institute went into hibernation. He co-authored over a dozen books and directed and co-directed seven. He focused especially on the need for cultural change to move humanity beyond consumerism. This brought him to grapple with overconsumption and its effects on humans and Earth, with economic degrowth, and many other topics. And in time Erik realized that only through a cultural fully oriented on sustainability will humans be able to survive the changes wrought over the past two centuries of our cancerous development. This led him to write on what an Earth-centric education would look like, it led him to create an eco-expansion for Settlers of Catan (Catan: Oil Springs) that questions fossil fuel use and continued growth, and even a reality TV show (Yardfarmers) that normalizes multigenerational households, economic degrowth, and low-consumption life paths for Millennials in the overdeveloped United States.
But most importantly this path led Erik to weave Deep Ecology, Gaia Theory, and other modern sustainability scientific findings and ancient philosophical wisdom into a new philosophical path, the Gaian Way. With the community that has formed around Gaianism, Erik and other seekers are crafting a new way, one that recognizes our connection with and utter dependence on the living Earth, and one hopefully that can help us navigate the society-disrupting environmental challenges that used to be on the horizon, but are now here. Erik also convenes the Middletown Gaian Guild in Middletown, Connecticut.
Bart Everson is a Gaian and the convener of the Crescent City Gaian Guild. He helped found the Green Party of Louisiana as well as Friends of Lafitte Greenway, the Earth-Based Spirituality Action Team of Citizens’ Climate Lobby, the Earth-Centered Special Interest Group of POD Network, and the Greater New Orleans Interfaith Climate Coalition. He is the author of Spinning in Place: A Secular Humanist Embraces the Neo-Pagan Wheel of the Year. More at BartEverson.com.
Gaian Way: The philosophical (religious) path that recognizes Gaia as a living holobiont, made up of countless organisms, a being that we are part of, that gives us our purpose, and that we are utterly dependent on for our survival.
Gaianism: The set of beliefs and practices (such as meditations and fasting) that have stemmed from this philosophical path.
Gaian: A practitioner of Gaianism
Gaian Community: The community that has formed as Gaians have come together to share their beliefs and seek camaraderie and mutual support.