Following the Gaian Way

This week I’m proud to share a new essay published Thursday in the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. This lead story in the Spring/Summer 2023 issue is on “Following the Gaian Way.” For regular readers of these reflections, you’ll see some of the themes we often grapple with, but framed to introduce readers to this Earth-centric philosophy and religion. The essay maps out the many components of the Gaian Way, including the ethics, theodicy, stories, and practices. So I encourage you to read that essay.

Read the essay at the Harvard Divinity Bulletin website.

In other news, for those who didn’t join our Dispelling the Myths of the Renewable Energy Transition webinar, it is now up on YouTube. It’s an excellent exploration of the real challenge we face: overshoot, of which climate change is only a symptom (albeit a horrific one). It also makes some excellent points about how replacing concentrated energy sources with nature-based solutions is unrealistic, even dangerous fantasy. In fact, as speaker John Mulrow details, fossil fuels, when being introduced, were celebrated as ways to reduce the pressure on nature—whether elephants, whales, or forests. As we attempt to shift to renewables and bio-fuels (now with five times the population as inhabited Earth in 1900), what havoc will that wreak? Not surprising, as the panelists note, the solution to a crisis borne of growth is degrowth, as politically challenging as that may be.

Watch the recorded webinar, with Bill Rees, John Mulrow, and Miriam Stevens on YouTube.

Finally, this coming Friday, Ian Mowll of GreenSpirit, Michelle Merrill of Novasutras, and I will speak about how these three ecoreligions are working to combat the eco-abuses of the broader societies they’re part of and embedded within. No Zoom link yet, but you can join us at 11:30am ET on this Friday (April 28th). (The Zoom link will be on our Upcoming Events page when available.) And learn more about—and join—the many other conference talks here (registration is still open and free).

Learn more about the upcoming Harvard Divinity School conference here. And join our talk Friday 4/28 at 11:30am ET.
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2 Responses

  1. Azzy

    What exactly is Gaia? is it a deity, or just an entity? Is Gaia the earth, or something more?

    • Erik Assadourian

      Sometimes, answering a question with a question is best: What exactly are you? Are you an entity, a conscious being, or just an aggregation of trillions of human cells, and even more cells of other species that are as integral as your own cells in keeping you alive and thriving? Maybe all? To the micro-organisms living in your gut, perhaps you, too, are a deity!

      The scientist in me says that Gaia is a living being. Gaia is the aggregation of all of the biological and geological systems that make up the planet. I do not ascribe consciousness to Gaia but that might be simple short-sightedness or anthropocentrism on my part. And I do not deify Gaia, but recognize Gi as the greater whole that we’re a part of, as sacred, as the orienting relationship that we should organize our lives and societies around.


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