Books We’ve Been Reading

A listing of some of the books we find especially worthy, inspiring, and cutting edge.
We keep reading – check in from time to time.


Active Hope – How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy, Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, New World Library, 2012 – “Active Hope is about finding, and offering, our best response to the crisis of sustainability unfolding in our world. It offers tools that help us face the mess we’re in, as well as find and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, to a life-sustaining society.


My Name Is Chellis & I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization, Chellis Glendinning, New Society Publishers, 1994 – “When it came out in 1994, My Name is Chellis and I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization quickly became a classic of the ecopsychology movement. It is a book about roots which reach back millennia to a time when humans lived in and honored the natural world. By documenting the entanglement of the ecological crisis with modern addictions, the book gives an unusual glimpse into matters of culture, history, politics, and personal consciousness; and by helping us make sense of the senseless abuses in the world today, it inspires the remembrance of new/old pathways towards healing.”


Spiritual Ecology – The Cry of the Earth, ed. by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, The Golden Sufi Center, 2013 – “Our present ecological crisis is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced—its accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans. A central but rarely addressed aspect of this crisis is our forgetfulness of the sacred nature of creation, and how this affects our relationship to the environment. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis. This is vital and necessary if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance.”

Contributors include: Chief Oren Lyons, Thich Nhat Hanh, Sandra Ingerman, Joanna Macy, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Satish Kumar, Vandana Shiva, Fr. Richard Rohr, Bill Plotkin, Jules Cashford, Wendell Berry, Winona LaDuke, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Brian Swimme, and others.


Soulcraft – Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche, Bill Plotkin, New World Library, 2001 – “There’s a great longing in all people — a longing to uncover the secrets and mysteries of our individual lives, to find the unique gift we were born to bring to our communities, and to experience our full membership in the more-than-human world. This journey to soul is a descent into layers of the self much deeper than personality, a journey meant for each one of us, not just for the heroes and heroines of mythology. A modern handbook for the journey, Soulcraft is not an imitation of indigenous ways, but a contemporary nature-based approach born from the landscape of the Southwest, the traditions of Western culture, and the cross-cultural heritage of all humanity. Filled with stories, poems, and guidelines, Soulcraft introduces over 40 practices that facilitate the descent to soul, including dreamwork, wilderness vision fasts, talking across the species boundaries, council, self-designed ceremony, nature-based shadow work, and the arts of romance, storytelling, and soul-infused poetry.”


The Barbaric Heart – Faith, Money, and the Crisis of Nature, by Curtis White, PoliPoint Press, 2009 – “argues that the present environmental crisis will not be resolved by the same forms of crony capitalism and managerial technocracy that created the crisis in the first place. With his trademark wit, White argues that the solution might very well come from an unexpected quarter: the arts, religion, and the realm of the moral imagination.”


Apocalyptic Planet – Field Guide to the Future of the Earth, by Craig Childs, Vintage Books, 2013 – “I’m not willing – or even able – to wait the 6 to 10 million years it would take to return to current levels of biodiversity. That’s how long global mass extinctions have taken to recover in the past. Key indicators point to us being in such an extinction right now. So, you have to ask, what comes next?


Terrapsychology – Reengaging the Soul of Place, by Craig Chalquist, Spring Journal Inc. 2007 – “Why do some places restore us while others deplete us? Why do certain figures out of folklore and myth haunt specific locales? Do borders around a nation parallel borders around the heart? Do wastelands and depleted landscapes delineate gaps in the collective imagination? Why have so many indigenous cultures insisted on the world’s aliveness? And if the world is alive, how does it let us know? To explore such questions, Craig Chalquist calls for a new perspective of deep encounter, “terrapsychology,” which shows us how to listen into recurring symbolic resonances between the “inner” person and the presence, voice, or “soul” of places and things which embody the animation of the world. In this perspective the health of the places where we live corresponds closely to the pockets of health inside and between us. Terrapsychology strives to counter the ancient war on nature one heartfelt dialog at a time.”


When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – the Defining Crisis of the Twenty-First Century, by Fred Pearce, Beacon Press, 2006 – “In this groundbreaking book, veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce travels to more than thirty countries to examine the current state of crucial water sources. Deftly weaving together the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the world water crisis, he provides our most complete portrait yet of this growing danger and its ramifications for us all.