Our Vision and Mission
Although many millions of species inhabit the earth, only humans have the capacity to study and discover the hidden processes that animate nature. Such self-conscious intelligence is a gift of creation, containing within it the power to wisely realize all the beauty and bounty the natural world has to offer. Misused, it is equally potent, allowing us the ability to cause discord, suffering and death throughout the entire natural world on an unimaginable scale.
From earliest times humans have celebrated the capacity to work creatively in harmony with nature as an expression of divine energy. Both the light and shadow sides of the human mind were accepted as part of the polarity that characterizes all that exists. One purpose of human life is to discover the difference between working with or against nature, so that we can freely choose to do the former. But choosing the latter is also a power that nature has evolved within the human realm. This reflects the sacred truth that the coexistence of freedom and necessity, choice and inevitability, is part of the deep structure of the universe.
All that nature has evolved is completely connected and interdependent. This rich and varied tapestry of co-existence is what we mean by ecology. The carefully considered and peaceful practice of this principle in daily life is what we mean by nonviolence.
To encourage the development of the power to discern between action that is harmonious and that which is discordant with the natural world, it is essential that people continually create and practice customs, traditions and rituals that affirm their inextricable connection with, and their inescapable responsibility for, the flourishing of all life forms. Such expression of this sense of wonder at the mystery and sanctity of nature is what we call reverential.
Life forms are not interconnected in space alone. They are also interdependent in time. The principle of creating and nurturing new forms in nature makes the reciprocity between older and younger a key element in the harmonious turning of the universal “wheel of life.” Respect for, and recognition of this principle is what we mean by intergenerational.
To ensure that our understanding of ecology remains both reverential and intergenerational, it is envisioned that a series of gatherings throughout the world should regularly take place in order to bring together representatives of many cultures, races and ages to discuss and explore the most significant ideas that advance our evolving awareness of the interdependence of life.
To recognize the responsibility of humanity to protect and revere our planetary order, these meetings should be held in settings that themselves represent the harmony of nature and humanity, and regular celebrations of human indebtedness to the natural world should be integrated into all programs and courses of study. The convening and supporting of meetings devoted to such holistic inquiry is the mission and work of the Institute of Reverential Ecology.
Beginning in May, 2003, the Institute will be organizing symposia in the Santa Barbara, California area. The programs will be designed to explore a wide range of areas affected by globalization, including ethics and spirituality; ecology and the environment; nonviolent politics and militarization; social change; and economics and development
For more information, please contact our co-ordinator,
Dame Anita Roddick
Satish Kumar, Editor, Resurgence Magazine, England
Barbara Whyman, MD, PhD
Maurice Bisheff, PhD
Philip Grant, IRE Executive Coordinator
Don George, Executive Director, Walter H. Capps Foundation
Dennis Rivers, MA, Turn Toward Life Community