Living in the Planet Earth

Faith Communities & EcologyEdited by Neil Darragh


This book reflects on the actions taken by faith communities to address ecological issues facing our planet earth.




Faith communities and ecology. The Earth is our home. Yet it is only within the last few decades that human beings have begun to take notice of how our own attitudes are driving the destruction of our common habitat.

Attention to ecological issues calls for action at all levels of society from individuals through to international institutions. This includes faith communities, that is, communities of people who have a common bond in an existing religious tradition. This book reflects on the actions taken by faith communities to address ecological issues facing our planet Earth.

Twenty-nine writers from various faith traditions have contributed chapters to this book. They tell the stories of communities who have called on their spiritual and religious traditions to keep their vision of living in the Earth strong and focused. These are also communities who have come to know their own limitations, have learnt from their own mistakes, and see the need for continuing education.

Many readers with a sense for the planet Earth as our home will find their own beliefs, actions, and struggles paralleled in the stories told here.  This book will inspire and encourage other faith communities to commit their energy and resources to deal with current ecological issues as a central part of their common action.


Part One: Introduction
1. Prologue
2. What have faith communities to do with ecology? – Neil Darragh

Part Two: Biblical Sources
3. Water and wisdom: biblical wisdom literature – Alice M Sinnott
4. Whakawhanaungatanga/making right relationship: rediscovering the inherited
tradition of Jesus – Kathleen Rushton
5. The apostolic green imperative – Mark Keown
6. Dirt matters: A biblical exploration of soil and human alienation – Elizabeth Julian
7. Living in the planet Earth with the Gospel in hand – Elaine Wainwright

Part Three: Other Religious Sources
8. Tapu, mana, mauri, hau, wairua: A Māori Christian philosophy of vitalism and
cosmos – Manuka Henare
9. Muhammad meets Maui: Towards a Kiwi Muslim ecology – Zain Ali
10. Water is the primordial being – Verpal Singh
11. An Aotearoa New Zealand Quaker story – Robert Howell
12. Recent papal documents on ecology: From dominion over the Earth to care for our
common home – Ann M C Nolan
13: Parables from nature – Joy Cowley

Part Four: Conservation and Restoration
14. Being grounded, taking flight: Reflections on petrels and pneumatology – Andrew
15. The organic farm movement – Jim Kebbell
16. Learning to repair, heal, restore and protect a forest – Catherine Gibbs
17. Transforming minds and lives to act for creation: The Presentations’ enduring
presence on holy ground – Mary-Ann Greaney

Part Five: Creating Ecological Awareness
18. Care for the Earth: Case notes on a crisis: theological reflections on extinction,
healing and environmental work – Nicola Hoggard-Creegan
19. Sowing seeds – growing words: Caring for the Earth through a Catholic school –
Martin de Jong
20. Growing community around a garden: A reflection on the Mercy Work of
Papatuanuku ki Taurangi Earth Promise – Bridget Crisp
21. A new liturgical season: Celebrating Creation – Trish McBride
22. Korimako Dominican Ecology Centre: A venture in Southland – Margaret Butler
23. Encouraging spiritualities for ecological conversion: Spiritual direction and the
Earth – Mary Betz
24. How communities’ environmental involvement is supported through prayer and
gardening – Patrick Doherty

Part Six: Ecological Journeys
25. Rethinking connection: The story of St Mary’s Parish Environmental Care Group
– Mary Thorne
26. Sustaining a post-parish community through coastal pilgrimage – Robin Kearns
27. Ecological stories from St Pauls, Symonds Street – Philip and Angelika Halstead
28. A Lenten pilgrimage – Walk for the Planet – Mark Gibson
29. Nibbling at the edges and calling for change – Diana Atkinson
30. Greening my faith community: 65 years’ witness to God’s presence in all of
nature including my own handful of cow muck – Frank Hoffmann


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