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Mindfully Green

Spirituality & Health Magazine
reviewed by Kristine Morris

A Personal and Spiritual Guide to Whole Earth Thinking
By Stephanie Kaza
Shambhala, $14.00

“Living green” can be a powerful spiritual practice, an approach that offers a way to integrate living mindfully in the world while becoming active on behalf of the planet. The practice involves deep, reflective thought and the principle of harmlessness, coupled with an ecologically sound lifestyle. Stephanie Kaza shoes how “green practitioners” are “bringing their best ethical and spiritual attention to environmental concerns and trying to match their actions to their moral principles.” With the planet calling out for an end to the damage being done to it, and economies calling out for an end to excess and greed, the time is ripe for a new approach. Recognizing the impact that human activity has on all life, green practice means making a conscious effort to reduce the harm we cause; knowing that we cannot totally eliminate it, we develop compassion for Earth and for ourselves.

Green spiritual practice often leads practitioners to join with others who are working for solutions to environmental and social problems. Such uniting around a common cause can lead to learning to handle our own grief, doubt, and anger as we move forward into wholeness. As we develop an awareness of why we need to conserve energy, for example, we are led to “investigate the nature of desire” and to learn restraint and the art of contentment. Eventually, we come to invest in peace and to believe in our hearts that what we do really matters.

Stephanie Kaza is professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont. 

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