Sacred Ecology

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Sacred Ecology

  • How do we humans fit into the larger scheme of life on earth?
  • How can we balance the needs of other creatures, with our needs as humans?
  • Is our notion of “self” merely a metaphor around which we construct our defenses?

This program was supported by:

SACRED ECOLOGY explores the natural world as an access point to the sacred, and poses some urgent philosophical and existential questions, including: How do we see “ourselves” amongst the wider family of earth’s inhabitants? Do our most serious environmental problems perhaps stem from our very concept, or understanding of “self”? Our word “ecology” stems from the Greek “oikos,” or home. Yet, given our human responsibility for the number of animal species that are declining at alarming rates we must ask if our human notions of “ecology” or of “the sacred” are actually blind to nature’s fundamental laws and truths?

To address these and other questions, SACRED ECOLOGY presents two extraordinary human beings from different religious traditions: eco-philosopher Joanna Macy PhD, a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology meets for the first time, Dr. Michael Tobias, a global ecologist, anthropologist, historian, author and practicing Jain. Join them, along with our host Phil Cousineau for a unique, far-reaching and timely conversation.

Where to Watch on PBS

Program Guests

Joanna Macy Ph.D.

Joanna Macy Ph.D.

Joanna Macy Ph.D. is an eco-philosopher and scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in the movements for peace, justice, and ecology, Joanna interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activism. As the root teacher of the Work That Reconnects, she has created a groundbreaking theoretical framework for personal and social change, as well as a powerful workshop methodology for its application. Her wide-ranging work addresses psychological and spiritual issues of the nuclear age, the cultivation of ecological awareness, and the fruitful resonance between Buddhist thought and contemporary science.

Dr. Michael Tobias

Dr. Michael Tobias

Dr. Michael Tobias is a global ecologist, anthropologist, historian, author and filmmaker and president of the Dancing Star Foundation. Tobias is also a practicing Jain whose field research has taken him to some 80 countries where he has specialized in an interdisciplinary approach to environmental history, animal rights, scientific, ethical and philosophical frameworks for policy research, strategies and documentation, demographic analysis, ecological anthropology, biodiversity conservation, and non-violence activism. Tobias is the author of more than 45 books. He has written, directed, produced, executive produced or co-executive produced over 100 films – TV series, documentaries and dramas, most pertaining to environmental, cultural, social or scientific issues.

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