Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Cultivating Diversity, Honoring the Earth

Chelsea Green’s mission statement begins by stating that, “Our purpose is: To stop the destruction of the natural world by challenging the beliefs and practices that are enabling this destruction and by providing inspirational and practical alternatives that promote sustainable living.” Three books published in the last year by Chelsea Green have special significance for me, as they speak to the heart of our mission statement and the themes of Deep Ecology, Deep Spirituality and what can happen to a nation (and the world) when we dishonor diversity and the sacredness of the Earth. These books are Naomi Wolf’s New York Times bestselling title The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot, the Foundation for Deep Ecology’s Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation, and John Lamb Lash’s paradigm shattering Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology and the Future of Belief. The End of America is the ultimate wake-up call to a nation that is currently being governed and driven by fear and greed. Naomi has identified the negative results of an America that has given itself over to fear of the other, and bases its foreign policy on the desire to control the world’s natural resources and the internal politics of other countries. Ideologies that give birth to the Project for the New American Century and concepts such as Full Spectrum Dominance result in the de-valuation of human life and liberties, to say nothing of the total disregard of the Earth as a living being. America has huge opportunities to lead the world in the practices of sustainable living (can anyone say Department of Renewable Energy?); whether we decide to rise to the occasion will go a long way in determining if our future is that of a creative democratic republic, or a closed-down empire of consumers. It is our job as American patriots to act on Naomi’s insights into what is happening to our country, while we still have a functioning democracy worth saving. The recent publication of the Foundation for Deep Ecology’s Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation illustrates a mindset that sees nature as a commodity, with man at the top of the food chain and the Earth as an object to be subdued and exploited. A chapter at the heart of this book, by David Orton is titled “Off-Road Vehicles and Deep Ecology: Cultural Clash and Alienation from the Natural World,” and editor George Wuerthner’s “Critique of Thrillcraft as Part of the Larger Consumer Culture” ends with this insight, “Addressing these issues will not be easy, as it is likely that the popularity of thrillcraft is just a symptom of a larger societal ill, spawned by the inherent structural violence that is part of consumerism and capitalism.” John Lamb Lash’s Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology and the Future of Belief is one of those rare books that challenges readers to examine assumed beliefs concerning the nature of the world, the influence of religious tradition, and how our religious and cultural “stories” might be the root causes of our current discontent. In both the West and the East we are inheritors of monotheistic traditions ruled by off-planet deities demanding adherence to the “one true faith.” These male-dominated traditions preach intolerance and view the Earth as a fallen world, ultimately to be exited and transcended by the chosen faithful. The effects of such worldviews lead to the clash of cultures and religions that we are currently living with today, and we see the symptoms of this “dis-ease” illustrated in books such as The End of America and Thrillcraft. Not in His Image brings forth a rich and compelling creation myth and “story of the universe” that requires our participation in the unfolding and realization of the Earth’s divinity. Lash has written a tour-de-force that resonates with many people seeking to reclaim their relationship with the spirit of the Earth, a book that asks us to examine our fundamental relationships with each other and the universe. Chelsea Green’s mission statement ends with the words, “We seek to build a community of new voices that will empower and inspire individuals to reduce their ecological impact and to participate in the restoration of healthy local communities, bioregional ecosystems, and a diversity of cultures.” The world is finally catching up (none to soon) to the vision of Chelsea Green’s founders—our world has reached a tipping point, a critical mass of boiling confusion that requires each of us to examine how we arrived at this point and how we best go forward. I’m thankful that we have resources such as the above books (and other amazing titles from sustainable publishers such as Chelsea Green) to help us ask questions, make wise decisions, cultivate community and diversity, and honor the Earth. In short, to practice “the cultural resistance that living demands of us now.”


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More..

Author David Stroh: First Steps to Becoming a Systems Thinker

Systems thinking is often seen as something relegated to scientific and business analysis – economics, resource depletion, and climate. However, Systems Thinking for Social Change focuses on how to use systems thinking to make breakthrough progress on intransigent social problems. We asked author David Stroh how this approach can make an impact, and how readers […] Read More..

Use Systems Thinking to Make Lasting Social Change

What can be done when our best intentions create unintended problems—such as temporary shelters increasing homelessness or food aid accelerating starvation?After decades of helping change-makers in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors address tough social problems, systems-thinking expert David Stroh shares the pioneering framework that both demystifies systems thinking and shows how it can lead […] Read More..

Let’s Make Bernie Sanders a Bestseller!

As the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders continues to climb in the polls, crushing online fundraising records and frustrating party insiders and pundits along the way, we’re looking to put Bernie’s message on bestseller lists everywhere in time for the national debates this fall!With the second Democratic debate to be held on November 14th in Des Moines, it’s […] Read More..
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