Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future

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In this innovative and deeply felt work, Bron Taylor examines the evolution of green religions” in North America and beyond: spiritual practices that hold nature as sacred and have in many cases replaced traditional religions. Tracing a wide range of groupsradical environmental activists, lifestyle-focused bioregionalists, surfers, new-agers involved in ecopsychology,” and groups that hold scientific narratives as sacredTaylor addresses a central theoretical question: How can environmentally oriented, spiritually motivated individuals and movements be understood as religious when many of them reject religious and supernatural worldviews? The dark” of the title further expands this idea by emphasizing the depth of believers' passion and also suggesting a potential shadow side: besides uplifting and inspiring, such religion might mislead, deceive, or in some cases precipitate violence. This book provides a fascinating global tour of the green religious phenomenon, enabling readers to evaluate its worldwide emergence and to assess its role in a critically important religious revolution.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (October 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520261003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520261006
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds

Customer Reviews

Taylor has created a new and necessary language

28 people found this helpful.
 on April 17, 2010
By Ryan Croken
This is truly a remarkable work that has connected many isolated dots that have long belonged together. At first glance, Edmund Burke, radical “eco-terrorists,” the Little Mermaid, surfers, Alice Walker, Spinoza and Al Gore might seem to have little in common, but Taylor brings these and many other influential persons, places and things together into a loose but convicted community of phenomena that all share a common belief: the notion that nature has intrinsic value and is worthy of reverent care. “Dark green religion” may be a new phrase, but Taylor shows that it is an ancient force that has been rumbling in the depths of human consciousness for centuries. Now, in 2010, in the context of our growing incredulity regarding revealed religions and our increasing anxieties over the ecological crisis that confronts us, the elements that comprise dark green religion just might be poised to make their way to the forefront.

The best guide to a serious movement against industrial civilization

2 people found this helpful.
 on February 6, 2013
By Ron Arnold
In Dark Green Religion, Bron Taylor has given us a well-conceived, highly detailed, and profoundly grounded portrait of a global movement to save nature. No other writer comes within light years of Taylor’s personal experience with the environmental movement’s most radical elements or can claim a more even-handed analysis of the spiritual meaning of the still-evolving movement now struggling to find salvation for our planet in religious terms. His long career as a university professor of religion tempers what could easily have become an insignificant rant but emerges as a deeply felt and vivid exploration of the “nature spirituality” in the book’s subtitle.

Dark Green Religions

6 people found this helpful.
 on March 12, 2011
By Ms. A. Ormsby
I am so glad Dr. Taylor wrote this book and firmly named the concept of “Dark Green Religion.” I’m glad he defined and delimited its boundaries, but left passageways to other green spiritualities – notably gardening and birdwatching, two of the closest ways, I think, a person can get to ‘nature’; and above all, I am glad he gave our vague feelings of ‘caring more for the earth than being traditionally religious’ a name, a heritage, an academic rigor with a vast bibliography, and a path to the future, cleared of dead ends, such as New Age spirituality (which was no longer working for me) consisting only of altars, candles, incense and chants, lovely though they are. The other dead end I am glad he especially clouted was ‘greening Christianity’. The more I study Christianity, especially the virulent fundamentalist evangelism so prevalent today and so opposed to environmentalism, the more I know Christianity is an opponent, not something to ‘make nice with’. Dr. Taylor gives us a coherent foundational history, which I had only known as scattered actions, such as tree sitting escapades, and towering personages, such as John Muir, so lofty and inspired as to be intimidating, but now I know him and the other pioneers as family. I am more firmly on the “Dark Green Path”, and am henceforth fiercely inspired and spiritually armed to help fight environmentalism’s battles for the rest of my life.

Great book for a more inclusive readership!

2 people found this helpful.
 on February 28, 2013
By B. Smedley
Expected a dry scholarly book but was nicely surprised at its accessibility. It covers the godfathers of environmentalism and present day environmentalists. It covers spiritual ecology that includes surfing, Walt Disney, and Discovery Channel documentaries, to name a few. This book is a joy to read. The only thing that is a little bothersome is Bron Taylor’s repetitive use of his term Dark Green Religion, which can be found multiple times in the same sentence. I can understand him wanting to tie the term and title of the book to the thought on the page, but it is used so many times that it becomes distracting. However, this nit-picking is no reason whatsoever to not read this book, obviously. Every tale and point the author relays or makes is valid, important, and timely. His new book coming out later in 2013 will be a must buy for me.

Five Stars

 on August 14, 2017
By Obong
a book which I want to read

Caring seriously about nature in western thought

3 people found this helpful.
 on July 19, 2010
By E. N. Anderson
This is a wonderful, deeply inspiring book. It covers the western world’s most pro-environment and pro-nature thinking, some of which is explicitly religious, some more spiritual and reverent without being overtly religious. It is a great counter to the idea that “the west” has always been hostile to nature.

Highly Recommended

3 people found this helpful.
 on October 28, 2012
By Renee Eli
In this compelling synthesis of contemporary nature spirituality, Bron Taylor’s Dark Green Religion offers important considerations regarding the human propensity to find meaning in the natural world, while at the same time, underscoring its importance. Taylor’s examination of the emergence of dark green religion is constructed upon differentiation of four main types or expressions of nature spirituality, the boundaries between which are permeable and perpetually changing. Here, Taylor provides examples of forebears whose writing and environmental activism have influenced the emergence and spread of dark green religion – a conflation of ideas and feelings that bind people who experience a sense of belonging and kinship with the natural world. Prefacing the book with a statement concerning dark green religion as being rather apparitional in that there is no institution that promotes it, no sacred text devotees may live by and no individuals responsible for its ministrations, Taylor provides persuasive evidence that such religion takes root for many, nonetheless. His treatment of surfing as nature spirituality is scintillating. His suggestion of an earth nationalism is well considered. And his balanced look at the dark potentials of a dark green religion is important. The book is brilliantly researched. And while it is a scholarly work, it is likewise intended for a general readership, which makes it accessible for all levels of interest. It is a must read for anyone who finds kinship in the natural world or is concerned about human impact on the planet.

Finally! A detailed overview of Green Religion so far!

2 people found this helpful.
 on May 2, 2011
By Dragon of the Rose
I am seriously interested in learning more about and participating in co-creating a universal green religion. Listened to one of Willi Paul’s permaculture videos (see YouTube if you’re interested) and learned about this book. Am VERY glad I did. Granted, it is written in an academic’s style–wanting to categorize the specific style of green religion in every description of what the author has found–but it’s the broadest overview of green religion I’ve found to date. He goes to great pains to be objective. I’ve highlighted so much of it that the UNhighlighted areas may be standing out more! Am going onto my second read right now. A really great education about what’s been happening ’round the world up ’til 2010. I hope the author creates his blog on his website soon so that all interested can contact one another and brainstorm. Thanks for this vital book.

Community Which Transcends Time

6 people found this helpful.
 on April 12, 2010
By Caroline S. Fairless
What a gift, Bron Taylor’s Dark Green Religion! What he has done is to draw together threads of environmental thinking, writing and activism over the past two hundred and fifty years or so, and stitched them into a pattern of meaning and cohesiveness.

For academics and activists alike!

3 people found this helpful.
 on April 11, 2010
By Peter Glickenhaus
DGR brings various strands together under the auspices of “Dark Green Religion” and is very helpful–not only as a dusty academic heuristic device, a new taxonomy of religion; but as the initial tracings of a movement that, as readers, we may wish to identify with and participate in. It’s exactly the sort of scholarship that I wish to do, the kind that is methodologically reflexive and yet has enough bite to really catch on in people’s minds and hearts.

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