We’re not the first species to mess up its habitat. In fact, nearly every successful species has, at some time in its history, exceeded the carrying capacity of its habitat and screwed things up for itself and its neighbor species. Then something triggered a cataclysmic die-off and things returned to a better equilibrium. Nature steps in and fixes things. It’s messy and painful, but effective.
We are, on the other hand, the first living species to examine it’s own impact and to take the first steps toward managing that impact. We want to avoid the options nature presents: starvation, epidemic disease etc. We’re the only species in the universe that has even considered solving this puzzle.
William Faulkner defined his spirituality – and everyone’s spirituality – as the “individual code of behavior by means of which we make ourselves better human beings than our nature wants to be, if we followed our nature only.” He said everyone has this sense of spirituality. It’s the aspiration to reach toward an ideal.
By Faulkner’s definition, people interested in protecting the environment and improving our standards of social justice are part of a spiritual revolution. And like every spiritual revolution in recorded history, this one has gestated largely without the notice of society’s established institutions.