In contrast to most traditional religious belief systems, green spirituality is based on individual - and often unexpected – experiences rather than sacred texts. Green spirituality can be found in many native cultures and traditions. The Green Spirit community has no fixed belief system or fixed rituals. As far as we are concerned, there is no ONE TRUTH but rather an infinite diversity of spiritual experiences all around the planet.
It might even be considered strange or esoteric to have intense feelings for nature. Spiritual experience has a hard time being heard in this rational world. There are many traditional types of religion though, and they have large quantities of followers. Millions of adherents make them important within cultural, public, political and economic contexts and their opinions are often taken into account during decision-making processes, especially concerning ethical issues.
They are very diverse and extend from the traditions of the Aborigines, Inuit, Hopi or San to the quiet, mostly unheeded experiences of countless individuals who simply call themselves nature lovers and assemble in ramblers’ associations or photo communities.
Green Spirit people are found in the culture of 'Mother Ocean' in surfer communities and in the modern shamanism and neo-paganism movements. All those who have made spiritual contact with nature and deduce certain ethical values from this experience have had a lack of common means to recognize each other until today. They have had no strong and recognizable voice to make their ethical values count within the chorus of other lobbyists.
If the touch of the Unexplainable stays ‘underground’ and unacknowledged, then our desperation stays secret, too. We hardly dare speak about it.
From members of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to Nobel peace prize winner Wangari Maahtai; from film director James Cameron (Avatar) to Al Gore; from the 13 Grandmothers to music bands like Omnia; from journalists like George Monbiot to scientists like Jane Goodall.
Science and legal studies are rather dry and colourless topics when it comes to people's enthusiasm. Almost all conservationists are actually committed for emotional reasons, but would rarely admit this. If scientific or legal reasons are put forward for purposes of nature conservation, decision-makers are legally obliged to take them into account to a certain extent. Therefore, these reasons are at the top of the list of reasons given by members of organisations such as Greenpeace, WWF or Friends of the Earth. Nevertheless, purely conservational positions are almost always weak in contrast to “IMPORTANT USES” like trade, industry, agriculture, road construction or housing development. The solely conservational approach of these advocates of nature is often shoved aside by the needs of investors and other ‘important’ users/ab-users of nature, the need to make money.
The idea that many people might want to ‘use’ a patch of nature for spiritual purposes has rarely been put forward so far. “Undeveloped” areas of land are often considered useless unless exploited in the name of some economic imperative. But we feel they should be put aside and protected specifically as places where one can encounter the Unexplainable.
They should be protected as places where one can encounter The Unexplainable. Places where people can practice their emotional connection to nature, their natural spirituality. The right of people to have access to wild places in order to practice their nature religion should be protected as a human right – a right just as important as other people’s right to practice their type of religion. The conservation of nature and wild places is important to us for spiritual reasons. Nature is our religion.
Green Spirit principles are already promulgated by spokespeople all around the globe. But our fragmentation dissipates our power. The great Native American leader Peacemaker of the Haudenosaunee once used the metaphor of one arrow that is easily broken but a whole bundle of arrows is strong and unbreakable. The green-spirited people must unite to become a strong voice for the protection of this planet, for the protection of nature.