Environmental scientist and writer Haydn Washington argues that we will not solve the environmental crisis unless we change our worldview and ethics, and to do so we must rejuvenate our sense of wonder at nature.
This book focuses on humanity's relation with nature, and the sense of wonder and belonging common to indigenous cultures and children everywhere. Drawing on events in the author's own four decades working to protect wild places, and the current literature on wonder, it examines what a sense of wonder is, what it has been called in different cultures, and our high points of wonder at nature. It also looks at the 'Great Divide' in worldview between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism, and considers the problem of anthropocentric theory in academia, arguing that the focus should instead be on harmony with nature. The book concludes with an examination of why wonder has become buried in Western society and considers ways in which it can be revived, including rituals and education. It also considers how wonder helps humanity to become 'whole'. The final chapter presents the road back to wonder and how wonder towards nature can be restored in Western society.
This book will be of great interest to environmental scientists, conservation biologists, environmental philosophers and ecological ethicists, as well as environmentalists, educators, eco-psychologists, and students looking at sustainability, deep ecology, and environmental philosophy and ethics.
Haydn Washington (University of New South Wales Australia)
Country of Publication:
01 August 2018
Professional and scholarly
A / AS level
Foreword Introduction - a sense of wonder 1. Wonder over the Ages 2. Do we all wonder? 3. Illuminating moments 4. The great ethical divide - anthropocentrism vs ecocentrism 5. Harmony - not `theory' 6. Gaia and the sense of wonder 7. The wonder of wilderness 8. Problems which bury wonder 9. The Ritual of Finding Wonder 10. Education for wonder 11. Wonder - helping humanity become whole 12. The road back to wonder End poem: `Not for me'
Haydn Washington is an environmental scientist and writer of over 40 years' experience. He is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at the Pangea Research Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Australia. He is the author of six books on environmental issues, including Human Dependence on Nature (2013), and Demystifying Sustainability (2015).
Reviews for A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature: Healing the Planet through Belonging
Haydn Washington cuts through the waffle and dogma of academia to focus on something critical - humanity's sense of wonder towards nature. He rightly argues wonder is something transformative that can cut through society's deep anthropocentrism. I recommend this book to all who feel a mystery to life, to all who love the land. - John Seed, deep ecologist, lead author of Thinking Like a Mountain A Sense of Wonder Towards Nature is exactly what's largely absent among those discussing the most important issue for humanity - how to sustain the ecosystems that support civilization. This book is a brave, readable, necessary, and powerful attempt to include it. - Paul R. Ehrlich, co-author of Jaws: The Story of a Hidden Epidemic