Integral Ecologies: A New Book

Integral Ecologies: A New Book


By Sam Mickey


Whether talking with someone about Integral Ecology, navigating the website of the Integral Ecology Center, reading publications on Integral Ecology, or doing your own research on the subject, one quickly recognizes that engagements with Integral Ecology are committed to honoring plurality.  Integral Ecology coordinates a vast multiplicity of perspectives on the natural world, including perspectives of plants and animals as well as the perspectives of humans and the perspectives of the theorists and practitioners of over 200 approaches to ecology.  Integral Ecology even honors its own plurality.  As Sean Esbjörn-Hargens and Michael Zimmerman say in Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World [2009], an Integral approach to ecology “need not be contained within any single framework” (p. 540).  Indeed, “it is exciting to see a variety of integral ecologies emerging” (p. 667).


In the spirit of honoring the plurality of integral ecologies, I am happy to announce a new book project, Integral Ecologies: Natures, Cultures, Knowledges, and Our Planetary Future.  The plethora of plural nouns in the title indicates our commitment to honoring plurality.  The book is a collection of essays, and it is being edited by me (Sam Mickey), Adam Robbert, and Sean Kelly.  We are currently in the process of submitting a proposal to include it within the SUNY Press Series on Integral Theory.  The essays come from leading and emerging scholars of integral ecologies, including Esbjörn-Hargens and Zimmerman, Mark Hathaway (who articulates his vision of integral ecology with Leonardo Boff in The Tao of Liberation [2009]), and some of the faculty and students of the Integral Ecology track in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness graduate program at the California Institute of Integral Studies.


The aim of the book is to celebrate the plurality of integral ecologies by exploring the rich history and promising future of integral approaches to ecology.  Some essays are oriented toward the founding figures and precursors of integral ecologies, e.g., the Integral theorist Ken Wilber, the cultural historian and “geologian” Thomas Berry, the liberation theologian Leonardo Boff, the forester and conservationist Aldo Leopold, the environmental philosopher Holmes Rolston III, the complexity theorist Edgar Morin, and others. 


Whereas those essays draw attention to the diverse theorists who began articulating integral approaches to ecology, other essays present multiple models of integral ecology, including the AQAL model as well as others that function as complements and/or alternatives to the AQAL model.  Those various models draw on a wide range of disciplines and theoretical positions, including those of participatory epistemology, the enactive paradigm, actor-network theory, complexity theory, object-oriented philosophy, religion and ecology, ecofeminism, environmental ethics, media studies, dialectical biology, and more. 


Along with the aforementioned sections on founding figures and multiples models of integral ecologies, the book also presents essays that apply integral ecologies to living cosmologies, which is to say, they apply integral ecologies to the dynamic worldviews with which people live their lives.  These essays address the challenging tasks of understanding the place of worldviews in ecology and sustainability, transforming worldviews through education, and effectively communicating to people across worldview differences.


Founding figures, multiple models, and living cosmologies thus comprise the three sections of the book.  We will also include a comprehensive introduction that will provide an overview of the historical and theoretical contexts that situate the emergence of integral ecologies.  The book is shaping up to be an accessible introduction for anyone interested in integral ecology, an advanced supplement to the growing research devoted to ecological issues and integral theories, and a hospitable guide that provides a variety of options for enacting an integral future and nurturing a better tomorrow for all members of our planetary community.