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Ecologies of Human Flourishing

Ecologies of Human Flourishing

Edited by Donald K. Swearer and Susan Lloyd McGarry

ISBN 9780945454458

Publication date: 09/06/2011

In this volume, prominent Buddhist scholar Donald Swearer posits that the future requires a radical shift toward living in recognition of the interdependence of all life forms and the consequent ethic of communality and a life style of moderation or “enoughness” that flows from that recognition, which he calls “an ecology of human flourishing.” Swearer has assembled world-class thinkers to explore and imagine several dimensions of an ecology of human flourishing: economic, sociological, religious, ethical, environmental, historical, literary; how notions of human flourishing, quality of life, and common good have been constructed; and, in the contemporary world, how they are illuminated or are challenged by issues of distributive justice, poverty and economic inequality, global health, and environmental sustainability.

With contributors ranging from ecoactivist Bill McKibben and medical anthropologist Arthur Kleinman, to transformative theologian Sallie McFague and Malaysian critic of global injustice Chandra Muzzafar, this book expresses ethical and religious aspirations to remake the world in the midst of the contradictions, injustices, and problems of our daily lives and today's global economic and climate crises.


  • From the Foreword on, this book challenges—from multiple perspectives—the prevailing ‘modern’ paradigm of ecological and social individualism. Individual affluence is not sustainable in a milieu of widening human deprivation and ecological collapse; nor will your well-meaning voluntary individual self-restraint stanch poverty, pollution, and climate change. Only with a visceral collective recognition that we are all embedded absolutely and inextricably in complex, interdependent eco-social networks—accompanied by determined collective action—will there emerge genuine ecologies of human flourishing.

    —J. Baird Callicott, University Distinguished Research Professor, Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies, University of North Texas, and author of Beyond the Land Ethic: More Essays in Environmental Philosophy


  • Donald K. Swearer is Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Harvard Divinity School’s Center for the Study of World Religions and Professor of Religion, Emeritus, at Swarthmore College.
  • Susan Lloyd McGarry is Managing Editor in the Office of Communications at Harvard Divinity School.

Book Details

  • 230 pages
  • 0-1/2 x 5-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches
  • Center for the Study of World Religions