September 2, 2009

Book review: Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World (Sean Esbjorn-Hargens and Michael E. Zimmerman)

Integral Ecology is a rather hefty tome (700+ pages) that presents and advocates for a more holistic and integrated view of ecological study and policy making.  Combining the points of view of the natural world infrastructure as well as human-based systems, this approach attempts to balance out the needs of all interested stakeholders in any ecological decision making as a means to lessen the negative impact while increasing the benefit to all involved.  Drawing from the Integal Theory and AQAL model proposed by Ken Wilber, the authors dispute the typical hegemonical approach to ecology while acknowledging that in any conversation, the participants will always bring a certain level of subjectivity, regardless of how objective the data and participants in it might try to be.  Integral Ecology includes a chapter of Integral Theory for readers that might not be familiar with Wilber’s work and how it fits into ecological study.  There is also a chapter presenting four case studies illustrating the point.  From Integral Books and available from your local, independent bookseller.  (Shop local, shop independent, and tell ’em you saw it on Elephant Journal!)

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