Integral Ecology

Habits of Presence and the Generosity of Creation: Ecology in Light of Integral Human Development

David L. Schindler

Integral human development sets the context within which alone an adequate approach to ecology can be conceived. In what follows, I will focus on the key principles of this proposal in terms of the habits of presence demanded by the generosity inherent in creation.

The term ecology, as is well-known, comes from the Greek oikos, meaning household, a term which continues to provide a key, by way of analogy, to any adequate reading of ecology. Ecology is defined as the science concerned with the interrelationship, or total patterns of relations, between organisms and their environment. My task is to consider the root meaning of a true ecology, one in which organisms—both human and nonhuman living beings, and indeed all cosmological entities—exist with integrity, in themselves and in relation to others and ultimately to God. Following two preliminary remarks introducing the key ideas in the first section, I will lay out in the second section the fundamental principles necessary for a right understanding of ecology, before concluding with an analysis of the roots of the problems facing our culture today.