Can the Cultural Re-Enchantment of Nature Help Stop Environmental Destruction?


J. William Gibson



o those who love the Southern California landscape, the relentless push of urban and suburban development here feels like an exile from Eden. There's a depressing feeling of constriction, of not being able to move, see, or breathe. Not far from where we stand here today in Long Beach, bulldozers are poised to push their way through the few remaining open green spaces left in our region. To the north, the last large wetlands in Los Angeles County--the 1100 acre Ballona Wetlands near Marina del Rey--is slated to become Playa Vista, home to 29,000 residents, another 20,000 office workers, and site of 200,000 car trips per day.1 Neighboring areas of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica are already grid-locked with traffic and suffering from massive air and water pollution; Santa Monica's water wells recently became poisoned by leaking gasoline storage tanks. To the south, the hills above that beautiful coastline between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach are being filled with upscale housing, while Bolsa Chica--a major wetland and adjoining upland mesa near Huntington Beach--is also threatened with housing development. In short, we are ruining the land that made Southern California so attractive people wanted to move here.

We all ask ourselves "why?" Why did the developers have to take everything? Why did all of Southern California, (and to one degree or another, most of Europe and the United States), become so densely developed, with so little open space left over for people to breathe, walk, and have some minimal contact with nature? And as soon as we ask these questions, we all know the answer: the developers want to make money; that's what capitalism is all about.

I have no quarrel with this explanation; its truth has been verified beyond doubt. But to deepen our understanding of capitalism, to understand how capitalism works, not just as a system of political economy, but as a way of life that becomes "common sense" to people and seems just, then questions must also be asked about how culture influences the processes of economic development. Because if we come to understand the culture that helps foster the kind of unbridled growth we have seen here in Southern California, then conversely, we can imagine what cultural practices might serve as barriers to development and aids to ecological restoration.

I am not the first sociologist to approach this topic. To the contrary, sociology as an academic discipline has its origins in the effort to trace and understand the transitions between feudal and capitalist societies. The German sociologist Max Weber devoted much of his career to the study of the relationships between a society's culture and its economic structure. Weber was trying to answer the question, what were the cultural conditions that fostered the emergence of capitalism?

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism has become the most well-known part of Weber's explanation. Weber was deeply impressed by the economic implications of Protestantism as it developed in Europe, England, and the United States. Martin Luther contended that man's earthly duty was to work diligently in his "vocation" or "calling;" only sustained, productive work made a man's life acceptable to God.4 Calvin further stressed the importance of work by declaring that success in one's vocation was the definitive sign of an individual's reception of grace and election to the ranks of the saved.5 His doctrine of strict asceticism--the rejection of virtually all forms of play and sensuous pleasures as sinful--reinforced the emphasis on work and economic success.

In the Protestant dominated countries, these religious doctrines became part of the general culture until over time, their religious origins were lost. Instead, Weber says, the "spirit of capitalism" developed into a secular culture in which work and money-making were taken to be the primary virtues, tied together with an "attitude which seeks profit rationally and systematically."6 Benjamin Franklin's numerous aphorisms, such as "time is money," and "honesty is the best policy," exemplify the entrepreneurial moral code necessary for establishing a capitalist economy and society. Hence, the best-known part of Weber's work on the cultural preconditions of capitalist development stresses the formation of a work ethic, a code of conduct in which work and wealth are fundamental values. Within the social sciences and history, Weber's thesis of a work ethic as a cultural precondition to capitalist development has been widely debated. But the work ethic per se is not what interests me today.

Instead, there is, a second, less noticed dimension to Weber's comparative studies on religion and economy--works that included The Religion of China, The Religion of India, Ancient Judaism, and The Sociology of Religion.7 Weber concluded that Protestantism's definition of God as a purely transcendent being who did not dwell in the forest, the desert, the mountains, or the sea, also contributed to what he called the "practical rational conduct" necessary for sustained capitalist development. Since God is a transcendent being, and God only has interest in humans, then there is nothing about the nature of the world or its inhabitants which inhibits society's utilization and transformation of nature.

In contrast, most religions have been polytheistic. In polytheistic religions, the world is animated--animals, plants, places, and natural forces all have their own spirits, with whom humans must establish and sustain some kind of relationship through myths, magic, and rituals. Since many of these spirits are thought to be powerful, important deities, then people must be circumspect in their conduct with them. As Weber notes in the introduction to The Protestant Ethic, "spiritual obstacles" or "magical and religious forces, and the ethical ideas of duty based upon them," can create "serious inner resistance" to "rational economic conduct."8

But with the rise of monotheism--particularly the Protestant version--these spiritual obstacles began to fade away. The world started to became "disenchanted." The 18th century Enlightenment, and the development of empirical sciences, or what Weber called "rational empirical knowledge," also mightily contributed to "the disenchantment of the world and its transformation into a causal mechanism."9 And modern industrial capitalism, with its bureaucracies and legal systems designed to promote "rational economic conduct," promoted disenchantment daily in its relentless quest for economic profit.

Weber saw himself as a man of science, but at the same time, the development of industrial capitalism, bureaucracy and science disturbed him; the conclusion to The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism reads like an indictment:

No one knows who will live in this cage in the future, or whether at the end of this tremendous development entirely new prophets will arise, or there will be a great rebirth of old ideas and ideals, or, if neither, mechanized petrification, embellished with a sort of convulsive self-importance. For of the last stage of this cultural development, it might well be truly said, "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart; this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."10

Over and over again, in virtually all of his scholarly works and his more famous public lectures, Weber bemoaned "the fate of our time, with its characteristic rationalization, intellectualization, and above all, the disenchantment of the world."11 By implication, the industrialized west faced a chronic cultural crisis. What could life mean to people in era when the spirits had been vanquished, the world rendered into an inert place just there for the taking? Personally, Weber found the results of his studies unbearable; he suffered from severe depression, was immobilized and incapable of working for years at a time, and died in 1920 at the relatively young age of 56.



ircia Eliade, a Romanian emigre to the U.S. and religious studies scholar, took up where Weber left off in the study of modernity's disenchantment and concomitant cultural crisis. Eliade's response to the crisis was an effort to explain the nature of religious experience. In his assessment, the change between "the desacralized cosmos" or "completely profane world" of modern times, and the religious or mythical cosmos in which humans had lived for tens of thousands of years, was so great that modern people were in danger of becoming unable to even imagine what life must have felt like to their ancestors.12

To bridge this widening gulf, Eliade creates a phenomenology of religious experience. The two most fundamental types of experience are that of the sacred, and that of the profane, and these two basic ranges of experience are organized and felt as fundamentally different kinds of spaces:

For religious man, space is not homogeneous; he experiences interruptions, breaks in it; some parts of space are qualitatively different from others. "Draw not nigh hither," says the Lord to Moses; "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus, 3, 5). There is, then, a sacred space, and hence a strong, significant space; there are other spaces that are not sacred and so are without structure or consistency, amorphous. Nor is this all. For religious man, this spatial non homogeneity finds expression in the experience of an opposition between space that is sacred--the only real and real-ly existing space--and all other space, the formless expanse surrounding it.

The myths or fundamental narratives that pre-modern societies developed to explain how the world and all its creatures (including human society) came into existence, are tales of how the sacred and profane dimensions of the cosmos originated. Hence, sacred and profane spaces are not "pure" experiences, devoid of human conceptualization. Instead, through repetition of the myths and ritual dramatization of their stories, pre-modern societies formed a dialectic between their cosmogonic myths and people's sense perceptions, creating what Eliade called "an intuitive sense of the sacred" among their inhabitants.15 In intuiting the presence of the sacred, people come in contact with a supernatural reality that is felt to be a realm of power "saturated with being."16 In experiencing the sacred, people are thus connected with the essential life forces. Not surprisingly, pre-modern peoples "tend to live as much as possible in the sacred or in close proximity to consecrated objects."17

To pre-modern societies which came into contact with the modernizing west through conquest and colonial expansion, the resulting disenchantment or desacralization of the world came as a horrible shock. Instead of revering the sacred spaces and their inhabitants, the developing capitalist societies treated the earth as homogeneous, profane resources for economic utilization. To many peoples, such acts constituted sacrilege. For example, note how Chief Smohalla of the Wanapum tribe (a branch of the Sioux Indians) explained his refusal to take up farming and mining, the way of the whites:

You ask me to plow the ground! Shall I take a knife and tear my mother's bosom? Then when I die she will not take me to her bosom to rest. You ask me to dig for stone! Shall I dig under her skin for her bones? Then when I die, I cannot enter her body to be born again. You ask me to cut grass and make hay and sell it, and be rich like white men! But how dare I cut off my mother's hair?

Chief Smohalla obviously did not want to violate Mother Earth, a position common to hunting and gathering tribes. Sacred spaces are doorways to transcendent realities. Eliade concludes that in religious or premodern societies, "Life is not possible without an opening toward the transcendent; in other words, human beings cannot live in chaos. Once contact with the transcendent is lost, existence in the world ceases to be possible."19 The high death rates among indigenous, pre-industrial peoples once their cultures and territories had been colonized by the western powers were only partly due to battles and the spread of new diseases. Like Max Weber, they died from the collapse of cultural meaning and hopelessness created by the disenchantment of the world.

Still, despite the tremendous casualties wrought by the modernization-desacralization process, Eliade did not succumb to Weber's crushing pessimism. Although modern societies had lost their "intuitive sense of the sacred," this does not imply that people lived completely profane existences. Instead of culturally agreed upon sacred territories and creatures, the need for a sense of the sacred had been retained, in truncated form, for personal life:

Yet this experience of profane space still includes values that to some extent recall the nonhomogeneity peculiar to the religious experience of space. There are, for example, privileged places, qualitatively different from all others--a man's birthplace, or the scenes of his first love, or certain places in the first foreign city he visited in his youth. Even for the most frankly nonreligious man, all these places still retain an exceptional, a unique quality; they are the "holy places" of his private universe, as if were in such spots that he had received the revelation of a reality other than that in which he participates through his ordinary life.20

Eliade also contended that the very process of desacralization involved a dialectic: although modernization was indeed the negation of the pre-modern or religious cosmos of traditional societies, that negation inextricably preserved the contours of a sacralized universe. To some, the sacred remains accessible in the form of a private universe. But even to those who no longer had any conscious or intuitive feel for the sacred, notions of cosmic sacrality live on in the "unconscious, whether in his dreams and imaginative life or in the creations that arise out of the unconscious."21

Moreover, given his theory that the contents and structures of the unconscious "are the result of immemorial existential situations, especially of critical situations, and this is why the unconscious has a religious aura," then it follows that a sense of the sacred can possibly be reactualized by myths.22 Myths are a culture's fundamental narratives that show how the world came into existence; through myth narratives people are sensitized to different kinds of realities and the possible transcendence of routine, everyday life.23

In other words, Eliade did not think the desacralization of the world was a final act dispelling all animist myths as completely illusory. To the contrary, disenchantment was only the historical project of the modernizing west--a very recent project that was trying to deconstruct thousands of years of religious ways of understanding and experiencing the world. Desacralization could potentially be reversed.



n looking at Weber's and Eliade's comparative histories and theoretical analyses, three broad conclusions about the relationships among culture, unbridled economic development, and the contemporary environmental crisis can be drawn. First, industrial capitalism required the disenchantment of the world. The state socialist industrialization in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe also required a desacralization of nature. Communist governments and their cultural apparatuses waged an unrelenting war against all forms of spiritualism, arguing instead for a completely materialist outlook. Unsurprisingly, their industrialization program devastated the environment to even a greater degree than the capitalist west.

Second, the contemporary environmental crisis--the severe damages already done to the world's ecosystems and the portending threats of major ecosystem collapses--is intrinsically related to the sense of cultural crisis plaguing the developed west. The disenchantment of the world, part of the west's great modernizing project, helped create a moral vacuum, a pervasive sense that people are alone on this earth, separated from other creatures, separated from the very lands and seas upon which they live, separated from the ancestors who preceded them, and separated from future generations, both human and animal, who will follow. The sense that life has no transcendent meaning, and society no common goals, haunts the modern world.

Third, if the environmental crisis and cultural crisis of the west are intrinsically related, then it follows that the solutions to these twin crises are related, too. Briefly put, if the disenchantment of the world led to the unraveling of the web of life--both its biological and moral fabrics--then the cultural re-enchantment or resacralization of the cosmos is a necessary part of any successful effort to halt further deterioration. The enchanted cosmos was one in which humans, animals, plants and an array of associated spirits were thought to live in the same moral community. This does not imply equality or the absence of conflict, but rather that all were understood to be connected in the web of life; humans did not imagine themselves to be the only sentient creatures whose lives had worth.

Such a moral community or sacralized cosmos had biological consequences. Moral restraint in human relations with nature helped preserve biologically healthy ecosystems.24 Biologically intact ecosystems in turn sustained humans. Many pre-modern peoples understood their ability to hunt and gather other species not just as human privilege and a manifestation of their power over the rest of nature, but as the result of sacrifices made by other species, gifts that sustained the body and rejuvenated the spirit. These gifts of life affirmed that all were members of the same moral community.

Hence, the project of resacralizing nature involves restoring both a sense of biological connections among species and creating an expanded moral community. A culture of ecological enchantment might well gain sufficient momentum to spark a larger cultural and political revitalization as its symbols and feelings of community and common destiny become part of everyday life.

I do not mean to imply that we should become neo-Luddites, and abandon all science and modern technology in a quest to return to a Golden Age somewhere back in the Paleolithic era. Nor do I reject the Enlightenment and its legacy, the culture of critical discourse. Instead, my point is that the combination of a severe planetary ecological crisis, in conjunction with a cultural crisis in the developed west, points to the limits of the Enlightenment as a way of knowing the world and a culture to live by. Re-enchantment is a cultural program necessary for survival. Somehow we must learn to switch codes, to move back and forth readily between science and discursive rationality and the older way of knowing the world, the myths that sensitize us to a living, sacralized cosmos.

Eliade insists that men and women can not simply choose a sacred site, but can only "seek for it and find it by the help of mysterious signs." Let me mention some of the mysterious signs I see--signs of an emerging cultural movement toward the re-enchantment of nature.

Up and down the Pacific Coast, whale and dolphin cults grow each year. Each year the passage of the Gray whale from the Bering Sea to Baja California and back again is celebrated by the news media. Scores of people participate in whale watching. Murals of whales and dolphins cover the walls of virtually every coastal town. Every gift shop in the coastal region carries a wide array of marine mammal sculptures--in pre-modern societies, these works would be considered fetishes of religious significance. In the 1980s a mass movement forced the tuna fishing industry to stop setting their nets on dolphins--decreasing dolphin mortality from an estimated 500,000 a year in the mid-1980s to under 10,000 a year in the early 1990s. In 1994, the movie Free Willy, a story about an Orca whale held captive in an amusement park (and the boy who loved him), generated another mass movement to rehabilitate and hopefully free Keiko, the captive whale starring in the film. Not more than 20 years ago, the Orca was considered one of the primordial marine monsters--the killer whale.

It's easy to criticize the dolphin and whale cults as simply another form of mass entertainment and consumerism. Undoubtedly it's true that many and perhaps most people who go whale-watching or buy the posters and figurines don't become full-fledged environmentalists. But still, it's often through such kitschy films as Free Willy and ecotourist whale-watching tours that people begin to change their perception of the world and its living creatures. People change in response to their own personal experiences, as they interpret and frame those experiences in light of the stories and images of their culture.

There is some evidence that the enchantment people now find with marine mammals spills over into active engagement. In 1994 a joint economic venture between the Mexican government and the Mitsubishi Corporation called ESSA (Exportadora del Sal, S.A.) announced plans to build a massive salt mine near Laguna San Ignacio on the Pacific coast of Baja California. San Ignacio, some 500 miles south of San Diego, is one of the three lagoons used as birthing grounds by Pacific gray whales and the only one left not impacted by economic development. Soon after the ESSA salt mine project was proposed, it encountered massive resistance from both the Mexican and U.S. environmental movements.

Thousands of people have seen the whales along the Pacific coast as they make their annual 12,000 mile migration between the Bering Sea and the Baja lagoons. Stories and images in print media and television about the rejuvenation of the gray whales and their birthing grounds have reached millions. These stories always show touching scenes of mother whales nudging their calves to meet ecotourists. The whales look happy as their bellies are rubbed, while the people glow in what looks like religious ecstasy--a sacred experience.

Mitsubishi had not anticipated such resistance. The corporation conceptualized its project in terms of profits made and jobs created--economic development in a poor, isolated part of Mexico. From this secular, instrumental perspective, who would have thought people touched by a culture of enchantment would see whales as conscious, and sometimes quasi-spiritual entities, and San Ignacio Bay as their sacred site? Who would have thought that people could be mobilized to resist "rational economic conduct" by a transnational corporation acting in partnership with the Mexican government?

Mitsubishi was subsequently denied construction permits on the grounds of adverse environmental impacts by Mexico's National Ecology Institute. In 1996, ESSA submitted another Environmental Impact Assessment. The international campaign to deny this second permit application is ongoing as of fall, 1997.26

The campaign to protect Pacific gray whales is but one example. On the whole environmental advocates have achieved some remarkable successes promoting identification with "charismatic species" such as marine mammals, wolves, mountain lions, and even spotted owls. In the 1970s and 1980s movement leaders concluded that the way to gain support for preserving wilderness habitat was to promote these stellar species.27 Unfortunately, there have been some drawbacks to this approach. In concentrating on a few key charismatic species readily subject to anthropomorphic identification, many more animals and plants--and their habitats--have been neglected.

On other occasions, conservative critics have tried to turn the charismatic species strategy against environmentalists--ridiculing the Endangered Species Act and efforts to save a habitat on the grounds that the endangered species which resides there is but a mundane, unappealing mouse or fish, a species no one but an ecological extremist would miss if rendered extinct. Hence, the re-enchantment of nature has its contradictions and limitations as a cultural framework to motivate citizens towards political actions.

Another cultural indicator of the re-enchantment of nature concerns the growing popular interest in indigenous peoples, such as the Native Americans. Undoubtedly much of the interest grows out of desire to understand pre-modern cultures based on a sacralized cosmos and more balanced relationship with nature. At times, the film industry exploits this desire and exploits Native Americans in the process--scenes of Native Americans helping alienated whites establish relationships with animals both simplify indigenous cultures and obscure the long war against the Native Americans.

Still, despite these failures, the renewed interest in Native American cultures has positive implications. Affirming the historical presence of Native Americans helps erode the dominant idea that the continent was an empty, pristine wilderness before the Europeans arrived with their civilization.28 Studying Native American cultures gives examples of societies living in more balanced, sustainable ways with their surroundings. At another level, Native American animistic concepts of a world richly inhabited by spirit-beings have given hope to whites looking for a way to connect to the landscape as a meaningful part of their lives.

For example, here in Southern California, one 45 year-old white man searched for years for a Native American shaman to become his apprentice. After being repeatedly rebuffed, the man became a "student of shamanism," i.e., a self-taught shaman. He currently leads people on tours of the dominant natural features of the landscape--what he calls "sacred sites"--and performs ceremonies during the solstices and equinoxes. This rich ceremonial life--a feeling of acting on behalf of the land and its ancestral inhabitants (both human and animal)--helps give him the courage to take political risks; this white shaman is also a leader in the political movement to save the region's few remaining coastal wetlands and open spaces from suburban development.

And for my last cultural indicator I would like to point to the new intellectual work in ecological science which breaks from traditional science and stretches out towards creation myth. The grandest of these projects which bridge science and myth is the Gaia hypothesis--the contention that the earth's atmosphere and hydrosphere (waters), geological formations, and all the living beings together form a single interrelated system. This earth system functions in way that resembles the physiological processes of a living organism. The world is alive: Gaia (or Gaea, the name of the ancient Greek earth goddess) regulates the earth's temperature and aspects of its chemical composition, thus sustaining the conditions for life. The earth reproduces itself daily.29

The work of E.O. Wilson and his colleagues in the field of evolutionary biology similarly resonates with multiple levels of meanings and possible uses. Wilson has become famous for his "biophilia hypothesis," the notion that human nature is inextricably marked by "the particular way we affiliate with other organisms. They are the matrix in which the human mind originated and is permanently rooted, and they offer the challenge and freedom innately sought."30 In evolutionary biology, human destiny is co-mingled with the destiny of other creatures. More is at issue than saving charismatic megafauna. "Biodiversity" is not only a measure of ecosystem health, but points to humanity's capability for adaptation and progress as well. Preserving the entire diversity of life--by reducing pollution and preserving habitat--is thus both the scientific and ethical calling of our time. These notions of biophilia and biodiversity can readily be used to question the legitimacy of property rights and unlimited capitalist development.

Evolutionary biology represents the re-enchantment of nature within intellectual discourse. It might well become a pervasive metatheory for the 21st century, informing not just work in biology, but also in the social sciences and humanities. Many of these academic works have reached wide audiences in the literate public far beyond the confines of the university. The success of evolutionary biology among the literate public is in part due to the similarity between the ideas of biodiversity and biophilia as supreme values and the other forms of re-enchantment in popular culture.

The emerging ecological culture of re-enchantment contains much more than these examples. One of the key intellectual tasks facing the academics and intellectuals who are engaged in environmental studies is to learn to recognize the fragmented components of this new culture and bring them together. By assembling the various literatures on charismatic species, the murals and figurines, the myth tales (both ancient and contemporary), and all the other mysterious signs of cultural re-enchantment, then the culture can be made stronger, both in the sense of each strand becoming more interwoven with others, and in the sense that the environmental movement will have a more theoretically informed, self-reflective understanding of what re-enchantment entails.

A strong culture of re-enchantment is not a substitute for the political struggles necessary to stop environmental destruction and begin large-scale restoration projects. But the re-enchantment of nature, with its notions of sacred sites and an expanded moral community encompassing society and nature, can help clarify our ultimate objectives and give us sustenance and hope in these dangerous and depressing times.

















1 J. William Gibson, "Subdividing Paradise," LA Weekly, November 24-30, 1995: 30-31

2 James Rainey, "Chemical That Cuts Smog May Threaten Water," Los Angeles Times, 16 April 1996: B1,8.

3 Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Translated by Talcott Parsons. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958). Weber's thesis about the Protestant ethic has been debated and criticized since the book first appeared, but rehashing that debate is not my objective in this essay. My use of Weber is to help understand the process of disenchantment and its consequences.

4 Ibid., 81.

5 Ibid., 114-115.

6 Ibid., 64.

7 Max Weber, The Religion of China. Translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth. (New York: The Free Press, 1951; The Religion of India. Translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth. (New York: The Free Press, 1953); Ancient Judaism. Translated and edited by Hans H. Gerth and Don Martindale. (New York: The Free Press, 1952); The Sociology of Religion. Translated by Ephriam Fischer. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1963).

8 Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 26. In recent years, Lynn White's essay, "The Historical Roots of OUr Ecological Crisis," published in Science, Vol. 155, #3767, 10 March 1967, 1203-1207, has become famous for its critique of Christianity's disenchantment of the cosmos. White deserves his fame; I simply note that Weber preceded him.

9 See Arthur Mitzman, The Iron Cage: An Historical Interpretation of Max Weber. (New York: Rosset and Dunlap, 1969), 221.

10 Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, 182.

11 Quoted by Mitzman, The Iron Cage, 228.

12 My objective in this essay is to use Eliade's concepts for the purpose of understanding processes of enchantment and disenchantment--not to conduct a full-scale literature review of Eliade, his defenders, and critics. See Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion. Translated by Willard R. Trask. (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, 1959), 13.

13 Ibid., 20.

14 Mircia Eliade, Myth and Reality. Translated by Willard R. Trask. (New York: Harper and Row, 1963), 5-6.

15 Eliade, The Sacred and The Profane, 13.

16 Ibid., 12.

17 Ibid.

18 Ibid., 138.

19 Ibid., 34.

20 Ibid., 24.

21 Eliade, Myth and Reality, 77.

22 Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, 211-212.

23 Eliade, Myth and Reality, 139.

24 For an analysis of Native American rituals governing fish harvests see Arthur F. McEvoy, The Fisherman's Problem: Ecology and Law in the California Fisheries (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 19-40. Paul Shepherd's work on the rituals of the hunt in Paleolithic times are also of interest. See The Tender Carnivore and the Sacred Game (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973).

25 Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, 28.

26 Joel R. Reynolds, "Is the Last Lagon of the Pacific gray Whlae Worth Its Salt?" California Coast and Ocean. Volume 13. no 2 (Summer, 1997): 18-19. Also see the articles and letters concerning the proposed San Ignacio salt mine in the summer and fall 1997 issues of The Amicus Journal: A Publication of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

27 David Bower with Steve Chapple, Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run: A Call to Those Who Would Save the Earth (San Francisco: Harper Collins West, 1995) 37-38.

28 William Cronon, "The Trouble with Wilderness; or Geting Back to the Wrong Nature," in Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature. Edited by William Cronon. (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996), 69-90.

29 Dorian Sagan and Lynn Margulis, "God, Gaia, and Biophilia," The Biophilia Hypothesis. Edited by Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson. (Washington, D.C.: Island Press/Shearwater Books), 1993.

30 E. O. Wilson, Biophilia: The Human Bond With Other Species (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1984), 139. Also see the volume edited by Stephen R. Kellert and Edward O. Wilson, The Biophilia Hypothesis (Washington, D.C.: Island Press, 1993).

31 Edward O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992). Also see David Takacs's critical examination of biodiversity, The Idea of Biodiversity: Philosophies of Eden (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996).