Film: Satish Kumar – Reverential Ecology Talk

Keynsham Transition in Bristol UK hosted this inspiring talk by Satish Kumar on reverential ecology, a must see for those interested in how to relate to our planet.

Snippet taken from Resurgence article; “Satish Kumar is a former monk and long-term peace and environment activist. He has been quietly setting the Global Agenda for change for over 50 years. He was just nine when he left his family home to join the wandering Jains and 18 when he decided he could achieve more back in the world, campaigning for land reform in India and working to turn Gandhi’s vision of a renewed India and a peaceful world into reality.”

An overview of reverential ecology can be found here:

Resurgence magazine:

Keynsham transition


  1. Wonderful human being. His enthusiasm is contagious.

  2. He says great things that I completely agree with, ideas that I think about a lot, although I do think glorifying and glossing over the main religions as somehow all the same in their wonderful utopian inter-faith views on “reverential ecology” and how humans are NOT superior to nature IS A SLIPPERY SLOPE AND HIGHLY PROBLEMATIC. I think he generally delivers a great and urgently needed message, one that every person in the world should be thinking about as we face ecological catastrophe, but I don’t see why organized religion has to be awkwardly rationalized into these most secularly (and here, secular does not mean void of sacred or spiritual qualities; organized religion has no monopoly on the sacred) imperative concepts with a casual “oh, well they are all saying the same thing anyways” followed by a “oh yea, and what ALL the organized religions say just happens to fit like a puzzle piece into my perfectly flawless ecocentric worldview.”

    So the underlying foundation of the psychological development of Western Civilization — this completely poisonous and wrong-headed anthropocentric way of thinking that so permeates the current dominant hegemonic paradigm of thought (“I mean come on London School of Economics….you fools…you should immediately rename yourself the London School of Ecology and Economics”) — had absolutely nothing to do with anything written in the Bible? Give me a break.

    Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”

    @Satish: The “have dominion over everything that creeps upon the earth” part doesn’t fit in so well with your referential ecology…in fact it sounds incredibly like the “shallow ecology” you succinctly and beautifully delegitimize.

    Genesis 1:27: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

    So God created only male and female in his own image? He didn’t make anything else in his image, only us? And we were created on the sixth and final day that God was creating things because we are special: the climax of his creation?

    Hey Satish! Can you say anthropocentric!?! How about actually reading the Bible before you so conveniently come to your rationalized conclusions?

    Genesis 1:28: …and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

    Sure, let’s go forth and multiply without a care in the world! 10 billion people? Bring it on! Let’s just keep multiplying and spreading and generally dominating and subduing the earth forever and ever! Thanks for the official approval to do whatever we want with the earth God! You made us in your image and we are superior to nature!

    Satish, you just can’t dismiss things like these in order to have religion fit in your ecocentric worldview.

    It can be argued quite easily that the psychology of Christianity has in fact — and we can debate to what extent…I would say a lot — aided and allowed for the development of Western Civilization, which might as well be synonymous with the term Satish uses so disparagingly: anthropocentric.

    twitter: @DustyHinz

    • Dusty,
      Your rant was pointless and futile. You are unable to grasp a concept because you are blinded by your institutional ism. Reverential ecology is immaculate and pure. The concept applies to people who are grounded and in balance with the natural world. Native Americans for example.

      • Lakota Man,

        You’re going to have to do better than that. I grasp the concept of Reverential Ecology perfectly, and the truth is that I do not have any “institutional ism” blinding me as you baselessly assert. If I do, then please tell me what my “institutional ism” is. I would love to know.

        What I offered is some constructive criticism. When someone gives a speech that I agree with 90% on, is it not okay for me to inquire about the 10% that I disagree with or have issues with?

        I would agree that Reverential Ecology, as Satish explains it, is “immaculate and pure.” I am in complete agreement with him on pretty much everything he said. I find modern free market economic thinking — the brainchild of Western Civilization — flawed in its exclusively utilitarian, detached-from-nature psychology. I am completely aware of how messed up our relationship is with the natural world, and how modern industrial civilization is destroying the planet. And I absolutely think there is so much to learn from the way in which many, although not all, indigenous people live and have lived and how they think about the world and our relationship to it. I get all this! This is not the issue here!

        So let me cut to the chase. The issue here is that I thought it was careless and sloppy for Satish to gloss over all the organized religions as somehow ALL saying the same thing in their views on the natural world. I think that is pathetically simplistic and untrue. Next, he asserts that not only are all the religions saying the same thing about the natural world, but WHAT all the religions are saying fits like a puzzle piece into his world view of “Reverential Ecology,” and this is downright unfounded.

        I think the Bible gets it wrong on the first page. You can see what I referenced above. I don’t think the Bible quotes from above should be glossed over and ignored in order to focus in on “Reverential Ecology.” I think what he terms Reverential Ecology can stand alone perfectly on its own feet and merits, in a beautifully common sense way, without trying to fit all organized religion into a simplistic and unfounded box that is completely in support of Reverential Ecology. Lakota, can you please explain to me why Reverential Ecology, if it is truly so “immaculate and pure” as you proclaim, needs the rationalized support of ALL organized religion? Isn’t it wonderful and good in and of itself?

        I could take a guess: might it have something to do with the audience Satish was speaking to? Isn’t his message exactly what Christians want to hear? Is it possible that these Christians really do not want to be burdened by the unfortunate truth about what their text says on the first page about having dominion over nature?

        You reference Native Americans as people that lived by “Reverential Ecology,” and they certainly had no idea about any of the organized religions Satish mentions. So clearly, Reverential Ecology can exist without the presence of organized religions.

        Lastly, it’s not just the fact that Reverential Ecology does not need the support of organized religion, it’s that one of these religions, Christianity, actually promotes a psychology contrary to what Reverential Ecology stands for. What Christianity actually says about dominating nature should NOT be glossed over and ignored; it should be called out for its problematic flaws, and the integral role it has played in the development of Western Civilization.

  3. At 9:30 he claims that unhappy meat gives you cancer, as reported in “yesterday’s paper”. I’d like to know the source of this claim, as I can’t find any news sources mentioning a cruelty aspect in their reports of the Harvard study into red meat.


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