Eco-Spirituality & Action™

General Description

Originally developed for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), Ecospirituality & Action™ is a six week-to-semester-long course that explores the spiritual basis of caring for the Earth, identifies the principles and practices of a sustainable human presence on the planet and teaches how to apply the creative process to one's daily life and to concerns for the state of the world.

The course has been tailored to a variety of individuals and communities, including activists, interfaith groups and anyone wanting to become acquainted with a spirituality that synthesizes the discoveries of present day science with a sense of reverence for the ultimate mystery of our existence, while giving the individual a sense of orientation within the Universe, in time and space and a sense of individual and collective purpose.

Students can expect significant changes in perception as well as important results. The first course offered in 2007 led to the Eco-spirituality & Action Minute (also known as the Peace with Earth Declaration), which expands the Quaker Peace Testimony of 1660 to embrace the rest of creation.


"I have thoroughly enjoyed the course you have given us. You presented the larger view not only of the ecological crisis we face... but also of the potential for the evolution of the human that our response to the crisis can inspire.

"Our Friends in Unity with Nature Group have been ‘processing’ The Great Work now for over ten years; we often got stuck in integrating how our personal lives were an intrinsic part of that cosmic story. You devoted a lot of the course to getting us in touch with our own evolutionary powers ... how we might envision... and then move upon that transformed sense of our world and ourselves." Read more

Inspirational Slide Talks:

Though we may not realize it, those of us who are alive today are laying the foundation for the next ten thousand years. In the midst of our modern industrial civilization, Ecological Civilization is emerging throughout the world, in a dazzling display of creativity.
Through the lens of four primary approaches
-- the Confrontational, the Legislative, the Creative and Consciousness Changing -- Angela Manno examines the myriad new social forms of this rising civilization. With the aid of hundreds of images, Angela illustrates how this transformation is taking shape in all areas of human endeavor, from law, practical ecology,
non-violent direct action and ecovillages to contemporary liturgical forms designed to regenerate and celebrate our connection with the Earth.

Come experience a celebration of the heroic times in which we live and identify your unique role in transforming our relationship to the planet!

Duration: 90 minutes including Q & A

Rev. Diane Berke, Founder & Spiritual Director, One Spirit Learning Alliance/One Spirit Interfaith Seminary:

"Angela Manno's slide presentation, ‘The Great Work of Our Time: Picturing the Ecological Age,’ is an inspiring, informative, and illuminating exploration of eco-spirituality. It is a rich and powerful resource for anyone who wants to live as a responsible member of the sacred earth community."

Alice Zinnes, Professor of art, Pratt Institute:

"In her presentation, ‘The Great Work of Our Time: Picturing the Ecological Age,’ Angela Manno provides a clear, inspirational account of contemporary movements toward environmental sustainability. Blending historical fact and bibliographic references with her own personal passion, Manno organizes the complexities of the environmental movement into simple categories that not only inform, but also provide alternate roadmaps to further action. Whether listeners believe in direct action, traditional legal and political petition, or the deeply artistic and spiritual changes of a culture’s zeitgeist, they will discover substance and creative models on which to build a future where life, human production and inner fulfillment coexist in mutual support."

Carol Cannon, Visual artist and manager of historical art collection:

"Anyone fortunate enough to see artist Angela Manno's ‘Picturing the Ecological Age’ gets an intense smattering of her broad, deep, and passionate response to her love of Mother Earth . . . Well-researched and beautifully illustrated, she shares her personal journey and the wisdom of Theilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry, Joanna Macy, Irvin Laszlow and others who have dedicated their lives to actively impacting the public's consciousness and in turn, our environment.

"Rarely does one encounter an artist who has been both productive and skilled in their medium and made time to verse themselves so thoroughly in a collective quest to produce both beautiful art and such an intelligent, informative overview of such a critical subject. This particular critical subject, that of restoring the Earth ‘to her pristine beauty and full regenerative capacities’ bears down on us all and Angela's response gives voice to our own wincing hearts but offers not only more facts but more solutions in terms of pointing out the effective efforts currently in place, those actually successful in making changes, and the foreshadowing of more positive currents picking up critical speed.

"Woven throughout this visual presentation are images of her own arrestingly beautiful iconography and innovative use of batik to inspire viewers to truly entertain the possibilities of this spiritual and physical restoration at hand. Whether passive observer or fervent activist, we are all included in this transition to the Ecological Age and owe Manno a debt of gratitude for her depth of aesthetic expression and lifelong commitment to being a responsible steward of this glorious planet."

Evolution of an Activist

Artist/activist Angela Manno describes her personal journey in this 45 minute slide talk beginning with her first exploration in spirituality when, during a hypnosis session, she experienced immense sadness, realizing "They're destroying the Earth." She developed a vision of the Earth restored to its pristine beauty and full regenerative capacity, imagining it as a fait accompli, with people along the banks of the Hudson bathing in the river and drinking the water. She frames her experiences within the categories formulated by eco-theologian Thomas Berry and eco-activist and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy - the Confrontational, the Legislative, the Creative and Consciousness Changing - giving concrete examples from her own life how she came to Ecological Awareness and to Environmental Activism.

Angela also writes about this evolution in her essay:

Practical Mysticism: Contemplation, Creativity and the Ecozoic Age (PDF).

This slide talk can stand alone or can be followed by a half-day group facilitation (description of facilitation below):

Group Facilitation:

"Finding and Enacting Our Role in the Great Work"

"We all have our particular work," wrote eco-theologian and cultural historian Thomas Berry. "Some of us are teachers, some of us are healers, some of us are farming. We have a variety of occupations.

"But besides the particular work we do, and the particular lives we lead, we have a Great Work that everyone is involved in and no one is exempt from.

"The Great Work before us, the task of moving modern industrial civilization from its present devastating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence, is not a role we have chosen. . . We were cho- sen by some power beyond ourselves for this historic task . . . . We are, as it were, thrown into existence with a challenge and a role that is beyond any personal choice. The nobility of our lives, however, depends upon the manner in which we come to understand and fulfill our assigned role."

— Thomas Berry, The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future

For groups who want to become more sustainable in their activities, and contribute to the
transformation of our relationship with our planet, Angela will guide them through a process to
identify their highest vision for their group and community and begin plans for implementation.

Full or half-day options

For information on how to tailor these offerings to and schedule them for
your group, community or congregation, please contact Angela Manno.

*The School of Living Arts founder Angela Manno is also an award-winning internationally exhibited artist and activist. To see her art go to: For her bio as founder and director of SoLA, click here.

Previous Courses in Ecological Culture at the School of Living Arts

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