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The only way to end destructive human tendencies like ecological degradation and economic imbalance is for individuals to undergo spiritual self-examination and recognize their responsibility to nature, argues Beath, a passionate environmental activist and the driving force behind the EarthWays Foundation. This inspirational book aims to guide people from "well-meaning but self-centered naiveté to... 'conscious activism.'" To that end, Beath presents his views as well as the stories and advice of 15 "social change leaders," including Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent more than two years living in an ancient Redwood tree to keep it from being cut down; Peter Levitt, who works with inner city youths; and the late psychiatrist and activist John Mack (2004). All of the above stress the humanitarian ideals of compassion, tolerance, non-violent activism and an appreciation and respect for living creatures. Though Beath declares somewhat dramatically in the first chapter that "the Earth bleeds on the cross of human industry," he and his fellow activists remain confident that public concern over the environment and the culture is increasing. With its rose-tinted and somewhat nebulous open-mind, open-heart approach to spirituality and societal change, however, this book isn't likely to convert many people to the cause; rather, it preaches to the choir.
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Andrew Beath is the founder of the EarthWays Foundation in Malibu, California, as well as several other nonprofit social justice and environmental organizations. His foundation has initiated projects to protect wilderness and assist threatened communities in South, Central and North America.
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