Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Contributions to an Integral Water Ethic: Cultivating Love and Compassion for Water
by McAnally, Elizabeth Ann, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2017, 212; 10279472
Abstract (Summary)

Water is one of the most precious elements on Earth. Yet we find ourselves in a global water crisis, struggling to address freshwater scarcity, pollution, climate change, and the need for safe drinking water and sanitation. Given the urgency of the global water crisis, it is imperative that we reinvent our relationship to water and cultivate an integral water ethic.

This dissertation, and the ethic it explores, is grounded in an integral approach to ecology that studies phenomena across multiple perspectives (e.g., natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities). Relating to water in an integral mode entails acknowledging that water has not only exterior, objective dimensions but also interior, subjective qualities. Thus, an integral water ethic holds that water is not a mere passive object to be exploited for human purposes; instead, this approach recognizes that water is an intrinsically valuable, vital member of the Earth community. An integral water ethic encourages humans to learn to cultivate love and compassion for water and for those suffering from the global water crisis. Through the cultivation of love and compassion for water, humans will be better able to see water not as a mere resource and commodity, but rather as a loving and compassionate member of the Earth community who nourishes all beings.

This dissertation explores three world religions (Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism) and considers the following contributions to an integral water ethic: sacramental consciousness of baptism, loving service of the Yamuna River, and compassionate wisdom of the bodhisattva. Contemplative practices for developing love and compassion for water are also shared. The purpose of this study is to draw attention to creative avenues for cultivating mutually enhancing relations between humans and water and thereby to help overcome destructive attitudes toward the natural world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Allison, Elizabeth
Commitee: Haberman, David L., Kelly, Sean
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Philosophy and Religion
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 78/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Environmental philosophy, Ethics
Keywords: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Integral ecology, Water
Publication Number: 10279472
ISBN: 9781369822458
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