Experiencing oneself as a part of the living earth and not apart from it. Honouring the earth as self-organizing and self-maintaining living system, and affirming the sacred role of all living entities which inhabit the natural world. Reverence for all life.
Thomas Berry, a priest of the Passionist order and one of the leading voices in "eco-spirituality", said: "There is now a single issue before us: survival. Not merely physical survival, but survival in a world of fulfilment, survival in a living world ... survival in a world of meaning." Berry suggested that there is a spiritual dimension to our present ecological crisis. It has long been understood by indigenous peoples that our relationship to the Earth is spiritually as well as physically sustaining. For indigenous peoples this is often included in their way of life, and expressed through their rituals and prayers.
In Western culture we may sense this spiritual nourishment in the beauty, peace, or sense of wonder that the natural world gives us. This belongs to the quality of life rarely valued by our solely economic images of progress. And yet we are sustained in ways we cannot easily measure.
In a recent survey Americans from various walks of life agreed by large majorities with the statement "Because God created the natural world, it is wrong to abuse it". The anthropologists who conducted this survey concluded that divine creation is the closest concept American culture provides to express the sacredness of nature.
Deep ecology serves as the explanatory principle both for the pain we experience on behalf of our planet and its beings and for the sense of belonging that arises when we stop repressing that pain and let it re-connect us with our world.