How can we change the direction of our impact on the earth and begin to undo the damage we have wrought on so many species, including our own? Can we depend on technological, political, and economic solutions alone? Jennie Ratcliffe, drawing on her years of experience and reflection as a scientist and active participant in peace and ecological concerns, believes that a deeper transformation is needed. A spiritual awareness of our oneness reminds us that we live in intimate relationship and kinship with each other, the earth, and the Divine. Grounded in reciprocity, reconciliation, simplicity, and nonviolence, this awareness can guide us toward a deeper integrity, a reverence for the human and natural communities upon which we depend, and more sustainable ways of living. Discussion questions included.
About the Author(s)
Jennie Ratcliffe’s lifelong concern has been to make connections: between nonviolence, social justice, and ecological sustainability; between science, ecology, spirituality, and politics; and between contemplation and social action. After obtaining a Master’s degree in environmental pollution studies and a doctorate in epidemiology in England, she has worked for the past 35 years as a research epidemiologist in environmental and occupational health, including for the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Universities of London and North Carolina. She has also worked with the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science, Friends of the Earth, and Physicians for Social Responsibility, among other organizations, and helped found local groups engaged in fostering a peaceful and ecologically sustainable future. As a member of Durham Friends Meeting, North Carolina, she serves on the Peace and Social Concerns and Earthcare Committees, and is a member of Quaker Earthcare Witness. She was the Henry J. Cadbury Scholar at Pendle Hill in 2006, where she began work on a book about the spiritual dimension of the ecological crisis from a Quaker perspective. This essay grew out of preliminary work and discussions during her time at Pendle Hill.
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #403