RETURN OF THE SPIRIT

After an absence of seventeen years, Ecospirit, a quarterly newsletter that aimed to explore and foster the wisdom of the earth, is once again available to the Moravian community. The newsletter, published on campus by the Institute for Ecosophical Studies from 1984 through 1990, had over 300 subscribers both in and out of the U.S. Ecospirit tackled both environmental and aesthetic aspects of earth wisdom, says professor of religion Don St. John, who created the Institute and newsletter with colleagues Paul Larson and Jean Pearson. "It's a value-centered approach," he explains, "trying to create a more holistic vision of human kind as living within the earth, respecting it and having a sense of its sacredness." Articles featured in the newsletter's six-year run discussed everything from the ecological spirituality of Walt Whitman to the United Nations world charter for nature to the music of Paul Winter and the photography of Ansel Adams. Many issues included original poetry as well as feature-length articles. In addition to the newsletter, the IES brought several speakers to campus, including Humane Society scientific director Michael Fox and ecological thinker Thomas Berry.

To everything there is a season; Ecospirit came to an end with its Fall 1990 issue as its founders moved on to other projects. "Larger publications were starting to deal with these issues," explains professor St. John. "There was a sense that we had done our part." But with environmental concerns the subject of such public interest these days, professor St. John believes Ecospirit is worth a second look. "We were kind of avant-garde back in the 80's," he says. "But today a lot of the same questions we raised are still being asked. I think some people would be interested in seeing the newsletter again." To that end, all fifteen issues of Ecospirit are now viewable online at home.moravian.edu/public/relig/ecoSpirit . Professor St. John says he's mulling the possibilities for producing new issues. "One thing I'd like to do is use it as a vehicle for students to publish some papers," he notes.