Minding the Earth Mending the World
The Offer We Can No Longer Refuse
Susan Murphy, Picador
Murphy writes in a racy, inspired and sometimes lyrical style that seems directly impassioned by the urgency of the world’s climate about which she writes.
Her work is at once an almost prophetic outpouring of the environmental crises that is upon us, yet also a full-conscious, awakened meditation about self, values and spirituality in response to the crises in the world.
She quotes references and concepts within the fluency of a mixed mode of writing that swings between the apocalyptic and the paradisiacal.
The volume is not dogmatic and quotes various religions including Bible passages about creation and Eden, yet the dominant spiritual style and content is that of Buddhism.
The work has a controlling and important argument, and that is that we need new meta- narratives of the earth if we are to deal with the crisis of climate change. The crisis motivates philosophical as well as practical responses.
Murphy spends time critiquing old narratives of the earth, including Christian dominion, and in the second part hypothesises what a contemporary narrative could look like.
Her advocacy of Buddhist values might seem an individualised answer to global questions. However, her argument can stimulate thinking about alternative environmental narratives, including Christian ones.
Some readers will find her advocacy of crisis in the opening chapters depressing and against a hope in God’s creations. Others will be open to the process of joint responsibility we must now assume for the wellbeing of the earth in this crucial stage of its evolution.