In a recent episode of Science & Wisdom LIVE, a platform that brings meditation practitioners in conversation with scientists to address the problems of contemporary society, three eminent personalities – Vandana Shiva, David Loy, and Stephan Harding – shared their insights on COP26, spirituality, and the climate emergency. The dialogue was an excerpt from a past episode titled ‘Deep Ecology, Mindfulness, and Climate Emergency‘.

The dialogue revolved around the participants’ impressions of COP26 and its outcomes, their work in promoting positive change and a more sustainable future, and their feelings of optimism or pessimism about the future.

Vandana Shiva emphasized the importance of recognizing the Earth as a living entity and the need to respect its self-regulating capacity. She criticized the concept of ‘Net Zero’, which she described as a form of ‘carbon colonization’. Despite the challenges, she expressed optimism, stating that the worsening situation only deepens her commitment to stand with the Earth and continue to grow.

Stephan Harding, while acknowledging the enormity of the challenge, expressed hope in the potential for change. He emphasized the need for deep ecological experiences and a shift in humanity’s relationship with the Earth. He also stressed the importance of recognizing the limits of our exploitation of the Earth and the need for a new kind of science that is deeply spiritual.

David Loy discussed the destructive tendencies of capitalism and the need for a shift in mindset. He proposed a three-part meditation to help individuals identify their unique contributions to a more sustainable future.

The dialogue concluded with a discussion on the denial of Gaia and the need to celebrate uncertainty. The participants agreed on the importance of cultivating a diversity of mind and life and celebrating the multiple pathways available to us.

About the Participants

Vandana Shiva

Vandana Shiva is a renowned Indian scholar, environmental activist, and anti-globalization author. She has been a major force in the global ecofeminist movement and has written extensively on agriculture, food, biodiversity, and climate change.

David Loy

David Loy is a professor, writer, and Zen teacher in the Sanbo Zen tradition of Japanese Zen Buddhism. His teachings and writings often focus on the encounter between Buddhism and modernity and issues of social and ecological justice.

Stephan Harding

Stephan Harding is an ecologist, author, and educator. He is a close collaborator of the deep ecology movement’s founder, Arne Naess, and has been involved in the development of holistic science and ecological philosophy.