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Literature Review - Climate Action and Policy with Spirituality: CAPS

By Prof. (Dr.) Ora-orn Poocharoen


As the researchers studied spirituality, most literature from both the Western and Eastern worlds has discussed the indispensable ties between nature and humans (Thoreau, 2016; Berry, 2000; Ono, 1962). Nonetheless, human-nature relations have become more tilted in every human revolution as humans seek to dominate and gain more control over nature (Harari, 2015 & 2016). This imbalance disrupts the normality between humans and nature and causes troubles from mental health issues to more severe and frequent natural disasters (Maté & Maté, 2023; Berry, 2000). Because of this problem, Berry (2000) thus suggested that human-nature relations must be re-established more harmoniously. 

In the policy landscape, there is a move from Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to Inner Development Goals (IDGs) (Stålne & Greca, 2022). This move transcends the latest paradigm in public administration on Smart Sustainable Governance (Poocharoen & Chattragul, 2023) and thus might imply an alternative solution for climate action. Stålne and Greca (2022) stated that integrating IDGs into various sectors may enhance individual and collective capacity for addressing complex sustainability issues. Similarly, the integral theory of consciousness also highlights the importance of interconnectedness in advancing the human-nature realm (Wilber, 2000; Wilber, 2005). This aligns well with Maté and Maté (2023) that by returning to wholeness, problems can be healed.

At this point, it is known that an interconnected and holistic approach is imperative for policy with spirituality, but what seems lacking is how any tangible policy can be achieved. In contrast to harmonious spiritual thoughts, climate action has always been an intervention. Nonetheless, as humans advance toward modernity, they are constrained by the ‘toxic culture’ that allows environmental degradation, climate change, poverty, and social isolation to continue (Maté & Maté, 2023). Therefore, this research sees an imminent urgency to move from ‘intervention/solving’ to ‘healing/navigating’ as an action that might need to be relearned through the accumulated wisdom of spirituality and governance that views nature as the one sustaining human world rather than an anthropocentric one that treats nature as a resource to be exploited or controlled over.



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