Ecological Grief: Alone in a World of Wounds

By Matt Humphrey, Director of Theological Education

“One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” So wrote Aldo Leopold in 1949 in the Sand County Almanac. Our latest A Rocha talk took this final phrase “Alone in a world of wounds” to guide our discussion of ecological grief.

In my experience, it is common among those who study the planetary crisis closely to bear two difficult experiences, which compound upon one another. The first, that we are deeply grieved to face all the wounds of this world. And the second, that we experience this grief as lonely – indeed, solitary work – often lacking a public or shared outlet to be expressed.

For this latest A Rocha talk we drew together three voices to help us mark a beginning of exploration around this theme. Anupama (Anu) Ranawana is a theologian and writer based in Oxford. Her work focuses on decolonial theology, feminist religious thought, faith and international development and ecological justice. Brent Unrau is a Registered Clinical Counselor and Spiritual director who lives in intentional community on Kingfisher Farm in Surrey, B.C. Canada. Hannah Malcolm is training to be a priest in the Church of England and writing a PhD on climate and ecological grief. In her spare time, she writes and organizes around the theology of climate justice.

Anupama Ranawana

Brent Unrau

Hannah Malcolm

We heard lots of personal stories about facing this grief, explored the intersections of climate change and climate justice, shared favourite resources to assist with this topic, and were given a bit of space to air our questions and concerns. Much work remains to be done around this important topic. But we hope you find this discussion enlightening, encouraging, and perhaps discover yourself – while in the midst of such a world of wounds – to be slightly less alone.