Does the shift in "environmental consciousness" over the last 30 year or so correspond to a shift in attitudes toward spirituality generally?
That is, do we "think kind thoughts about the earth" only to the same extent that we think the same way about spirits of other forms? Is a person who feels guilty about "hurting the earth" more likely to believe in an afterlife for dogs and cats?
When we say "the earth," what are we referencing? Do we ever anthropomorphise our planet (i.e. do we talk about it/think of it as if it were human), or do we think of it in some other way&mdash perhaps as an "elemental force" of some kind?
Is there anyhting else we've changed our thinking about in the same way?
(Machines? Computers? Other planets, or possible life on other planets?)
Further: what effect does all this shift have in our way of thinking about other people?
Are we more or less aware of human spirituality as such? Is the spirit something that we now "recognize" in a mechanistic, [i]reductive[/i] way, as a "part of the machine" that we have to "maintain"? (The opposing perspective would, I think, see a "ghost [i]in[/i] the machine" that we recognize but don't understand; something that we can identify but often confuses or terrifies us. The body, on the other hand, becomes mechanized and reduced to a "fragile vessel" which makes the spirit mobile. I'm sure there are other perspectives to explore...)
Last but not least: what does "earth day" accomplish, in light of the answers to tehse questions? If we make our surroundings into a spirit we call "the earth," how does that change our relationship to our surroundings?