Preserving a Living Earth

Posted 7/21/22

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them.”

– Albert Einstein, German theoretical physicist

I am a resident of the Upper Delaware …

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Preserving a Living Earth


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when creating them.”

– Albert Einstein, German theoretical physicist

I am a resident of the Upper Delaware region. I also serve as the lead pastor of the Church of the Village in Manhattan.

On three Sundays in September 2021, our church was privileged to have as our guest preacher Dr. John Cobb, a renowned theologian, philosopher and environmentalist. On the final Sunday, he shared his vision: that to carry on the mission of Jesus today requires that we work toward an ecological civilization.

I was so inspired that I traveled to California to meet with him for four days in November.

Fifty years ago, Cobb published “Is It Too Late?: A Theology of Ecology,” the first book-length philosophical and theological analysis of the environmental crisis. At that time, it was already quite drastic and apparent to those willing to see it.

Later, he became one of the pre-eminent proponents of the idea of an ecological civilization. I had already been studying the concept, so it was a major topic of our conversations. Around the same time, Dr. Cobb was forming a new organization called the Living Earth Movement (LEM) and he asked me to join its initial organizing team. It launched publicly on February 25, 2022, the same month John turned 97.

Within a short time, I became not only a member, but the chair of the LEM organizing team.

The ecological crisis is very advanced and its consequences are global. If the nations of the world do not work together and take dramatic action in the next decade, climate chaos will lead to social, political and economic chaos. It will end with the extinction of the human species, along with most life on earth. More and more people realize this. Yet the world remains divided.

The Living Earth Movement’s short-term priority is to get the U.S. and China to cooperate for the sake of all life on this planet. Without their full and joint participation, the necessary changes will not be made in time. However, with their joint leadership, virtually all nations will follow. The two most powerful nations (and biggest polluters) have the power and resources, together, to lead the world through this crisis, if they give it top priority.

The second and equally important priority is to promote the foundations for a new kind of civilization, one in which humans would learn to value and live in harmony with the rest of the ecosphere. We need to act as part of a living earth community. We call this an ecological civilization.

John Cobb is still writing and speaking out. He and I co-authored a short book recently titled, “Is International Cooperation Possible?: A Bold Appeal for a Living Earth.” The book is available free on the Living Earth Movement website (

You can also find much more valuable information on our resources page. Or do a web search for “ecological civilization” to access a wealth of books, articles, and videos. Contact us at

The Living Earth Movement, John Cobb, Rev. Jeff Wells


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