The Great Work of Thomas Berry

The late Thomas Berry accompanied by Gaia trustee, Jules Cashford

In the late 1990’s Gaia was inspired by Thomas Berry, a cultural historian who warned that civilizations which grow quickly, at the expense of their ecological foundations, will also collapse quickly.

Thomas pointed out how law, controlled by corporate interests, is used to legitimise the destruction of Nature and the commons. He called for the urgent need to return to the original human understanding of law as those laws which govern life processes in which we are all bound. Gaia had always recognised that for most of human history, cultures across the planet had derived their customary laws from the Laws of Nature.

Together with Thomas Berry, we intensified our work in promoting and recognising what Thomas called Earth Jurisprudence, as the foundation upon which the dominant industrial growth society should reconstitute itself, in order to realign with the planetary laws and boundaries of life on our living planet.


What does the Earth desire? I will put it in just a few short sentences…. To be admired in her loveliness, to be tasted in her delicious fruits, to be listened to in her teaching, to be endured in the severity of her discipline, to be cared for as a maternal source from whence we come, a destiny to which we return. It’s very simple.”

Thomas Berry


The child awakens to a universe. The mind of the child to a world of wonder. Imagination to a world of beauty. Emotions to a world of intimacy. It takes a universe to make a child both in outer form and inner spirit. It takes a universe to educate a child. A universe to fulfill a child. Each generation presides over the meeting of these two in the succeeding generation. So that the universe is fulfilled in the child, and the child is fulfilled in the Universe. While the stars ring out in the heavens!”

It Takes a Universe, by Thomas Berry

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We live in a time of multiple, complex crises. There are no easy answers. Working to uphold the health and diversity of our living planet is always rewarding, but we think you’ll agree it can sometimes feel like swimming against the stream. And yet like salmon we leap, and more often than you might expect, we make it. We invite you to make the next leap with us by making a donation of any size. Thank you for your solidarity.

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