My article, “Trees in Early Irish Law and Lore: Respect for Other-Than-Human Life in Europe’s History,” has just been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Ecopsychology.
Abstract (summary of contents): In contrast to modern Western society’s treatment of plants as non- sentient beings to be used or killed at will for our own benefit, the complex legal system used in Ireland from prehistory up until the 17th century delineated penalties for mistreating trees that were not dissimilar to the penalties for mistreating other humans. The early Irish relationship with trees as described in Brehon Law and extant lore was not only utilitarian but also deeply spiritual and tied to the peoples’ identity. Brehon Law provides an example from European history that illustrates traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and animistic relationships with the more-than-human world of nature. This paper explores some ecopsychological and environmental benefits of applying its principles today.
“Ecopsychology invites you to read this special issue dedicated to bringing forward insights from wisdom traditions, such as those from Indigenous peoples, and those from contemporary science, to more clearly inspire and guide actions that care for the Earth.
“The issue was co-edited by two leaders in their fields. Cheryl Charles is Co-Founder, President, and CEO Emerita of the Children & Nature Network, and an educator, author, and long-time advocate for connecting people of all ages with nature. Gregory Cajete is a scholar, educator, author and elder in his Indigenous tribe, Tewa, and served for many years as director of Native American Studies at University of New Mexico.”