In 1982 our founder, Herman Greene, read Thomas Berry’s paper, “The Spirituality of the Earth.” After reading just the first two paragraphs his life was changed forever. (A copy of this paper is available here). Thomas wrote that when we speak about the spirituality of Earth, we are not talking about observing the beauty of Earth, we are talking about an inner principle. He went on to say that we humans are Earth derived. If there is no spirituality of Earth then there is no spirituality in us. Herman had been involved in social justice issues, now ecology took on life for him. These understandings that we are born of Earth, there is an inner principle, or subjectivity, involved in all things and processes, and we are inseparable from and dependent on the larger community of life awakened him and later became his guides for the founding and life of the Center for Ecozoic Studies.
In the late 1990s, Herman, together with Albert Hardy and Sue Tideman developed a project called “Support Groups for Ecozoic Societies.” Several groups came into being. In January 1999, Herman wrote Thomas and Margaret Berry about forming a Center for the Ecozoic Era. In July 1999 he adopted the name “Center for Ecozoic Studies” and wrote down its purposes, purposes that continue to guide the Center. In August 1999, he wrote a paper on “The Foundational Ideas of the Center for Ecozoic Studies,” which is available in a revised version here.
In the fall of 1999 Herman worked diligently over many, many hours reviewing the manuscript of The Great Work and wrote a paper called “Thomas Berry’s Great Work.” This was the first paper to be published by the Center and it is available here. Its descriptions of the three Guides, Directions, and Paths to the Ecozoic Era guide have informed the Center since that time.
In December, CES held its first meeting and on January 1, 2001, with Thomas Berry as the key speaker and guest, the Center came into being. At the time it was part of the Piedmont Bioregional Institute. In fall 2000, CES published its first Ecozoic Reader. On December 28, 2000, the Center was incorporated and on January 1, 2001, CES began operating as an independent entity.
From June 20, 2011 to December 17, 2017, the Center operated under the name “Center for Ecozoic Societies, and changed its name back to Center for Ecozoic Studies on December 18, 2017.
The activities of the Center have focused on publications, educational programs and events, and collaborative work with other organizations such as the International Process Network and the Earth Law Center. Its network is global and one of its tasks is to provide nurture and resources for those in its network.