Document Type

Article - On Campus Only

Publication Date



Can there be genuine and lasting ecological renewal without a deep expression of grief and mourning for all that is being lost? This easy draws upon the work of Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich, W.G. Sebald, Aldo Leopold, as well as the tradition of ancient Christian monasticism, to argue for the significance of mourning for long-term spiritual, social and ecological renewal. Genuine openness to what the ancient monks called 'the gift of tears,'—a deep piercing of the heart that creates a new sense of relationship with the whole—can help us recover a feeling for and commitment to the natural world.

Recommended Citation

Burton-Christie, D. (2011). The Gift of Tears: Loss, Mourning and the Work of Ecological Restoration, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology, 15(1), 29-46. doi: 10.1163/156853511X553787