The Ways of the Earth

The Six Principles of Ecological Contribution

Russell Maier
Published in
6 min readApr 6, 2021


This is the fifth post in a series laying out a new theory of Green — An Earthen Ethics.

IN THE PAST WE HAVE USED the example, ways and wisdom of great human teachers as a means of discerning good and bad, right and wrong. However practical this has been for making sense of human living, it is insufficient for the ecological discernment we need today. When it comes to making sense of our place in the biosphere, human centered ethics, are de-facto, inadequate.

However, another great teacher awaits our attention.

For too long we have assumed the Earth beneath our feet and the earth between our toes are static and stable constants. In fact, both are anything but. The coalescence of matter and momentum of ancient stars into our planet has never stopped unfolding. The results of a vast stellar confluence, the Earth’s array of elements, its solar distance, its spin, orbit, moon and magnetosphere compose a cosmological character and a pattern of process unique in our solar system — and reflected in its teeming soil.

Indeed, in our entire galaxy we know of no other entity that has been so successful in cultivating the very ecological greening we so long for and aspire to. Truly, the Earth’s pattern of process which transformed our once barren planet into a thriving biosphere is the penultimate example of ecological contribution.

With our newly gained vantage over the planet’s primordial story coupled with the renaissance of respect for indigenous insights, we can at last begin to grasp the character of the Earth’s ways.

In surveying the planet’s shift over the eons from grey to green, we can observe six principles that comprise the Earth’s processes:

1. Observe how the Earth tends its elements into ever tighter cycles of reuse.
In other words, observe how the Earth’s has cycled its elements (in particular carbon) into nutrients, organisms and ecosystems, which themselves use their elements as indefinitely circular building blocks.

2. Observe how the Earth tends its cycles towards the upwards distribution of nutrients.
In other words, observe how surpluses are distributed upwards from organism to ecosystem, biome to biosphere.



Russell Maier
Earthen → Green ethics, ecological metaphysics, regenerative philosophy. Earth builder & Forest Gardener.