“Is the earth dead or alive?” asked Carolyn Merchant in 1992. She continued,

The ancient cultures of east and west and the native peoples of America saw the earth as a mother, alive, active, and responsive to human action. Greeks and Renaissance Europeans conceptualized the cosmos as a living organism, with a body, soul, and spirit, and the earth as a nurturing mother with respiratory, circulatory, reproductive, and elimination systems. The relationship between most peoples and the earth was an I-thou ethic of propitiation to be made before damming a brook, cutting a tree, or sinking a mine shaft. Yet for the past three hundred years, Western mechanistic science and capitalism have viewed the earth as dead and inert, manipulable from outside, and exploitable for profits. The death of nature legitimated its domination. Colonial extractions of resources combined with industrial pollution and depletion have today pushed the whole earth to the brink of ecological destruction.

(Merchant 1992:41) Merchant had first formulated this narrative of loss of a living earth in the rise of science and capitalist exploitation of nature a dozen years earlier, in The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution (hereafter TDN) (Merchant 1980). In that work, she discovered Western oppression of women and nature embedded deep in the West’s intellectual and religious traditions, especially their expression in the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment. But Merchant overlooked how currents of the Scientific Revolution streamed in different channels carved by Europe’s cultural and religious diversity. From one of these “other,” less mechanistic, and more organic Scientific Revolutions, flowed 162modern ecological science. Moreover, the surprising fountainhead from which it flowed was the theology of John Calvin.