Yong Huang shows us in the Overview Essay how Confucian virtue ethics do not merely urge us to take care of the human, but that care for all creation is indeed care for all humanity. We should protect the ten thousand things not merely for their own intrinsic value, but because they are a part of ourselves. “As a cloud cannot completely block the sunshine, selfish desires cannot completely block one’s original heart–mind” and that heart-mind is characterized by ren–humaneness or empathy–that makes us “be in one body” with the suffering of the planet and its inhabitants.



Overview Essay

In “Confucian Environmental Virtue Ethics,” Yong Huang of the Chinese University of Hong Kong holds up the work and writings of Wang Yangming and shows how Confucian ethics are essentially virtue ethics, where the focus is ren–humaneness, which can also be seen as empathy.


This listing was complied by John Berthrong (Boston University, emeritus). There are few works that directly connect ecology and the study of Confucianism. However, there is a growing body of literature that provides insight into the cultural, philosophic, historic, economic, and religious elements of Confucianism that do bear upon any consideration of the modern ecological worldview. This bibliography is divided into two parts: texts specifically related to the topic of Confucianism and ecology and, general, supportive reference works (by region) for understanding the larger context of Confucianism and ecology.


This statement was relased through ARC (Alliance of Religions and Conservation) and came out of a meeting in Trondheim in 2013. It is the the first ever Confucian statement on their teachings about ecology.

Engaged Projects

We are currently unaware of any active environmental projects operating within a Confucian framework. If you have a project that you believe should belong in this section, please message our webmaster using the Contact Form.

Sacred Texts
Here you will find a small selection of passages relating to Earth and the environment. This listing is by no means exhaustive, but serves as a jumping off point for further investigation.



Here you’ll find links to 2 additional articles on the topic of Confucianism and ecology.


Located here are multimedia offerings of interest, relating to the intersection of Confucianism and ecology.

Header photo: Hong San Kiong temple, Gudo, Jombang, Indonesia