Dr. Peter Doran is a lecturer in law at the School of Law at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and a senior editor and writer with the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s reporting services at the United Nations. Peter is also a founding member of the Green Party in Northern Ireland and a long-time activist. He has been an effective advocate for the circular economy, ethical investing, and environmental protection. Having worked for many years as a journalist, Peter has an impressive ability to capture and explain the complex relationships between economics, politics, and the global environmental movement.
The backdrop for our conversation is Peter’s 2017 book, A Political Economy of Attention, Mindfulness and Consumerism: Reclaiming the Commons. We step back to explore what it means that humanity has now moved into a new era in the history of planet, the Anthropocene. What are the prospects that this age of destruction will be followed by a new Axial age? Against the backdrop of the possibility of an ecological civilization, we discuss what it would mean to reintegrate society, politics, and spirituality.
Peter’s work is particularly intriguing in the ways that it combines a deep interest in spirituality with his critical work on political economy, planetary well-being, and the Anthropocene. Among the spiritual traditions, Peter is especially influenced by Zen Buddhism. But he also lists among his formative experiences his three-year residency at the famous Taize Ecumenical Community in France, where he worked alongside its founder, Brother Roger Schutz.