Walking in the forest, lying on the beach, a chance encounter with a bird in the park…..such experiences with the world beyond humans are vital to our lives.
Yet we are so slow to react to climate change, which threatens the whole of nature, including our own species. What inspires people to wake up and live more sustainably? While practical and behavioural change is essential, how do we move deeper into this inquiry? What makes our dominant culture treat the earth as a bunch of objects at our disposal, as if humans were the only species that really mattered? What makes us flourish and what makes us ill? Can other cultural perspectives help here?
These questions lie at the heart of ecopsychology.
Ecopsychology is an inquiry and practice into how we make a radical change in relationship to self and other. On a domestic level this is about making change in what we eat, how we grow food, how we deal with waste, how we relate to the other-than-human world. This means living and working together as communities, and questioning human superiority, asking what drives us to consume, and what creates conflict around food, energy, land. This is also about change in the wider sphere of work, of business and corporate relationships of governance, policy and law. It is about a change in relationship between human and other-than human.
For those in the mental health professions and healing, it can be a challenge to see the connections between global crisis and personal suffering. Yet climate change makes us see just how clear this connection is: it has been created by the collection of our individual actions (some more than others!); it affects us all on every level from physical to psychological to spiritual to ecological to political. This global crisis is deeply personal. The solutions lie not in old ways of thinking, but in a shift in consciousness.
While this need for change may seem simply too overwhelming, when we find like-minded others on similar journeys of inquiry, it is possible to move from a sense of deadening apathy to recovering our love for the earth, for others, for ourselves. From despair to empowerment, meaning and purpose.
We hope this website can help you find your way to connections and insight at this most crucial time.
“A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true value of a human being is determined by the measure and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive”.
Albert Einstein, 1954.
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