Resources related with Ecopsychology
Ecopsychology is on the cutting edge of a shift in how we see the world and ourselves. It views many of the problems we face today as being caused by our separation from our roots in the natural world. It finds many useful solutions through reestablishing connections to those roots. As a discipline, eco-psychology studies the interaction of human beings and their environments. As a therapy it seeks to return people to a balanced relationship with their environment. — Allison Ewoldt
The Tetons, WY © Suzanne Duarte
Coping With Environmental Transitions: Some Attentional Benefits of Walking by Raymond De Young 3/10 - Coping with the challenges of global climate disruption and the peaking of the rate of fossil fuel production will require behavioral change on a massive scale. There are many skills that will help individuals deal with this coming transition but none more central than the abilities to problem-solve creatively, plan and restrain behavior, and manage the emotions that result from the loss of an affluent lifestyle. These abilities require a mental state called vitality.
Ecological Trauma and Recovery by Rex Weyler 7/5/09 - As a global community, we often appear as a dysfunctional family. We bicker constantly, the strong abuse the weak, and alleged leaders behave like addicts, unwilling to change the destructive habits that are destroying our home. As in any abusive relationship, the powerful proclaim a taboo against protest and vilify those who cry out as the crazy ones.
Ecotherapy: Slowing Down to Nature's Pace by Linda Buzzell 6/10/09 - Not so very long ago, humans -- like the rest of the animals and plants on earth -- moved through our natural cycles at nature's pace. In the last 150 years, however, the human relationship with time has radically changed. Some say the problems started earlier, with the development of agriculture or writing, but it was really the Industrial Revolution -- the rise of the Machine -- that put humans in thrall to mechanical processes and machine time. Industrial time was bad enough (Charlie Chaplin did a wonderful job of visualizing that "cog in the wheel" feeling in his film "Modern Times") but Cybertime can be dizzyingly discombobulating for a Pleistocene primate. And that's how many modern people feel -- completely frazzled and out of sync with our deepest selves.
Why Isn’t the Brain Green? by Jon Gertner 4/16/09 - Decision science is a branch of behavioral research situated at the intersection of psychology and economics. It focuses on the mental processes that shape our choices, behaviors and attitudes. At the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions – or CRED - the primary objective is to study how perceptions of risk and uncertainty shape our responses to climate change and other weather phenomena like hurricanes and droughts. Cognitive psychologists now broadly accept that we have different systems for processing risks: analytical and emotional. In analytical mode, we are not always adept at long-term thinking and tend to undervalue promised future outcomes. Emotional and experiential feelings of risk are superb drivers of action. But, unfortunately, such lessons may arrive too late for corrective action.
Natural Happiness by Paul Bloom 4/15/09 - Put aside for the moment practical considerations like the need for clean air and water, and ignore as well spiritual worries about the sanctity of Mother Earth or religious claims that we are the stewards of creation. Look at it from the coldblooded standpoint of the enhancement of the happiness of our everyday lives. Real natural habitats provide significant sources of pleasure for modern humans. We intuitively grasp this, and this knowledge underlies the anxiety that we feel about nature’s loss. This basic fact about human pleasure is an excellent argument for keeping the real thing.
Good-bye Industrialism, Hello Life by Dave Ewoldt 3/21/09 - Reconnecting and relocalizing. This combination is a viable, realistic, and systemic response to global crises that can improve quality of life in a manner that is actually more in keeping with human nature in a creative, life-affirming universe.
Robert Greenway: The Ecopsychology Interview by Thomas Joseph Doherty 3/09 - I work towards an ecopsychology that will find within language an accurate articulation of the human-nature relationship. This will of course be based on experience, but will be couched in language, and perhaps deepened by ritual and art. It must take up the deepest meanings of relationships in general and relationships between “mind” and “nature” in particular. It will be based on a variety of “modes of knowing” (neither ignoring nor privileging science). It must not be within the constraints of a particular psychology, nor within a specific natural history discipline, but will be “integral,” in that it will draw insight from all past and current attempts to depict “nature” from the human perspective. If ecopsychology is meant to accurately depict the human–nature relationship, it must rise above and beyond configurations and communities of thought that are embedded in the dualistic illusion.
Climate Change Takes A Mental Toll by Emily Anthes 2/9/09 - No one can predict what effect warming will have on our psyches. But even in the face of uncertainty, specialists say the indirect effects of global warming could be substantial. In the long term, we may derive some psychological benefit from banding together with other citizens to mitigate the effects of global warming. Taking action might not only give us back a sense of our own sense of efficacy against a powerful outside force, but also help us build community and social ties that offset stress. Getting involved can be an antidote to the depression that can come from the overwhelming realizations that we have to face.
The Cognitive Benefits of Interacting With Nature by Marc G. Berman, John Jonides, and Stephen Kaplan 5/28/08 - We compare the restorative effects on cognitive functioning of interactions with natural versus urban environments. Attention restoration theory (ART) provides an analysis of the kinds of environments that lead to improvements in directed-attention abilities. Nature, which is filled with intriguing stimuli, modestly grabs attention in a bottom-up fashion, allowing top-down directed-attention abilities a chance to replenish. Unlike natural environments, urban environments are filled with stimulation that captures attention dramatically and additionally requires directed attention (e.g., to avoid being hit by a car), making them less restorative. We present two experiments validating attention restoration theory, and show that simple and brief interactions with nature can produce marked increases in cognitive control. To consider the availability of nature as merely an amenity fails to recognize the vital importance of nature in effective cognitive functioning.
Eco-Anger: A Worldview under Threat, Part 2: Personal Insights into What’s Up by Sarah Anne Edwards 5/13/08
The Waking Up Syndrome by Sarah Anne Edwards and Linda Buzzell 4/08 - While the sky may not be falling, the day-after-day onslaught of alarming news is making it more difficult simply to overlook the triple threat of environmental, climatic and economic concerns. It's leaving many of us feeling like Alice in Wonderland, being sucked down a Rabbit Hole into some frighteningly grotesque and unfamiliar world that's anything but wonderful.
Eco-Anxiety: Why Eco-Therapy? by Sarah Anne Edwards 4/26/08 - Many of the problems we face today are the direct result of living in a society that is at odds with the both inborn human nature and the earth’s ecology. Much of the distress both the planet and we are experiencing now is a result of this mismatch. Being in and interacting with nature allows us to experience and learn about a more compatible alternative for how to live.
Eco-Anxiety: A Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome by Sarah Anne Edwards 4/17/08 - Loss of expectations for the future and who we will be within it, and hopes for a semblance of normalcy, help predict those most vulnerable to pre-traumatic stress syndrome.
What Does Climate Change Do To Our Heads? by Sanjay Khanna 3/21/08 - If the environmental degradation of the past hundred years is any indication, our contemporary lifestyles, built on a dwindling resource base, have failed to acknowledge how much the mental health of people and ecosystems is interrelated.
Do You Have a Panglossian Disorder? or Economic and Planetary Collapse: Is it a Therapeutic Issue? by Kathy McMahon, Psy.D. 11/13/07 - A Panglossian perspective denies the need for constructive action, and leads to complacency and a worsening of our world’s woes. I’ve come to think about the Panglossian perspective as not optimism itself, but as a defense against pessimism. This defense takes many forms, as I’ve described above, and I’d like to describe why so many of us NEED a defense against pessimism, and how, unfortunately, my profession of psychology has been so instrumental in fueling that defense.
Living for the Moment while Devaluing the Future by Nate Hagens 6/1/07 - The debate on the realities of both climate change and Peak Oil has moved from 'are they real?' to questions concerning timing, magnitude and impact. At the same time, expanding research in 'temporal discounting' in economics (called 'impulsivity' in psychology), is shedding light on how steeply we value the present over the future, a trait that has ancient origins. Knowing this tendency, how can we expect factual updates on peak oil and climate change to behaviorally compete with Starbucks, sex, slot machines, and ski trips? (See link for charts, graphs, and illustrations.)
Is the Modern Psyche Undergoing a Rite of Passage? By Richard Tarnas - We have sought ever deeper insight into our individual biographies, seeking to recover the often hidden sources of our present condition, to render conscious those unconscious forces and complexes that shape our lives. Many now recognize that same task as critical for our entire civilization. What individuals and psychologists have long been doing has now become the collective responsibility of our culture: to make the unconscious conscious.
Wilderness Rites Of Passage by John Davis - Across time and in countless ways, people of many cultures have gone into the wilderness to mark life transitions and seek guidance. They sought closeness with God, the Mystery, or a higher self. They found a time alone, exposure to the elements in an unfamiliar place, a radical shift in self and world, a trial and a gift, and a ritual death and rebirth. The core of the form was clear: leaving the ordinary world, crossing a threshold, and returning with a gift and a task. It was an initiation, a rite of passage, a new birth in the womb of the natural world. Modern cultures seem to have forgotten most of what our ancestors knew about the importance of initiatory rites for sustaining individuals and their communities. Instead, we find ourselves strangers in our own lives, unsure of our status and value, and hungry for a connection with the abiding rhythms of the earth and an enduring spirit.
Nature and Madness by Paul Shepard - My question is: why does society persist in destroying its habitat?
Awakening The Ecological Unconscious by Theodore Roszak -
Ecopsychology: healing our alienation from the rest of Creation
What is Ecopsychology? by John Davis
What is EcoPsychology? by Robert Greenway
Earth Stories by David Abram - The story of life is encoded in the landscape around us.
Back to Nature - on Nature-Deficit Disorder in the UK
The Psychological Benefits Of Wilderness by Garrett Duncan
Groundwork by Bill Plotkin
Enhancing Emotional Wellness In A Collapsing World - Carolyn Baker Interviews Carla Royal, M.Ed.
Now we are Human Commodities by Chris Maser - On the pain of corporate rule and how to get out of the consumer trap we’re ensnared in.
"Re-learning" what we've forgotten by Chris Maser - On regaining an economy of reciprocity with each other and our bioregion and biosphere: the way to become appropriately adapted to our planet.
Ecopsychology websites and e-newsletters
Gatherings: journal of the International Community for Ecopsychology
Seeds for Thought: a collaborative blog by the International Community for Ecopsychology
Great Turning Times: A quarterly newsletter with information about ecopsychology, deep ecology, and the Work That Reconnects in the UK and beyond.
Ecopsychology Quarterly Online: The new, peer-reviewed online journal Ecopsychology explores the relationship between environmental issues and mental health and well-being. This quarterly journal examines the psychological, spiritual, and therapeutic aspects of human-nature relationships, concern about environmental issues, and responsibility for protecting natural places and other species.
Children & Nature News and Commentary – Building a Movement to Reconnect Children and Nature
Eco-Anxiety by Sarah Anne Edwards - Feeling concerned about the seriousness of what is taking place ecologically in the world today and the personal, spiritual, and economic consequences is not a mental illness. It’s a normal reaction to a growing awareness of a real threat and a call for healing and action by caring individuals and helping professionals.
The Pine Mountain Institute provides online continuing education (CE) programs for professionals wanting to help others respond creatively and intelligently to today's intertwined ecological and economic challenges.
Nature's Wisdom - The Quarterly Newsletter of Pine Mountain Institute
Animas Valley Institute — The Institute’s mission is to contribute to radical cultural change and global transformation by fostering nature-based personal development and thus the maturation of individuals and the human species. We support each participant to access and embody the world-changing and vital creativity at his or her core.
Scuola di Ecopsicologia – School of Ecopsychology, Italy
Linda Buzzell and Craig Chalquist: Ecotherapy: Healing with Nature in Mind 2009
Paul Shepard: Nature and Madness, 1982
Theodore Roszak: Where the Wasteland Ends: Politics and Transcendence in Postindustrial Society, 1972; The Voice of the Earth: an Exploration of Ecopsychology, 1992; Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind, 1995, with Mary E. Gomes and Allen D. Kanner.
Joanna Macy: Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World, 1998 , with Molly Young Brown
Bill Plotkin: Soulcraft: Crossing into the Mysteries of Nature and Psyche, 2003. See review here. AND: Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World, 2007
Ohky Simine Forest: Dreaming the Council Ways: True Native Teachings From the Red Lodge, 2000
Alberto Villoldo: Shaman, Healer, Sage: How to Heal Yourself and Others with the Energy Medicine of the Americas, 2000; AND Mending the Past and Healing the Future with Soul Retrieval, 2005
For more on Ecopsychology, see Psycho-Spiritual Evolution and The Animistic Soul Re-Emerges, and their links. If you are interested in the MA in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology with an Ecopsychology concentration at Naropa University, see this page.
In Canyonlands, Utah © Suzanne Duarte
© 2010 Suzanne Duarte