"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
Mind and nature are inseparable. The natural world is not outside of us or separate from us, but it us. Ecopsychology is an exciting emerging perspective that explores the connection between psychological and ecological health. Many of our psychological ills and our addictions are directly related to our lack of awareness and our perceived disconnection from our natural origins. The very destruction of our habitat is an expression of this lack of connection to the ground of our being. There are many emerging approaches to deal with this, such as the greening of playgrounds, nature-based therapy, architecture that aims to connect us with a healthy habitat, and the exploration of our assumptions.
We will explore the historical and cultural influences underlying and leading up to this perceived separation from nature, cultural differences in perspectives, assumptions in psychology, the connections between pathology and this perceived separateness from nature, and the role of connectedness with nature in child development. We will also explore the role of innovation, creativity and Active Hope in ecopsychological healing.
- To allow students to gain a deepening understanding of historical and cultural influences on our perceptions of our place in the ecology.
- To gain a deepening understanding of the impact of our perceptions, beliefs and cosmologies on the ecology and our psychological wellness.
- To explore personal change and transformation.
- To explore the “Three Stories of Our Times”: Business as Usual; The Great Unraveling; The Great Turning.
- To examine the role and relevance of Ecopsychology in psychological health.
- To examine the role of psychological health and Active Hope in planetary transformation
Progress toward the learning goals will be demonstrated through thoughtful participation in class discussions, experiential activities and through the following assignments:
Ecopsychology: Science, Totems & the Technological SpeciesKahn, Peter H., Hasbach, Patricia H., Editors (2012) Cambridge: The MIT Press
Haskell, David (2017) The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature's Great Connectors: NY: Penguin Books
- The student will keep a daily journal. Each session the student will share a brief (one-two page) sample shared from the journal. This will be uploaded to Canvas for my review each week. The student will be prepared to share the content of this paper at each session in a small group or with the class as a whole (depending on class size).
- The student will engage in a self-exploration exercise involving an in-depth values clarification and an exploration as to how these values are actualized.
- “The Listening Post in Nature”- Plug in to a root system that draws up insight and inspiration for you. More to be described in class. This involves the student going outside alone everyday if possible.
- The student will present a final piece that expresses the student's view his/her place in the ecology. This could be poetry, a painting, collage or music.
- Eco-challenge: Identify goals and resources
Prior to the current crisis, I had planned a rich and engaging course for the term. I expect that the course will indeed be as rich and as engaging as we had envisioned, even as we all adapt to working remotely. We will keep roughly to the advertised schedule for the course. Much of our work will take place in online spaces where people can engage on their own schedule, but some of our work will require us all to be online at the same time. All of those online meetings will take place during the times advertised for the program/course. The mode of technology will be Canvas and Zoom. For this quarter we will meet twice a week, Mondays and Tuesdays during the second half of the quarter.
Some of you may have difficulties in adjusting to this remote mode of teaching and learning. In particular, you will need to have reliable internet access as well as a device appropriate for online learning. It would be best, for instance, if you don’t have to rely on your cell phone as your computer. If you don’t think that you can rely on having a computer or tablet along with internet service during the quarter, please write back as soon as possible. I will help you troubleshoot your problems in gaining access.