Our Anthropological Background: humanity’s origins in nature as indigenous hunter-gatherers and the impact of the loss of this lifestyle on us today (includes positive and negative impacts).
Culture and human beings’ perceptions of ourselves. Essentially, do we believe we belong in-and-to nature, and do we see our wellbeing linked to this? Or, do we see our own bodies and minds as intrinsically unnatural and therefore an inherent threat to nature when we venture out into it? This fear of human beings’ assumed taint infecting nature is problematic and is rooted in the thinking that humans can only hurt nature. Furthermore the idea that there is or ever has been such a thing as “pure wilderness” is bogus to the thousands of years of sustainable indigenous lifeways intimately connected to the land.
Overview of the field of Ecopsychology, or the psychology of human beings’ relationship, or lack of relationship, with nature.
Modern-day health and youth issues concerning children and adolescents. An increase in childhood obesity, ADHD, childhood depression, lack of physical coordination, lack of awareness of the natural world, lack of free-play time in nature, and problems with traditional, industrial-era schooling as a way of hindering and suppressing healthy human development.
Community. Do we have it? What defines it? Can there truly be such a thing as a deeply intact and resilient community when modern people can move from place to place so easily? How does this contribute to a lack of deep connection to and personal identity with the land we live on?
Provided that modern civilization will continue to exist for a while, how can we best adapt to preserve the blessings of modern life and technology while resurrecting the lost and vital keys of ancient lifeways? Example: “Cohousing” is a modern housing solution increasingly in popularity. It strives to allow modern urban people to live in close community, sharing resources and often growing their own food, while maintaining professional lives at the same time.
Spirituality and nature: how is spirituality the way in which all of these broken connections are healed? Nature is, arguably, one of the root inspirations of every religion in the world. It is inevitably a strong force on our collective imaginations, dreams, visions, insights and longings. Poetry is one of my favorite ways to access this, what is often called The Original World, The World Behind the World, Animas Mundi, The Soul of the World, and so many more names. When we go into Nature to seek wholeness and health, we must not forget this ineffable element of wonder, awe, beauty and power which goes with us, and finds us there.
Abram, D. (2010). Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. New York: Pantheon Books.
Louv, R. (2005). Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.
Jung, C. (2002). The Earth Has a Soul: The Nature Writings of C.G. Jung (M. Sabini, Ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books.
Picken, S. (2002). Shinto Meditations for Revering the Earth. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press.
Plotkin, B. (2008). Nature and the Human Soul: Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World. Novato, Calif.: New World Library.
Wells, S. (2010). Pandora’s Seed: The Unforseen Cost of Civilization. New York: Random House.
Meade, M. (2014, December 22). Golden Repair of the Cracks in the World. Retrieved April 13, 2015, from http://www.mosaicvoices.org/index.html . (The Audio Speeches of Michael Meade, Mythologist and Comedic Elder)