Sessions

Session One: Wild Nature

Session Two: Shifting Paradigms

Session Three: Nature and Spirit

Session Four: The Universe Story

Session Five: Ecopsychology

Session Six: Bringing It Down to Earth

(Updated June 2016)

 

Session One: Wild Nature

In New and Selected Poems (2004), Pulitzer Prizewinning poet Mary Oliver captures the power and beauty of our natural world. In An Unspoken Hunger: Stories from the Field (1994), Terry Tempest Williams contends that lack of intimacy with the natural world results in a lack of intimacy with one another. She calls on us to find the courage and heart to stand our ground in the places we love. Orion magazine delves into the connections between nature, science, justice, art, and politics. Read selected articles or subscribe online at: www.orionmagazine.org. In Home Ground, Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez and Debra Gwartney, forty-five writers describe their unique landscapes. Green Fire, a film about Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for our time, was produced by the Aldo Leopold Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the Center for Humans and Nature.

Session Two: Shifting Paradigms

In Deep Ecology: Living As If Nature Mattered, Bill Devall and George Sessions make the case that the ecological crisis is a mortal one, its roots lie in human consciousness, and that consciousness must be changed. By placing human beings on an absolutely equal footing with all the other creatures on the planet, they propose a new environmentalism that goes deeper than the conventional understanding. In Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, Michael E. Zimmerman et al. offers several philosophical diagnoses of the current ecological crisis. The book is divided into five sections, each dealing with a particular approach to ecological issues, and each edited and introduced by a leading author in the field. The Trumpeter Journal of Ecosophy is an online open-access journal that offers short stories, poetry, book reviews, and essays on deep ecology from the foremost thinkers in the field. (Deep Ecology/Environmental Philosophy)

Session Three: Nature and Spirit

Care for Creation by Ilia Delio, Keith Warner and Pam Wood (2008) presents a contemporary Franciscan spirituality of creation. In The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology (2008), Thich Nhat Hanh combines insights with practical strategies to shows how acceptance of problems is that first critical step toward a deeper understanding of caring for Earth. Bill Moyers, an acclaimed interviewer on PBS, has spoken with many of the most influential voices in eco-spirituality movement. Interviews are accessible in video and written transcript form in the “Is God Green?” series. Earth Prayers From around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth by Elizabeth Roberts provides insights and inspiration. The Pachamama Alliance is committed to preserving Earth’s tropical rainforests by empowering the indigenous people who are its natural custodians.

Session Four: The Universe Story

In Cosmic Conversations: Dialogues on the Nature of the Universe and the Search for Reality (2009), Stephan Martin and Brian Swimme present a collection of interviews with the top thinkers on the nature of the universe and our relationship to it. Scientists, mystics, indigenous elders, and cultural creatives all share their unique voices on the nature of reality, the interplay of science and religion, the future of humanity, and the role of each person in a mysterious and evolving universe. Bioneers is inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, other people, and future generations. Awakening the Dreamer Program is a program of the Pachamama Alliance. It aims to wake people up from the destructive dream in which we are currently devouring the planet, and to inspire us then to step consciously into a new dream, the pursuit of an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just human presence on this Earth. Journey of the Universe (film) and Center for the Story of the Universe (books and more).

Session Five: Ecopsychology

In The Voice of the Earth (2009), Theodore Roszak explores the correlation between the degraded condition of Earth and the uneasy state of the human psyche. He elaborates on the conflict between our devaluation of the natural world—the result of an outdated picture of the universe as mindless matter in motion—and the contemporary model of the universe as a web of open, evolving, and interrelated systems. In Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life (2002), Andy Fisher explores the psychological roots of our ecological crisis, while reintroducing the human mind with its own matrix of well being. He argues that the power of nature can heal the fragmentation seen in today’s psyche. In Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature—Deficit Disorder (2008), Richard Louv calls attention to the absence of nature in children’s lives today; see also the Children & Nature Network. The Gatherings journal of the International Community for Ecopsychology offers a collection of articles, essays, poetry, and related news on the topic of Ecopsychology.

Session Six: Bringing It Down to Earth

Voluntary Simplicity (2003) by Duane Elgin gets to the heart of simplicity, serving as a primer for ecological living. Communing with Nature (2001) by John Swanson is “a guidebook for enhancing your relationship with the living earth.” Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is an account of her family’s year as locavores. Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture (2000; 2009) by Toby Hemenway, has been the bestselling permaculture book in the world for the last six years. The film Food, Inc., addresses the current state of the food industry and factory farming; it also features Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, and other food experts. The winner of the Sundance Audience Award, The Cove, is a compelling documentary that addresses many issues of deep ecology and highlights the slaughter of dolphins in a remote cove in Japan.