The EarthLab Carbon Calculator

Nick Uren from the EarthLab Foundation sent us this tool to help us each make a personal difference in the fight against climate change.

EarthLab Carbon Calculator

Ecotherapy: Nature Reconnection as a Powerful, Transformational healing practice – A workshop by Linda Buzzell, MA, LMFT, PDC

2016 April Buzzell Image for Workshop

When:  May 13 to May 15, 2016, Friday to Sunday

Where: Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus

Exciting new research is revealing that various nature reconnection practices are powerful medicine for improved mental and physical health—in fact, many now qualify as “evidence-based medicine.” Yet little training has been available for those wanting to include the various ecotherapies in their professional healing practices or personal lives. On the beautiful Ladera campus of Pacifica Graduate Institute in Santa Barbara, nestled between the mountains and the ocean, our intensive weekend will cover the many different applied ecopsychology methods now being practiced in consulting rooms and outdoor spaces around the world. 

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New Book – The Green Troubadour

Responding to the question of whether shamanic practice can be coupled with the performing arts, David Sparenberg promotes the concept of ecosophy as the integrative link between these seemingly distanced forms of embodiment.  In The Green Troubadour, he looks at ways in which ecosophy can be the common understanding — the value system — weaved into both the process and the outcome of performance.  In the actor, therefore, we find the eco-shaman performing, healing, and being healed. Continue Reading →

Some Good News (for a Change!)

By Amy Lenzo
(first published in the ICE blog)

Two media communications coming out of the first part of 2016 are making my heart sing!

The most recent was Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscars “Best Actor” acceptance speech for his role in The Revenant. In it he spoke out forcefully about the critical threat of Climate Change, giving specifics about the collective response he sees needed to address it and a special shout out for First Nations peoples whose “voices have been drown out by the politics of greed”. It brought a smile to this man’s face as well:

Leonardo-Acceptance

The other was Al Gore’s latest TED Talk on the Case for Optimism on Climate Change, where he talks first about the continuing seriousness and ongoing effects of climate change, and then moves on to share some of the changes we ARE making and how those changes are impacting what is now possible, and what our future can hold. A hugely inspiring talk from this courageous and visionary Nobel Laureate:

The Nature Kids Institute

The founder of Nature Kids Institute (NKI), Kenny Ballentine, adds to the growing voice of nature-based organizations whose raison d’etre is to strengthen children’s familiarity and bond with the environment.  Through his organization, the Nature Kids Institute, his simple message is — help children develop a relationship with nature by promoting the idea that children should spend more time in natural areas.

The premise behind NKI’s message is that people care more about those persons, places, or things with whom they have relationships.  And what better time to develop a relationship than in childhood!  Adults, as decision makers and guides, are called upon as pivotal agents in growing the relationship between kids and nature.  Thus, NKI’s tools are intended to help adults introduce and maintain nature in children’s lives. Continue Reading →

Losing Contact With Nature

One woman’s opinion, by Amy Lenzo
First published on the ICE blog

MonbiotArticleOn reading an article by George Monbiot in the UK Guardian called If Children Lose Contact With Nature They Won’t Fight For It … I agree wholeheartedly with Monbiot’s title, but my hackles rise at the (to me) lazy & inaccurate argument that follows, “blaming” the entire problem at the door of on-screen-engagement.

The truth is that while large-scale social conditions have indeed changed our children’s freedoms and access to the natural world (there’s a lot more happening here than the rise of the internet, folks), I believe that those little screens also hold some part of the way back for many of us (and our children).

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New publication: The Tao of Sustainability

George Ripley presents us with a timely and urgent message for this new year with his book, Tao of Sustainability.  Perhaps no more salient than now, this book will propose the Daoist way of being one with nature as a substitute to the nature-separation story, and its maladaptive effects, to which we have subscribed.

Published by Three Pines Press, a leading publisher of Taoist works.

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Nature’s Healing Touch for Dementia

tree_canopyAuthor, Ecotherapist, and ICE member Linda Buzzell runs a small but very active mailing list for eco-therapists, and there are often wonderful exchanges on it.

One conversation thread I thought was of particular interest started with a link Linda posted to an article citing research about the value of gardening and being outside for the mental and physical well-being of people with dementia.

Linda’s post was followed up with a lovely personal comment from one of the list members about how her mother had spent her last years in a hospital-connected care center with a wetlands park where they would spend many peaceful hours together bird-watching. That post, in turn, was followed by one from another member sharing two videos about Matthew Lysobey, a visionary director of the Arroyo Care Center whose philosophy places the natural world at the center of keeping elders healthy and full of life.

This series of exchanges was both inspirational and of practical value to me, so I thought I would share it here in case it would be of help to others, too.

PROBOSCIDEA – The Emotional Lives of Elephants

by Mary A. Hernandez

2015 Proboscidea Image1After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Hamish John Appleby is working on the publication of his book, Proboscidea – the Emotional Lives of Elephants.  This 190-page book will be sent to eligible Kickstarter funders in March 2016, according to the crowdfunding site.  Thereafter, the picturesque book will be available through the main website at www.proboscidea.org.

Proboscidea – The Emotional Lives of Elephants focuses on Asian elephants whose numbers, Appleby noted, are considered “critically endangered” at roughly 25,000-40,000 individuals.  In comparison, the larger African elephant, whose valued tusks leave it greatly vulnerable to ivory poachers, are 470,000 in number (World Wildlife Fund, n.d.).

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The Arrowhead

by Pat Holland

2015 BetterArrowheadPix-Holland

Sometimes my winter walks across the farm were more like winter scrambles than rambles. Whenever the earth froze and hid under a thin layer of snow, footing was chancy. Even a clump of dried grass could cause a stumble.  Putting a foot down in mud often ended in a too-swift slide downhill.

Yesterday, I took the long path down to the creek. I heard wild turkeys gobbling down there—I supposed they were talking to each other about the weather and walking conditions. Birds walking? Yes, from previous trips down that path, I knew that the flock of turkeys rarely lifted off to fly more than a few feet above my head.  When I spotted them yesterday, they were keeping their heads down—probably looking for food—and good footing.

I was keeping my head down too, watching the obstacles in my path so I wouldn’t stumble. Then I saw it, an arrowhead gleaming in the sunlight.  Weather conditions were just right; the ground heaved it up into the light from deep below the frost line. I knew that during a hard freeze the ground would often swell upwards and bring buried treasures to the surface.

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A New Psychology for Sustainability Leadership

Exploring themes in the personal development of sustainability leaders
A book review by Mary A. Hernandez

*****

A New Psychology of Sustainability Leadership:  The Hidden Power of Ecological Worldviews

by Steven Schein 2015 Greenleaf Publishing

Steven Shein is both a professor and a highly experienced entrepreneur with a Ph.D. in human development and organization systems.  Drawing on his own experiences with nature and his companionship with others who are likewise nature-oriented, his personal stories of communion and revelation in nature draws us into his own motivation to becoming curious about other leaders equally concerned about the environmental crisis.  His interests are inclusive and extend to eastern, aboriginal, and depth psychologies.  The author’s educational and occupational backgrounds and interests position him well to make recommendations related to the topics presented in the book.
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I AM STANDING IN THIS PLACE

by David Sparenberg, author of Life in the Age of Extinctions

i am standing now
i am standing in this place:

i am standing at ocean shore
i am talking with water
with sand and water
(in mist
of betwixt and between)
i give myself to you
may my presence
be healing energy
do not abandon
the children of humanity

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Home Life Could Be Simpler

Home Life Could Be Simpler:  
Perceptions of Home Among Married Couples While Staying at an Eco-lodge

Dr. Tal Litvak Hirsch, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Dr. Alon Lazar, Independent scholar

Eco Lodge NegevAbstract
Individuals relate to their homes in a myriad of ways. The current study suggests that in order to expand our understanding of people’s perceptions of “home” it would be beneficial to also consider these perceptions when individuals are on vacation, and especially in locations in which living arrangements are very different from their homes. Inspection of the perceptions of married Jewish-Israeli couples who holidayed at an eco-lodge in the Israeli desert revealed that the disparity between the two abodes was generally positive and similar. The wives were more prone to point out that the stay at the eco-lodge, led them to consider the possibility of conducting their homes in a simpler manner. The results are discussed in light of social behavior , connectivity to nature and consumerism.

FOR MORE
Download a PDF of the full article – Home life could be simpler
Download a PDF of Tables – Home life could be simpler – Tables

The Earth Manifesto

Earth Manifesto

The Earth Manifesto:  Saving Nature with Engaged Ecology
by David Tracey
Rocky Mountain Books
ISBN 9781927330890

Reviewed by John Scull

Here is a small review of this deceptively small book (132 pages), which is much bigger on the inside.  David Tracey (author of Guerilla Gardening) introduces the idea of “Engaged Ecology”, or E2, which has six laws:

  1. Nature is Here
  2. Wilderness is Within
  3. Cities are Alive
  4. The Earth is Our Witness
  5. We Have the Right to Clean Air, Pure Water, Healthy Soil
  6. Engaged Ecology Creates a Community

The first three chapters cover the first three “laws”, which come down to connecting to your place and with yourself.  Then the next three chapters cover what to do with this connection – join a small group where you are and do what you can to cool the earth and support biodiversity.  Engaged Ecology is what Ecopsychology should be about  — local, personal, and reflective, but also global, communitarian, and active.