Defining Ecopsychology, Part 1

by Robert Greenway

There is no common definition of “ecopsychology” –  to many,  in and out of academia,  it has come to mean any or all of the following:   a kind of “pop psychology” or quasi therapy that helps ease fears about the decline of “the natural world”;   just about any kind of environmental-social or environmental-political topic;   gardening, hikes in the wilderness,  fishing –  anything having to do with “humans” and “nature”  (with “nature” usually meaning something separate from humans).  Etc.
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The Environment: Comment from a Reader

Greetings,

I think we, all of us, ought to consider a little deeper our prolific use of the term the environment. This term suggests and fosters an attitude characterized by the belief / perception that nature is simply an object that exists somewhat separately from human beings. I would like to challenge everyone to consider using or coming up with other terms, terms instead that reflect the critically integrated relationship between human and nature, terms that will bring our thinking and being in line with that which we truly are part of like our own hearts being critically dependent on our own minds. When we say the environment we say that we are not part of it and thus that we are not a part of nature. The fact is that we are nature and our survival and thrival is dependent upon an understanding of this for  existence past, present and future.

To survive and thrive we need to accept, not fear,  the reality that it is not the environment we are trying to “save” but our selves. “Save the Humans” is a hauntingly apt t-shirt slogan I once saw.

Thank you for reading. I wonder if you are aware of others who have directly addressed the the use of the term the environment and how it inherently fosters further rift between us and nature. If so, I would greatly appreciate you letting me know about it.

Thank you.

Grady Sindlinger
Vancouver, Canada