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Report on the European Ecospychology Society Conference
in Aosta Valley, Italy
Sept 29 - Oct 1, 2006

by Jorge Conesa-Sevilla


The recipe for the conference was simple: invite fifty or so students and professionals from many fields who are committed to, interested in, or curious about ecopsychology and let them interact with one another via meaningful and relevant activities for three days (poster sessions, keynote speakers, roundtable discussions in education, philosophy, and counseling as well as practical workshops). Choose an inspiring rural setting with modern facilities to make these interactions comfortable and educationally efficient with the option of partaking of an alpine landscape at a moment’s notice. Eat Italian mountain food and listen to music in the evenings. Invite participants to explore archeo-astronomy sites, visit the planetarium, and go on walks to an ancient hermitage. Be a friend, brother, sister, mother or father to somebody else.

Except for one misunderstanding about location with a fellow Canadian eco-ally (we apologize profusely!!), they came: from Greece, Uruguay, Italy, the United States, and UK. Buddhist nuns, educators, physical ed. instructors, psychologists, counselors, park
rangers and many other professionals were in attendance. They spoke French, Italian, English, Greek, Spanish, and with their collective wisdom, about the same ideas: How can eco-counseling better impact education? How can we utilize Italian parks for ecopsychological practices? How do we expand the healing circle to include more countries and the work of isolated eco-allies? How can we charter EES to other countries and persons so that grassroots efforts can blossom with the help of a mother organization? How do we create better connections with other ecopsychological organizations? How do we enlist the help of local authorities, the press, and politicians
to implement this healing? Meanwhile, with the questioning we also learned and discussed specific ecopsychological practices and therapies.

In between these sessions there was food: homemade Italian pizza cooked in an outside oven, hunting for mushrooms and using them in a simple pasta dish, or sampling a dozen cheeses and local wines. When sleep came it came fast and sweet under the alpine stars—which are the same stars for half of the planet but for those three nights were particularly brilliant, almost announcing a birth.

First there were ten and now there are fifty or more EES members. The unanimous desire was to convene in another conference two years from that October date. Ideas were volunteered to host the second EES conference in a convent near Rome, or in Greece, or even as far away as Uruguay. The fifty are adamant that they will bring another fifty. The fifty in attendance made a sacrifice of time away from their
families, a monetary sacrifice, but are unanimous in their knowledge that in these desperate times it is our collective actions and organizing that could help tilt the balance toward sanity. In the midst of planetary and psychological turmoil we are a family
among many others keeping our children safe and promoting the type of parental practices (human-growth practices) that can assist others in ecopsychological
becoming. At the very least, we are acting like a safe house for when the world returns to its sense.

Let’s expand the healing circle, wherever we are, whatever we do.



European Ecopsychology Society

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