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What is Ecopsychology?

by Jon Barfield


John's reflections, below, were made as part of a conversation in the ICE (International Community for Ecopsychology) list-serve attempting to 'define' the field of ecopsychology. After a lively debate about our different definition, someone said "... it seems to me that seeking one universal set of answers or a unique MOK ('Mode of Knowing') may be part of our cultural problem rather than a solution to it."

This was Jon's response:

It seems to me that the perennial nature of
ecosophies is found in the diversity of ecosophies,
just like the diversity of places where we may grasp a
sense of the self, from deserts, to weeds busting
through damp concrete alleyways, to rainforests.

Where do we come from?
Why are we here?
Where are we going?

Ecopsychology, I believe, answers:
1) Rocks, soil, willow, Earth
2) We are here together.
3) Rocks, soil, willow, Earth.

Another dimension to these three questions may be
summed up in one: "Who am I?"

Ecopsychology, I believe, answers:

The way I understand it today (all subject to change):
As a way of knowing, its emphasis is collective
As a practice, its emphasis is service
As a philosophy, its emphasis is exploring HNR.
As a psychology, its emphasis is reconnecting
As a science, its emphasis is systems.
As an experience, its emphasis is expansiveness.
As a wisdom, its emphasis is love.
As a love, its emphasis is wisdom.
As a realityview, its emphasis is diversity
As a sense of self, its emphasis is relations
As a path, it is on the Earth
As a mission, it seeks peace.


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