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by Mark A. Schroll, Ph.D.
Antioch-McGregor University, Ohio

We are the survivors, the eternal survivors
Androgynous energies traveling through time.
Nick Turner, 1994

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This narrative of ecopsychology is the most recent revision of my ongoing attempt to compile a periodically updated journal or chronicle of meetings, conversations, and significant publications. I invite all of us to write chronicles of the life experiences that have led to our involvement with ecopsychology. Comparing, contrasting and assembling these diverse narratives will provide us with a method of telling ecopsychology’s collective story.

The Tao that can be named
is not the eternal Tao
Lao Tzo

Ecopsychology is one word among many names, but for some reason it has gathered momentum instead of others. Warwick Fox (whose orientation to this discussion grew out of environmental ethics and the deep ecology movement) survey’s the parade of names that various authors have suggested in trying to define this movement in chapter 1 of his book Toward A Transpersonal Ecology, 1990b. One of the many paths of ecopsychology’s origins can be traced to Robert Greenway, who (while serving as a writer for Abraham Maslow) coined the term psychoecology in 1963 in an essay he wrote at Brandies University, Boston (Greenway, 1994, 1999). That same year Greenway became the founding dean of Franconia College in the mountains of New Hampshire, continuing to explore the relationships between humanistic psychology, the farther reaches of human-nature (which later morphed into transpersonal psychology) and psychoecology.

Greenway began teaching courses in psychoecology and the then nascent field of transpersonal psychology at Sonoma State University, in 1968 (Greenway, 1994, 1999). Twenty years would pass before Greenway’s research would rise to national attention through the efforts of Elan Shapiro, one of Greenway’s graduate students. In 1989 Shapiro formed a psychoecology discussion group that met every other week in Berkeley (Greenway, 1994; Scull, 1999). Besides Shapiro, early members of this group included Mary Gomes, Alan Kanner, Fran Segal, and others (Greenway, 1994; Scull, 1999). Greenway was invited to participate in these discussions.

The reputation of this group eventually attracted the attention of Theodore Roszak in 1990, who asked to attend its meetings (Scull, 1999). This inspired Roszak to write an essay on ecopsychology, which was Roszak’s way of playing with words and Greenway’s idea of psychoecology. Perhaps, based on the mainstream response to Roszak’s early interest in the counter culture (Roszak, 1969), he was attempting to avoid the obvious ridicule of being called a “psycho ecologist.” Roszak’s essay eventually reached book length proportion, whose title became The Voice of the Earth (Roszak, 1992).

Roszak provides us with a broad definition of ecopsychology with which to frame our discussion:
1) The emerging synthesis of ecology and psychology. 2) The skillful application of ecological insights to the practice of psychotherapy. 3) The discovery of our emotional bond with the planet. 4) Defining “sanity” as if the whole world mattered (Roszak: 8, 1994).

Despite Roszak’s broad definition of ecopsychology, the name ecopsychology fails to convey the full spectrum of his multidisciplinary concerns. Nor does the name ecopsychology call to mind the contributions of indigenous science. These criticisms hark back to my discussion of ecopsychology and indigenous science in (Schroll, 2000f).

Unaware of the psychoecology discussion group taking place in Berkeley, my own inquiry chose to focus on the question: how, and in what directions, can we move beyond simply treating the symptoms of the world’s growing number of social and environmental crises? The motivation to ask this question was the result of reading Roger Walsh’s book Staying Alive: The Psychology of Human Survival, in 1984.

Pondering this question represented a real turning point in my thinking. It allowed me to realize that healing the world’s social and environmental crises was not going to come about simply by creating new technologies and discontinuing the use of fossil fuel (coal, natural gas, and petroleum), nor by rejecting the development of new technologies, and trying to live more simply. It is not a matter of philosophers envisioning a better environmental ethic to guide the practice of conservation biologists and urban planners, allowing us to serve as better stewards of the land. Nor would a concentrated effort of protest by eco-activists employing guilt, fear, and letter writing campaigns, urging politicians to enact stiffer environmental laws, create the kinds of changes needed in our behavior. Necessary as all these approaches might be, I believe that the real starting point toward healing the social and environmental crises begins with self-confrontation and self-examination. We need to examine the worldview influencing our attitudes and our behavior (Minelli and Schroll, 2003; Schroll, 2000c).

A breakthrough came in 1990 by reading two significant essays. Warwick Fox’s essay titled “Transpersonal Ecology: ‘Psychologizing’ ecophilosophy” in the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (Fox, 1990a) and Ralph Metzner’s “Germanic Mythology and the Fate of Europe” in ReVision. (Metzner, 1990). I first began corresponding with Fox sometime in June of 1990. Sometime in August of 1990 I read in Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies Newsletter that Metzner was forming the Green Earth Foundation:

Through its projects, the Green Earth Foundation aims to help bring about changes in attitudes, values, perceptions, and [our] worldview that are based on ecological balance and respect for the integrity of all lifeforms on Earth. Specifically, this involves re-thinking the relationships of humankind with the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom and the elemental realms of air, water and earth/land (Metzner, 1992).

Becoming a member of the Green Earth Foundation I soon began a correspondence with Metzner. Through our correspondence both Fox and Metzner agreed to serve as dissertation supervisors on my doctoral committee through The Union Institute.

During this same period of fermentation Jeremy Hayward, editor of Shambhala’s New Science Library, served as the editor of Fox’s doctoral dissertation, published in the summer of 1990 as Toward A Transpersonal Ecology: Developing New Foundations for Environmentalism (Fox, 1990b). Eugene Hargrove, editor of Environmental Ethics, notes that: “Toward a Transpersonal Ecology ought to be read not only by supporters of the deep ecology movement but also by its critics. It is destined to be a classic in the field.” Bill Devall, one of deep ecology’s early supporters, commented that: “Toward a Transpersonal Ecology is essential reading for teachers, scholars, and all people concerned with the fate of the earth. It is an excellent book that will be used as a benchmark for all discussions of environmental philosophy in the 1990s.”{1}

The momentous enthusiasm generated by Earth Day’s 20th anniversary contributed additional motivation to begin my thorough examination of Fox’s book. Hayward also drew inspiration from this period of celebration and was equally motivated by Fox’s critique of environmentalism’s limited capacity to achieve its goals of creating a coherent, co-evolutionary, sustainable culture. This led Hayward to organize the “Human In Nature” conference held at the Naropa Institute, Boulder, Colorado, May 4-7, 1991. It was at this meeting that Fox and I met for the first time. The majority of sessions at this conference were by invitation only, and even Fox urging Hayward to allow my participation was rejected. I was, however, fortunate to be able to attend a panel presentation that grew out of these private discussions. This panel included lectures by David Abram, Alan Drengson, Jeremy Hayward, Arne Naess, Elizabeth Roberts and Francisco Varela. I also had the good fortune to engage in some brief private conversation with Arne Naess, Herbert V. Gunther, Jeremy Hayward, Ken Wilber and Michael Zimmerman.

The following week after this conference on May 11, 1991, I spent 6 hours defining and defending my doctoral thesis with Fox, Metzner, Lisa Mertz, Byron Plumley and Kevin J. Sharpe. During this meeting Fox mentioned that he had been invited to edit a special issue of ReVision titled “From Anthropocentrism to Deep Ecology,” whose focus was an attempt to clarify and sum up this very misunderstood and growing area of inquiry (Fox, 1991). Metzner’s contribution to this issue provides us with the most thorough review of Fox’s Toward A Transpersonal Ecology, and its essential contributions. Metzner’s summation of Fox’s contributions is worth quoting at length, telling us:

The revitalization of academic philosophy, its transformation under the influence of the “subversive science” of ecology, has been accompanied by equally profound soul searching in theology and religious studies (ecotheology, creation spirituality), by new attention to neglected aspects of history and prehistory (prepatriarchical Earth Goddess cultures), and by parallel paradigm revolutions in the social sciences (e.g. the works of William Catton in sociology and Herman Daly in economics). . . . The one discipline that, sad to say, has hitherto remained virtually untouched by any concern for the environment or the human-to-nature relationship is psychology. You will search in vain in the texts and journals of any of the major schools of psychology—clinical, behaviorist, cognitive, physiological, humanistic or transpersonal—for any theory or research concerning the most basic fact of human existence: the fact of our relationship to the natural world of which we are a part. This glaring, scandalous, and, to this psychologist, embarrassing omission has now begun to be remedied and addressed in this book by Warwick Fox. . . . [He] deserves immense credit for having raised the level of discussion of these difficult, subtle, and complex issues to a very high level and for having made a first, and major, contribution to the integration of psychology and philosophy within an ecocentric framework—and thus to the formulation of a worldview that may heal the biosphere and save our souls (Metzner: 147-152, 1991).

Since 1992 the ecopsychology movement has yet to come together as a national organization, or an established discipline. This is why there are so many diverse perspectives and approaches to the study of ecopsychology, because an association with a clear platform stating the goals of ecopsychology, with a journal, and an annual conference where its evolving definition can be discussed, has yet to be organized. The question is who would organize this meeting, and is ecopsychology going to attempt to become a division within the American Psychological Association? Many oppose this approach, including Roszak and Metzner. In late 1993 Roszak and Metzner came to agree that ecopsychology should not be viewed as an emerging discipline within psychology (Metzner, 1993a, 1993b). Instead, ecopsychology should be understood as a critique of social science and can be more widely characterized as a wide-ranging critique of EuroAmerican science.

I spent a few days discussing these ideas with Roszak, Metzner and others at the 25th Anniversary Convocation of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology conference, held at the Asilomar Conference center, Pacific Grove, California, August 25-29, 1993. This motivated Metzner to organize the 13th International Transpersonal Psychology conference “Toward Earth Community: Ecology, Native Wisdom and Spirituality,” held at the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, Ireland, May 24-29, 1994. Greenway’s participation in this meeting provided him with the opportunity to suggest his own definition of ecopsychology, . . . defining it as a language drawn from the fields of ecology, various psychologies, anthropology, and philosophy that expresses the human/nature relationship in enough depth to reveal the dynamics of why we are destroying our habitat (Greenway, 1994).

“Persistent why’s and how’s lead to philosophy.”
Arne Naess

The complexities of Naess’s personality and the variety of intellectual influences that have shaped his philosophy of “radical pluralism” have been explored in chapter 4 of Fox’s Toward A Transpersonal Ecology (1990b). Although a thorough discussion of the complex relationship between the deep ecology movement and ecopsychology exceeds this essays limits, the brief overview provided here will assist us in understanding many of the core insights that these movements share.

My personal involvement with the deep ecology movement began in the fall of 1989. Soon thereafter, while attempting to discuss this budding interest with a young student environmental activist, I experienced how important it is in choosing the right name for a movement. Upon hearing the term deep ecology, he replied: “Is it too deep that it’s over our heads?” This is a common criticism and misunderstanding of deep ecology. Those of us interested in a detailed examination of this misunderstanding and a critical inquiry into the deep ecology movement should read Toward A Transpersonal Ecology (1990b).

Beginning our discussion with a clear definition of the deep ecology movement is therefore essential. Beyond all else, the deep ecology movement is the process of asking deeper questions; it is the pursuit of an ongoing inquiry into the nature of things. Fox makes this point clear:

In [his] “Deepness of Questions” [essay,] Naess argues that “questions are roughly divided into everyday, technical, scientific and philosophical” and that asking progressively deeper questions—asking strings of why and/or how questions—eventually takes one beyond the realm of the everyday, the technical, and the scientific and into the realm of the philosophical. In Naess’s view: “Persistent why’s and how’s lead to philosophy”. . . . This strikes me as an elegant and simple way of answering the question What is philosophy?—a question to which many philosophers seem unable or unwilling to provide any kind of simple, easily communicated answer (Fox: 92, 1990b).

According to Henryk Skolimowski this definition of the deep ecology movement still has its limitations. Skolimowski has argued that the deep ecology movement stops short of establishing itself as a complete philosophical position because it is founded solely on a method of critical thinking or analysis. Telling us: “No philosophy of lasting importance has been built on denials” (Skolimowski: 285, 1984). Consequently, says Skolimowski, the deep ecology movement lacks a clear statement of what it stands for. What in other words—beyond the belief in a radical egalitarian population stance—does the deep ecology movement believe in?

It was this kind of deep questioning that was on the minds of Naess and George Sessions when, in April 1984, Naess and Sessions chose to embark on a camping trip to Death Valley, California. Alan Drengson adds that this meeting between Naess and Sessions “marked fifteen years of thinking on the principles of the deep ecology movement” (Drengson & Inoue, 1995). Immersing themselves in the stark beauty of this place, their conversations led them to articulate the platform principles that people who say they support the deep ecology movement would choose to hold. Naess abhors calling what he does deep ecology, because this name suggests a reified thing that has definite boundaries. Naess makes it clear when he speaks that his aim has never been to create any specific discipline called deep ecology (Naess, 1994a, 1994b). Instead Naess always refers to his work in this area as “the deep ecology movement” because he wants to connote a dynamic process; whereby the deep ecology movement is really a process of self-examination regarding our co-evolutionary relationship with all natural systems. In other words we are integral aspects within a web of co-evolutionary relationships. It is this conceptual framework that we need to internalize and feel a sense of empathy with before we can truly begin to understand and appreciate what Naess means by the deep ecology movement.{2}

Naess is therefore not the least bit interested in establishing a lasting philosophy or an established discipline; an attitude that is shared by Roszak and Metzner’s agreement that ecopsychology should not be viewed as an emerging discipline within psychology. Still the question that remains to be answered is what exactly are the beliefs associated with this process of critical inquiry known as the deep ecology movement?


Naess considers the platform principles of the deep ecology movement to be the briefest way to explain his position on environmental studies. Naess is quick to point out that his articulation of these principles should not be treated as a catechism; because this kind of rote learning is completely contrary to what the deep ecology movement represents, and would be totally inconsistent with Naess’s “radically pluralistic views.” Instead Naess considers these platform principles to be handy reference points, like the North Star, that can help us navigate our process of questioning.

1. The well-being and flourishing of human and nonhuman Life on Earth have value in themselves (synonyms; intrinsic value, inherent value). These values are independent of the usefulness of the nonhuman world for human purposes.

2. Richness and diversity of life forms contribute to the realization of these values and are also values in themselves.

3. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.

4. The flourishing of human life and cultures is compatible with a substantial decrease of the human population. The flourishing of nonhuman life requires such a decrease.

5. Present human interference’s with the nonhuman world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.

6. Polices must therefore be changed. These policies affect basic economic, technological, and ideological structures. The resulting state of affairs will be deeply different from the present.

7. The ideological change is mainly that of appreciating life quality (dwelling in situations of inherent value) rather than adhering to an increasingly higher standard of living. There will be a profound awareness of the differences between big and great.

8. Those who subscribe to the forgoing points have an obligation directly or indirectly to try to implement the necessary changes (Naess & Sessions: 49-50, 1995).

But even this platform is not a complete response to Skolimowski’s criticism that “no philosophy of lasting importance has been built on denials.” This is because the central focus of this platform is still on the things we are saying no to, and is therefore concerned with the things that we need to stop doing.

1. One and five) We are saying no to unlimited growth based solely on human use-value.

2. Two and Three) We are saying no to our selfish human tendencies and the urban military industrialist mentality that has in many cases consumed animal, plant and mineral resources until extinction.

3. Four) We are saying no to population increase.

4. Six) We are saying no to the current socio-political policies that continue to perpetuate One-five.

5. Seven) We are saying no to the current EuroAmerican scientific perspective whose conceptual narratives continue to shape our worldview and guide our actions.

6. Eight) Indeed the only thing that Naess and Sessions are saying yes to in this platform is that all of us who share these concerns need to begin doing something about one-seven.

This platform therefore provides us with the means to guide our thinking about what needs to be done to create a better world. The absence of telling us how to create this world is consistent with Naess’s radically pluralistic stance. Naess does not tell us how to create a better world because he wants us to figure it out for ourselves. This is why the deep ecology movement is a dynamic process and not a reified discipline with established boundaries, because Naess is wanting us to continue asking ourselves deeper questions. Likewise Roszak and Metzner seek to encourage our wide-ranging re-examination of the established infrastructure of EuroAmerican science.

We should therefore applaud Skolimowski for his questions, because his criticism serves to reminds us of the broader socialpsychological and environmental concerns that continue to loom like dark clouds on the horizon. My own inquiry has been guided by questions such as: What kinds of inner journey’s and what courses of social action can humankind embark upon in order to heal its dissociation from nature? What method(s) can humankind use to rediscover the wisdom of the body? What new questions must humankind ask itself to reestablish its basic trust of nature’s processes as intrinsically perfect and whole? How do we create a coherent, co-evolutionary, sustainable culture? What kinds of value choices are necessary for us to live our lives by in order to create this kind of world? How can we today—right here and now—bring this kind of wisdom into our lives in a way that incorporates the best of what indigenous wisdom and EuroAmerican science has to teach us?


One of the many questions that remain unanswered as ecopsychology continues to evolve its discussion is will the deep ecology movement come to an end? According to Fox’s thorough discussion of the deep ecology movements theoretical development and its subsequent misunderstanding, he has argued that it is time to say “farewell to deep ecology” (Fox: 141-145, 1990b). In place of the deep ecology movement Fox has argued for what he has referred to as transpersonal ecology. Fox argues that Naess’s philosophical sense of deep ecology is the most distinctive approach, which he sees as:

. . . one that involves the realization of a sense of self that extends beyond (or that is trans-) one’s egoic, biographical, or personal sense of self, the clearest, most accurate, and most informative term for this sense of deep ecology is, in my view, transpersonal ecology (Fox: 197, 1990b).

Michael Zimmerman has defended Fox’s use of the term transpersonal ecology in his book Contesting Earth’s Future: Radical Ecology and Postmodernity (1994), telling us:

. . . Fox distinguishes between a formal, a popular, and a philosophical sense of deep ecology. The formal sense, which Fox believes he has undermined, describes deep ecology as “deep questioning” to ultimate norms. The popular sense refers to the [deep ecology platform] DEP, but within the larger Green movement there is nothing particularly distinctive about the DEP’s affirmation of ecocentrism and its criticism of anthropocentrism [or human-centeredness]. Hence, Fox concludes that what is distinctive about deep ecology is its philosophical sense, which holds that self-realization leads beyond egoistic identification toward a wider sense of identification. Since this view and the notion of wider identification are both compatible with transpersonal psychology, Fox proposes that deep ecology change its name to transpersonal ecology (Zimmerman: 50, 1994).

Limitations with Fox’s discussion of transpersonal ecology have been pointed out by Homer Stavely and Patrick McNamara in their essay “Warwick Fox’s ‘Transpersonal Ecology: A Critique and Alternative Approach” (Stavely and McNamara, 1992). But Stavely and McNamara’s criticisms of Fox fall far short of Metzner’s more exacting criticisms.{3} The one exception worthy of praise in Stavely and McNamara’s essay is their discussion of what I have referred to as “the need for ritual”{4}:

In spite my praise of Stavely and McNamara’s views of ritual, I cannot support their comment that “humans as creatures of culture are not fully human without enculturation.” Yes enculturation does make us human, but at what price? (Schroll, forthcoming, b). Becoming enculturated can also lead to what Maslow referred to as “the psychopathology of the average.” Maslow and other humanistic psychologists have voiced their concern about the need to break away from the overriding emphasis upon conformity within modern society. This includes the policing action of therapists preoccupied with the client’s adjustment and adaptation. I agree with Stavely and McNamara that conformity, or enculturation, is our natural orientation as social creatures, which represents our need for security and community. The problem is that enculturation has the tendency to degenerate into becoming synonymous with the herd or group as our symbol of social identity. Indeed the more we conform in our thoughts and behaviors to the ways in which Wall Street wants us to act, the better we end up serving the whims of industry as the willing (or unquestioning) consumers of their products.{5}

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Bringing the focus of this discussion back to Fox, in many ways I continue to support his arguments for adopting the name transpersonal ecology. But Fox and I parted intellectually after our four-hour conversation on June 20, 1994, at the Seven Stars Hotel in Totnes, England. This meeting took place took place less than a month after my attendance at the 13th International Transpersonal Psychology conference in Killarney, Ireland, May 22-29, 1994 (which included a post-conference workshop with Metzner on “Remembering The Earth”) (Metzner & Pinkson, 1994). During our meeting Fox was still bitter that Metzner had not invited him to that conference and some of this bitterness came out in our conversation in Totnes. Beyond all this, the primary reason that Fox and I parted intellectually was he refused to have anything to do with Metzner’s continuing research in ethnopharmacology, and was very critical of Metzner’s support of animism and its links to shamanism. Fox and I officially parted several months later with his cordial resignation from my doctoral committee in January 1995.

From my perspective, Fox’s failure to embrace ethnopharmacology, transpersonal anthropology (which has renamed itself SAC or the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness), its study of animism and links to shamanism, is where he, Stavely and McNamara miss the point Metzner is making with his emphasis on green psychology (Metzner, 1999; Schroll, 2000c). Indeed it is through ethnopharmacology, SAC, animism and shamanism where green psychology makes its links with transpersonal psychology (Minelli & Schroll, 2003; Schroll, 2000f).{6} Following up these insights, on April 6, 2000, at the 20th Annual spring SAC meeting, in Tucson, Arizona, I organized its first session on ecopsychology titled “Ecological Consciousness: Shamanism’s Challenge to Science” (Schroll, 2000a, 2000b). Continuing to develop this perspective, I presented the lecture “Ecopsychology: Escaping the Night of the Living Dead” at the 31st Annual Transpersonal Psychology conference, held at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada, on August 5, 2000.

Since this meeting another forum has begun to open up for ecopsychology through Humanistic Psychology. In the spring of 2001 the Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41 (2), published a special volume on ecopsychology. But so far I have not heard of any attempt to organize an ecopsychology focus group within humanistic psychology. Since humanistic psychology has a tradition of philosophical criticism, this might be a path of discussion to explore that would not immediately focus on ecopsychology’s application as a therapy.{7}


In resume`, this chronicle has sought to trace the many paths of ecopsychology’s origins. Thirty-three years have passed since the first Earth Day celebration. Twenty-eight years have passed since Naess first presented his views on the deep ecology movement. Eleven years have passed since the publication of Roszak’s book The Voice of the Earth. Bringing us to this present moment of reflection on where we are now and where we are going. On the one hand I have considerable praise for Metzner, Naess, and Roszak’s purity of vision to perceive ecopsychology and the deep ecology movement as:

1) An unbounded process of critical inquiry devoted to addressing the embarrassing omission of humankind’s relationship with the natural world.

2) As a method of examining the unexamined contradictions and unconscious infrastructure of ideas holding together our views of EuroAmerican science. And

3) As a means of self-examination, self-confrontation, and self-realization!

But, on the other hand, ecopsychology and the deep ecology movement’s growth have been stunted because its message has had difficulty finding an audience. Where by refusing to become a member of any specific discipline to anchor it, ecopsychology has been set adrift like a homeless orphan searching for a home. Indeed more than ever the time has come to begin putting into practice ecopsychology’s and the deep ecology movement’s emphasis on diversity; reaching out to mainstream environmentalists, philosophers, anthropologists, theologians, sociologists, psychologists, and those involved in ecocriticism and beginning the political process of coalition building.

One of the many ways we can begin this process of coalition building, and invite this knowledge into our conscious awareness so that we can create the kind of place we want the world to be, requires gaining control over the kinds of stories we tell about ourselves. Because stories tell us about our past, allowing us to remember and become whole. Thus,

1) If we want to change the way that other people think about us, and the way that other people treat us, the first step is to use our imagination to change our story.

2) To reinvent our self.

3) To transform our self into the kind of person we want to be.

4) This points to the importance of visionary experience, because visions tell us about our future. Visions give us inspiration and hope (Minelli & Schroll: 75, 2003).

Metzner’s own evolving perspective has led him to make one of his most definitive statements concerning these issues in his book The Well of Remembrance (1994):

Those of us descended from European ancestors are naturally moved to ask whether anything in our own tradition is relevant to surviving the ecological crisis. This book explores the animistic-shamanistic worldview of the aboriginal inhabitants of Europe (Metzner: 1-2, 1994). The Well of Remembrance is [therefore] an exercise in ancestral remembrance—the kind of re-remembering that is the healing antidote to dis-membering. In German, to remember is erinnern, which literally means “interiorize,” to know with inner knowing. We have become painfully disconnected from the conscious knowing and perception of our participation mystique in the living processes of Earth. Our animistic, shamanistic ancestors had this awareness of symbiotic relatedness with the natural world. Through listening and reflecting on their ancient stories, we may be able to awaken the nature goddesses and gods slumbering in the inner recesses of the collective unconscious (Metzner: 13, 1994).

Metzner clarifies his position on this point in his book Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth (1999), telling us:

While I do not mean to suggest that we must all become pagans and worship the ancient gods again, I do believe that by reconnecting with the nature religion of our ancestors, we can recover something of the imaginal sensitivity and ecological spirituality that is the collective heritage of each of us. A tremendous spiritual revitalization can take place when we recognize the natural world and the divine world as intimately interwoven with each other. I see this as a kind of re-membering through which the dismemberment of human consciousness from Earth could be healed (Metzner: 133, 1999).

This emphasis on re-membering the dismemberment of human consciousness from our awareness of symbiotic relatedness with the natural world harks back to Metzner’s reasons for forming of the Green Earth Foundation; whose broad agenda provides us with a good starting point from which to begin building a multidisciplinary coalition. To accomplish its aim the Green Earth Foundation suggests that we begin the healing and harmonization of humankind’s relationship to the earth by:

1. Transforming the human-to-animal interaction from one of arrogance, domination and destruction of species to a right relationship of mutuality, empathy, and conscious co-evolution, with respect for the natural relatives of the human species.

2. Transforming the human-to-plant interaction from one of greed-motivated exploitation, non-sustainable agriculture and biosphere destruction to a right relationship that protects habitats preserves biodiversity and acknowledges mutual interdependence.

3. Transforming the interaction of humans to the elemental environments of earth/land, water and air from the present state of chemical warfare, pollution, toxic waste accumulation and degradation to systematic right relationship in which we acknowledge, re-balance and repair the disastrous degradation that has already occurred (Metzner, 1992).

This vision of a new green earth capable of weaving together a multidisciplinary coalition can only begin through our shared commitment and courage to embrace it.{8} Thus the challenge that lies before us as we prepare ourselves to embark upon the 21st century is to ask, who among us has the courage to embrace this vision of a new green earth? A call to action that Keith Volquardsen has aptly expressed in his song,


Finding a book with pages bent and brown
Wandering through the ruins of a city of old
The young man wasn’t sure of what he’d found
And so he stopped to read the ancient story it told
Of people in power deep in their ways of war
It was an ageless fire raging out of control
Blinding them to what would be lying before
They never stopped to heed one last desperate call.
Towers of steel in the sunshine glisten
Many will hear but few will listen
Wrapped in their working lives
Unaware that something is wrong
Signs all around us, nature is warning
Some are protesting, many are scorning
Soon you will realize they cannot come along
Leave all the lowlands, run to the mountains
Underground springs and natural fountains
Will help you survive the madness you must go through
Move from the cities, run to the country
There will be refuge for only the chosen few.
You who have gazed on this ancient story
Standin’ in what’s left of our technical glory
You are again from the garden forbidden
In you the seeds of tomorrow are hidden
Prophets and pastors and political masters
Were all swept away when the damage was done
Still from their laughter a choice of disasters
Looms in the distance for those who live on.

Keith Volquardsen, Lincoln, Nebraska, 1986

This is the challenge we have yet to meet as humankind faces its possible extinction from the social, psychological, and environmental crises that we have created through our dismemberment of consciousness from our symbiotic relationship with the natural world. {9} Humankind’s collective future is in our hands. It is therefore up to each and every one of us to find within ourselves the courage to create this multidisciplinary coalition and begin working toward the healing vision of ecopsychology, the deep ecology movement and the Green Earth Foundation. The time is now to drink from the well of remembrance and re-awaken the vision of the transpersonal within us all.

1. A complete discussion of deep-ecology’s relationship to ecopsychology exceeds the limits of this essay. Fox in Toward A Transpersonal Ecology has summed up the diverse history of ideas and disparate movements that eventually gave birth to deep ecology. The deep ecology movement began in Oslo, Norway, with its founder Arne Naess and his now classic 1973 paper “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement” (Naess, 1973).

2. Schroll has taken up a more complete discussion of ecopsychology’s contributions to healing humankind’s dissociation from nature in essay #47, pp. 189-211, in The Art of Living: Discovering the Transcendent and the Transpersonal in Our Lives (Minelli & Schroll, 2003).

3. In spite of the grand praise that Metzner gave Fox’s book Toward A Transpersonal Ecology (1990b), he has also provided the most thorough criticism (Metzner, 1991). Stavely and McNamara’s essay would have been considerably better if they had built on Metzner’s insightful comments. Stavely and McNamara’s essay goes no further than Metzner’s criticisms and, in many ways, are less thorough than Metzner’s. Metzner agrees with my criticism of Stavely and McNamara’s essay, telling me that shortly after reading their essay he sent Stavely and McNamara a copy of his 1991 review of Fox’s book (Metzner, 1997). My discussion of Metzner’s criticism of Fox exceeds the limits of this essay. This discussion has been taken up at length in my essay “Personal, Ontological and Cosmological Identification: Searching for Consensus and Clarity” (Schroll, forthcoming, a).

4. The theoretical development of an ecopsychological perspective or transpersonal ecological consciousness postulates: 1) An increased identification of our personality as fundamentally connected and co-evolving with the living creatures of the earth, the cosmos, and all forms of culture. 2) An increased awareness that our actions or decisions affect the present and future growth, health, well-being of all existence. And 3) The consequences of postulates one and two will result in an increase in our actions of environmental and humanistic ethics motivated by our metamotivation or being-needs. The hypothesis I am continuing to investigate is that various kinds of rituals contribute to our cognitive awareness and subsequent ability to maintain an ecopsychological perspective or transpersonal ecological consciousness (Schroll, ongoing research). In discussing this theoretical perspective and proposal for future research with Roszak on August 25, 1993, he showed great interest and encouraged my continued exploration of this line of thought (Roszak, 1993).

5. A more complete discussion of Maslow, humanistic psychology, and our need to break away from the policing actions of therapists is explored in Essay #43, “The Historical Context of Transpersonal Psychology,” pp,. 104-133 (Minelli & Schroll, 2003).

6. My defense of the revival of animism, shamanism, SAC and their relationship to ecopsychology is discussed in Essay #46, “The Anthropology of Consciousness: Investigating the Frontiers of Unexplainable Personal and Cultural Phenomena,” pp. 162-188 (Minelli & Schroll, 2003). I will continue to build upon this discussion of the main philosophical differences between Fox’s and Metzner’s perspective in (Schroll, forthcoming, a), whose discussion will assist us in understanding why I believe Metzner’s green psychology represents a broader framework than Fox’s transpersonal ecology.

7. A discussion of the varieties of contributions to ecopsychology that are beginning to emerge from humanistic psychology exceeds the limits of this essay. This discussion will be taken up in greater detail in (Schroll, forthcoming, a).

8. A more complete discussion of Metzner’s vision of a new green earth can be found in (Metzner, 1994; chapter 8 of Schroll, 2000d; and Sturluson: 81-91, 1954).

9. I have referred to this dismemberment of consciousness from our symbiotic relationship with the earth as cultural amnesia (Minelli & Schroll: 203-205, 2003).

Drengson, A. & Inoue, Y. (Eds.) (1995). The Deep Ecology Movement: An Introductory Anthology. Berkeley, CA.: North Atlantic Books.

Fox, W. (1990a). Transpersonal ecology: ‘Psychologizing’ ecophilosophy. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 22 (1), 59-96.

Fox, W. (1990b). Toward a transpersonal ecology: Developing new foundations for environmentalism. Boston: Shambhala.

Fox, W. (1991). “From Anthropocentrism to Deep Ecology.” ReVision, 13 (3).

Fox, W. (1994, June 20). Personal Four-Hour Conversation at the Seven Stars Hotel, Totnes, England.

Greenway, R. (1994, May 24). Untitled comments during the Symposium: Deep Ecology and Ecopsychology. Organized and moderated by Ralph Metzner, which included comments from David Abrams, Mary Gomes, Eunice McCarthy, Arne Naess, Bron Taylor, Wendy Sarkissian, and others. Presented at the 13th International Transpersonal Psychology conference “Toward Earth Community: Ecology, Native Wisdom and Spirituality,” Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, Ireland. An audio-tape of this presentation is available from Conference Recording Service, 1308 Gilman St., Berkeley, CA. 94706.

Greenway, R. (1999). “Ecopsychology: A personal history.” Gatherings, 1, Winter.

Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 41 (2), 2001.

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Metzner, R. (1991). “Psychologizing Deep Ecology: A Review Essay.” ReVision, 13 (3), Winter, 147-152.

Metzner, R. (1992). “Statement of purpose.” Green earth foundation catalog. El Verano, CA.: The Green Earth Foundation, P.O. Box 327, 95433.

Metzner, R. (1993a, August 25). Personal meeting and conversation at the 25th Anniversary Convocation of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology conference, August 25-29, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California.

Metzner, R. (1993b, August 28). Ecology and transpersonal psychology. A two-hour conversation forum with B. Keepin, T. Roszak, I. Serlin, R. Walsh and moderated by R. Metzner, held at the 25th Anniversary Convocation of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology conference, August 25-29, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California.

Metzner, R. (1994). The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe. Boston: Shambhala.

Metzner, R. (1997, April 19). Personal two-hour discussion at the Raddison Hotel, Omaha, Nebraska.

Metzner, R. (1999). Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth. Rochester, VT.: Inner Traditions Press.

Metzner, R. & Pinkson, T. (1994, May 29). Remembering The Earth. An eight-hour didactic and experiential workshop, held in the natural surroundings of the Irish countryside. This post-conference workshop followed my attendance at the 13th International Transpersonal Psychology conference “Toward Earth Community: Ecology, Native Wisdom and Spirituality,” Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, Ireland.

Minelli, M. J. & Schroll, M. A. (2003). The art of living: Discovering the transcendent and the transpersonal in our lives. Stipes Publishing: Champaign, IL.

Naess, A. (1973). “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary.” Inquiry, 16, 95-100

Naess, A. (1994a May 24). Deep Ecology and Ecopsychology. A three-hour symposium with David Abram, Mary Gomes, Robert Greenway, Wendy Sarkissian, Bron Taylor, Eunice McCarthy, Arne Naess, and moderated by Ralph Metzner. Held at the 13th International Transpersonal Psychology conference “Toward Earth Community: Ecology, Native Wisdom and Spirituality,” Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, Ireland. An audio-tape is available from Conference Recording Service, 1308 Gilman Street, Berkeley, CA. 94706.

Naess, A. (1994b, May 25). The Relation of Ontology to Psychology. A one-hour lecture presented at the 13th International Transpersonal Psychology conference “Toward Earth Community: Ecology, Native Wisdom and Spirituality,” held at the Great Southern Hotel, Killarney, Ireland. An audio-tape is available from Conference Recording Service, 1308 Gilman Street, Berkeley, CA. 94706.

Naess, A. & Sessions, G. (1995). “Platform Principles of the Deep Ecology Movement.” In A. Drengson & Y. Inoue (Eds.), The deep ecology movement: An introductory anthology. Berkeley, CA.: North Atlantic Books, pp. 49-53.

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Roszak, T. (1992). The voice of the earth. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Roszak, T. (August 25, 1993). Personal conversation at the 25th Anniversary Convocation of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology conference, August 25-29, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California.

Roszak, T. (1994). Definition of Ecopsychology. The Ecopsychology Newsletter, 1, Spring, 8.

Schroll, M. A. (2000a, April 6). Ecological Consciousness: Shamanism’s Challenge to Science: A 20 minute introduction to this session. Presented at the Annual Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness spring conference, Clarion Santa Rita Hotel, Tuscon, Arizona.

Schroll, M. A. (2000b, April 6). Plenary Presentation: Shamanism’s Challenge to Euro-American Science: Mythic Insights From an 11-Year Recurring Dream. Presented at the Annual Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness spring conference, Clarion Santa Rita Hotel, Tuscon, Arizona.

Schroll, M. A. (2000c). “Gaia consciousness. A review of Ralph Metzner’s Green psychology: Transforming our relationship to the earth.” Resurgence, 200, May/June, 60-61.

Schroll, M. A. (2000d). Toward A New Green Earth: The Call for an Integral Science.

Schroll, M. A. (2000e, August 5). Ecopsychology: Escaping the Night of the Living Dead. Presented at Wisdom Sharing: Community, Ritual and Healing, the 31st Association for Transpersonal Psychology conference. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. An audio-tape of this presentation is available by writing to

Schroll, M. A. (2000f). “Toward a new green earth: The call for a more integral science.” Gatherings, 3, Summer, 1-19.

Schroll, M. A. (Forthcoming, a). “Personal, Ontological and Cosmological Identification: Searching for Consensus and Clarity.” (Essay in progress).

Schroll, M. A. (Forthcoming, b). “Decision Theory, Probability and Strange Attractors: Lessons on Avoiding Sin through Metanoic Transformation.” (Essay in progress).

Schroll, M. A. (Ongoing research). “Toward a Topology of Rituals that Serve to Create and Maintain Transpersonal Ecological Consciousness.” (Current research).

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Stavely, H. & McNamara, P. (1992). Warwick Fox’s ‘transpersonal ecology’: A critique and alternative approach. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 24 (2), 201-211.

Sturluson, S. (1954). The Prose Edda: Tales from Norse Mythology. Translated from Icelandic by Jean I. Young. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Turner, N. (1994). “Prophecy/Watching the Grass Grow.” Prophets of Time. Los Angeles, CA.: Cleopatra. Audio-tape. Hawkfan. 27 Burdett Rd., Wisbech, Cambs PE13 2PR, United Kingdom

Volquardsen, K. (1986). Towers of Steel. Watcher. Lincoln, NE.: The Loose, Inc. Audio-tape copies of this song are available by writing to

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