Nature Connection, Spirit & Action
Section Overview

In her article ‘The Self-World Connection’ written a decade ago, ecopsychologist Sarah Conn defines the pathway from individual therapy and responsiveness to nature towards becoming responsible and taking action for nature. Even encouraging her clients to take their shoes off and touch the bare earth is a simple step along the way. Step 1 is to become aware; then we need to understand and integrate what we’ve learnt. The next step is to deal with the emotional consequences of this knowledge – ‘to feel and engage rather than become numb and dulled’. The final step is action. (See Conn, SA, 1991, ‘The Self-World Connection’, Woman of Power, 20, Spring, 71.)

The articles in this section Nature Connection, Spirit and Action reflect the steps outlined by Sarah Conn. They link powerful encounters with the natural world to stories of transcendence and active engagement in safeguarding the earth.

Chris Lee grew up on the coast of Britain and became a seaman, that is until he arrived on the coast of Western Australia. An affair of the heart led him to ‘moor’ his boat in a paddock and take to the trees. Chris became a forest activist in the successful campaign to halt logging in the south-west forests. At the core is Non-Violent Eco-Warriorship.

The relationship between Spirituality and Environment is further discussed by Steven Jeffery. Do environmental activists need a spiritual belief and practice as an essential part of their activists toolkit? Can spirituality be a vehicle for protagonists on both sides of the environmental fence to come together?

Simon O’Connor takes up issue of spirituality as a relationship to the land in Sacred Connections Back to our Past. He spent time in northern Australia at the protest camp to halt the introduction of another uranium mine on Aboriginal land and experienced far more than he expected.

Steven Jeffery discusses a different aspect of activism – rabbit trapping. From a childhood pastime, to a way of helping repair a landscape, Steven looks at his changing relationship and emotions about this activity in Go tell it on the Mountain. In Australia, rabbits are feral animals brought here by white settlers and have seriously degraded the land.

In Applied Ecopsychology in Australia: Approaches to Facilitating Human Nature Connections, Rosemarie Baillie takes us on a journey with several pathways. The first reviews the literature relating to nature connecting; the second is an outline of the variety of processes that can foster human-nature engagement; and the third summarizes the results of interviews Rosemarie Baillie conducted with a group of nature-engaged individuals. The common theme from these interviews is the joy and power experienced by direct immersions in nature. They inspire and enliven.