“It is obvious to me that the forests cannot be saved one at a time, nor can the planet be saved one issue at a time: without a profound revolution in human consciousness, all the forests will soon disappear. Psychologists in service to the Earth helping ecologists to gain deeper understanding of how to facilitate profound change in the human heart and mind seems to be the key at this point”.
Jonn Seed, Australian activist
The world is at a tipping point where only a profound change in human consciousness will halt humanity from tipping into further self-destruction, the increased growth of a dehumanized world, further isolation from the cosmos and nature, and a loss of the deep symbolic connection we have with the more-than-human-world. The focus of human centered concern needs to be expanded to include the recognition that our health and wellbeing is folded into a tapestry that at its core contains the health and wellbeing of the earth ecosystem with the plants and animals it holds within its cradle.
“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of the Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the great community of life, and to future generations”.
The Earth Charter, 2000
Ecopsychology is a field that developed in response to a world facing deep seated problems such as global warming, climate change, natural resource depletion, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, ocean acidification, ozone layer depletion, overpopulation, urbanization, widespread pollution, acid rain, genetically modified food sources, human physical and mental health issues and an unbalanced ecological unconscious.
“As scientific understanding has grown, so our world has become dehumanized. Man feels himself isolated in the cosmos, because he is no longer involved in nature…His contact with nature is gone, and with it has gone the profound emotional energy that this symbolic connection supplied.” Jung, 1964
Ecopsychology is therefore the synchronous relationship between ecology and psychology that focuses on the relationship that humans have with nature. According to Will Adams Associate Professor of Psychology at the Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, in his article on “Ecopsychology and Phenomenology” he says that Ecopsychology challenges three key presumptions of modernism—namely our exclusionary identification as ego-centered subjects, our belief that there is a dualistic separation of self and world and humans and nature and the anthropocentric belief that humans are the exclusive locus of meaning and value.
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