Sitting in a room filled with a core group of EcoPsycologists back in the 1980s, I realized I was the “token” ecologist in the group. As we discussed the vision and mission of this group, it became clear the focus was on humans, not nature. I argued that we of all people should be able to set standards to help humans become more “nature-centric.” The group discussed and again came to the conclusion that even in trying to understand nature, they would focus on the human benefits. I left feeling disheartened and turned my focus on education.
At the time I was giving talks on Eco-nomics and Eco-logy and the favorite one at the time “Wipe Out Environmentalists, Become an Ecologist.” The target of course were businesses and those who were resisting the new environmental regulations. I strongly felt then ( and still do ) that it was a mistake to remove “the environment” from ourselves. “The Environment” took its place at the table next to “Finance,” “Transportation,” and other human thinking elements in future planning. The thinking was that the “Environmentalists” would lobby for nature and the rest of the people could lobby for their own interests. This lack of natural whole system thinking has led humans to where they are today. There was and still is a lack of understanding of the organic connection we humans have as part of Nature.
For almost 40 years, I have been speaking, writing, teaching, and coaching from a “Nature-centric” model in hopes of shifting the paradigm. Those who understand this connection can become hopeless as they see so much being destroyed by ignorance. But we can rejoice in Nature’s amazing adaption skills—with or with out humans. Teaching children all the way up through adults should be the focus today. By viewing ourselves as part of Nature and not separate from it, we can not only heal ourselves, but create a beautiful and sustainable future for all life.
The Center's campus is a workspace for Chicago-based staff, a retreat center for the Center's gatherings of thought-leaders, a laboratory in which to practice land-relationship ideas shared by Center contributors, and (one day soon) a welcoming space for periodic public events.
Center for Humans and Nature 17660 West Casey Road Libertyville, Illinois 60048