Our August Goodplanets discussion, based on the video "Ecopsychology" yielded several possible areas for further exploration.

Another book, "Ecologies of the Heart: Emotion, Belief, and the Environment" (E.N. Anderson Oxford Univ. Press 1996), was recommended by Alison B.

The ideas introduced in Dr. Anderson's book provide interesting counterpoint in comparison with the concepts (and possible discussion topics) from the first (August) discussion of the ecopsychology video.(these are noted in summary below)

A sample of the Ecologies of the Heart book is given at amazon.com; 33 pages, including the first six pages of the first chapter of the book may be viewed. The first six pages provide a number of "psychological" mechanisms which have helped to contribute to the current environmental crisis.

So, the September Goodplanets discussion will continue exploring these threads.

Ecopsychology: Key Points


Ecologies of the Heart: *********************************************
Anderson, a cultural eclogist, has spent his life exploring the ways in which different groups of people manage the environment. He has concluded that all traditional societies that have managed resources well over time have done so in part through religion- by the use of emotionally powerful cultural symbols that reinforce particular resource management strategies.. He also argues that the beliefs, while seeming unscientific, if not irational, are based on careful observation of nature. He describes several systems: For example, the Chinese practice of Feng Shui, whose common denominator is concern with the circulation of ch'i in the Earth, water, and air. The circulation of water is seen as related to the flow of ch'i. Wind too has its natural lines of flow. Good and bad fortune can follow the channels of any of the three.

(Note: It turns out that the flow of water and air have been associated with physiological Responses. In water the effect is in the magnetic properties of the water with respect to The characteristics of the surrounding earth. In air, research has been done on the physiological effect of positive (poison) and negative ions, especially in respiration.)

Ecopsychology video: ***********************************************
Dr. Conn suggests a CAUSE for our current environmental crisis, as well as the psychological result: She says that shuting down; narrowing of emotional experience, causes depression. She also says "We have really narrowed our relating to the world, the natural world included, to dominance and control" But who is "we" and who is "our"? How could those of us who are now "shut down" maintain effective dominace and control? What other things could affect "shutdown:"? Who is shutdown and who is in control? What are the dynamics and how can they be changed? How many ways can and do Americans relate to nature? How is our relating to nature connected to the way nature is being abused? Is there a connection?

Dr. Roszak suggests a possible SOLUTION, or direction for a solution: Until the science of ecology developed, science was analytic; it broke things down to simple parts to better understand.The science of ecology is synthesizing; it recognizes that whole systems must be considered to better understand. The philosophy of whole systems (synthesizing) has now become very important in science. Does the movement of science from analytic to synthetic correspond to a movement from "yang" to "yin" (from masculine, analytic, rational, competitive, to feminine, synthesizing, intuitive, cooperative) Is that too simplistic? (Is the women's movement leading to more Yang? Are men becoming more Yin?) How do we transfer an interest in "whole systems" from science to politics to society?