EcoSpirituality Presentation :: Ideas

I am invited to present at an interfaith forum next week. The primary topic will be ecospirituality, and then weaving in related topics such deep ecology, eco-psychology, sustainability and so on. I hope to include some experiential activities as well, and include the audience as much as possible (to take some of the pressure off me, and make it a little more lively and with more views/insights).

Intention: (1) To really connect with people and help them have a taste of it for themselves. (2) Spark interest in the NWEI courses.

Format: A combination of structure & presentation, and collective sharing & exploration. Could go through a quick outline (set the stage) and some quotes, then a set of questions for the group.

Outline: (a) Intros, me & others. (b) Brief overview + Q&As. (c) Conversation, guided. (d) NWEI info, Q&As, signup.


  1. Intro [15 min]
    • Me
      • My own background (interest in ecology and spirituality, how got involved with NWEI discussion groups). Not an expert, only help people explore it for themselves.
      • Northwest Earth Institute.
        History, activities, courses, briefly on format/locations.
    • Circle
      If not too many people, a quick intro from each person there. Name, affiliation, interest in the topic. May also include a question: a childhood memory of connection w. nature or similar.

  2. Ecospirituality overview [15-20 min]
    • Brief presentation [will use an outline from several years back as guide]
      • Definition
      • Traditions
        Ecospirituality strains within each spiritual tradition. Theistic, nontheistic, pantheistic, agnostic, atheistic etc.
      • Sources/Influences
        Religion/spirituality, mysticism, science (ecology, systems theories, universe story, space exploration – overview effect), psychology, sustainability.
      • Related areas
        Deep ecology, ecopsychology
      • Reasons
        Honoring creation. Individual sense of connection, meaning and nurturance. Survival, quality of life/health, sustainability. Deepening into transdual view (Bit Mind).
      • Effects
        Effects for individuals and society/ecology. How can enrich individual and collective experience, including faith/spirituality. Can guide experience/choice/action.
        Moving from fragmented/dualistic view to systems/transdual view. Sense of connection, intimacy, belonging, meaning. Shift in worldview, more deeply world-centric (ego > ethno > world-centric).
    • Q&As
  3. Conversation [30 min]
    • Possible questions
      • What role does nature have in your own sense of the spiritual?
      • What role does nature have in your religion/church?
      • Are you drawn to explore nature & spirituality? If yes, why? If no, why not?
      • What are some of the possible benefits of including nature in religion/spirituality? At personal level? At collective level?
      • What are some of the possible drawbacks?
      • Which of the general approaches are you most attracted to – theistic (creator/creation), nontheistic (transdual, beyond and including all polarities), pantheistic (immanence), panentheistic (transcendence/immanence), science (universe story, systems theories, ecology), psychological (ecopsychology, meaning, connection, nurturing), sustainability (thriving, health/well being, survival, future generations), other?
  4. Ending [15 min]
    • Final comments, questions
    • NWEI courses
      • Six courses
      • Structure/process
      • Locations
      • How to initiate
      • Q&As
    • Handouts
      • NWEI info, signup
      • Ecospirituality resources (books, magazines, DVDs, websites)
      • Other: Michael Dowd’s essay on The Big Picture, MD’s DVD on Evolutions’ Arrow, my outline from a few years back.

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