Ecopsychology and inquiry

Inquiry can easily be used in an ecopsychology context.

Specifically how depends on the person and his or her situation.

For people concerned about our current ecological situation, we can look at fear, stress, a sense of inadequacy etc.

For people worried they are not doing enough, we can look at guilt, shame, fear, and commands to do more (or less!).

For people caught up in us vs them thinking, we can look at identities and perceived boundaries creating this sense of division and separation.

For people who want to experience a deeper connection with nature, we can look at identities with a charge that creates a sense of separation.

There is no end to possibilities. It would be fun to do a workshop on this one day. It could perhaps be combined with Practices to Reconnect developed by Joanna Macy.

Read More

Deep Ecology & Kant

In the beginning of this excerpt, Arne Næss speaks as if deep ecology and Kant are incompatible.

For me, both appear equally valid.

Deep ecology invites a deep caring for the whole of nature, a deep meaning, and it supports a deep engagement.

Kant invites an exploration of how I create my world. I come to recognize that my world is created in my own world of images, and this helps me hold it all more lightly.


Playfulness, wisdom and a toy piglet

Towards the end of his life, Norwegian philosopher Arne Næss had a toy piglet. It is perhaps a little odd for a grown and respected man to have a stuffed toy.

What is even more odd is that he and his wife treated it as a child, and wrote a book about him.

It is easy to dismiss it as the folly of an old man. But is that all?

Playfulness was always central in his life, and his playfulness in relating to his piglet is a teaching in itself. It is an invitation for us all to find more playfulness in life, including in how we use our imagination.

And there is also wisdom here.

When we interact with others, we usually assume we interact based on who they are. But we are really interacting with them based on who we imagine they are. When Arne Næss treated his piglet as a living being, it becomes clear that he is really interacting with his imagined piglet. This is an invitation for us to take a closer look at this in our own life.

Read More

Arne Næss


Arne Næss died yesterday, 96 years old. He was a Norwegian philosopher and mountaineer, and most known internationally as one of the founders of deep ecology.

He is easily among the five people who have influenced me the most, and I was fortunate enough to see him speak several times, and also be in personal communication with him a few years back.

His philosophy reflected and flowed from his life.

And that philosophy was unusually and brilliantly clear. Always practical. Profoundly life centered. And as himself, innocent and child-like in its playfulness – especially in his later years.

Update: Arne Næss, Norwegian Philosopher, Dies at 96 from NY Times.

Update 2: He was beloved by the Norwegian people, and received a state sponsored funeral attended by the prime minister and members of the royal family. There is something beautiful – and profoundly right – in that happening for a life-centered eco-philosopher….


Here is an excerpt from The Call of the Mountain, a documentary about Arne Næss.

Heroes of the Great Turning

I have never much been into “heroes”, apart from seeing anyone willing to sacrifice for what they believe in as technically a hero – independent of what they are actually doing.

But reading an article in the NY Times about David Suzuki, I was reminded of another aspects of heroes: Who will be the heroes for future generations?

Will it be sports stars? Movie or TV stars? Political leaders who place the narrow interests of special groups (their own country, corporations, oil companies etc.) over that of humanity, the Earth and future generations? Not likely. Most of the people currently admired and in the media (especially the US media) will soon be forgotten, and for good reasons.

Instead, the heroes of the future are likely to be those who actively work for the Great Turning. People like Aldo Leopold, Arne Næss, John Seed, Joanna Macy, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Karl-Henrik Robert, Fritjof Capra, Paul Hawken, and many more, including David Suzuki, peace workers such as Gandhi and Nelson Mandela, and all the numerous individuals around the world working for the Great Turning and who’s name is not know outside of their immediate circle.

Why is this? Because humanity is at an ecological bottleneck, and these individuals show us a way through it with a minimum of suffering and collapse. They show us the way into a more life-centered culture and civilization.