Connecting with the power of nature to defend the earth
Resilience is all about connection: Deeper connection with our self, deeper connections with each other, and deeper connection with nature.
Today we face immense challenges – social, ecological and political. We can be daunted by the scale and extent of the problems. We can feel overwhelmed and undermined. Where can we find the resilience and strength needed to meet them?
When humans investigate and see through their layers of anthropocentric self-cherishing, a most profound change in consciousness begins to take place. Alienation subsides. The human is no longer an outsider, apart. Your humanness is then recognised as being merely the most recent stage of your existence, and as you stop identifying exclusively with this chapter, you start to get in touch with yourself as mammal, as vertebrate, as a species only recently emerged from the rainforest… “I am protecting the rainforest” develops to “I am part of the rainforest protecting myself. I am that part of the rainforest recently emerged into thinking.” What a relief then!’ John Seed, Beyond Anrthopocentrism
Nature connection work can help us to bring forth an ecological consciousness – an empowering sense of connection and identity that affirms our solidarity with life. Deeper nature connection can be a source of nourishment, empowerment, and wisdom. It can help us to live fully present in our times. As the Shambala Mind Training Verses say: “Remember that you are the inheritor of the strengths of thousands of generations of life.” This course will help us to remember – to regain the power and nourishment that comes from recollecting who we are and what we are part of.
This course is for people committed to action in solidarity with the earth, working for climate justice, environmental protection and a transition to sustainable societies. It will support you to find for yourself the transformative and integrative power of immersion in non-human nature. It will support you to re-connect with that source of nourishment, well-being, and inspiration to empower your work with a deeper resilience.
Our approach to Nature Based Practice and Learning integrates insights and methods from ‘nature connection’, deep ecology, and contemplative traditions.
Connection with wild nature is an important aid to developing an ecological sensibility and sense of connection with the web of life. This can support action towards a sustainable future for all. These experiences can be nourishing, enriching, and can demand that we radically re-orientate our sense of who and what we are.
In simple terms Nature Based Practice and Learning involves supporting participants to spend time out in the wilds connecting with the teachings nature offers. We use tools such as mindfulness practice and meditation in conjunction with elements of bushcraft, nature based education, as well as ecological and evolutionary learning, and solo time in wild nature.
The course will be hosted at at our partner Ecodharma Centre, which is based in an extraordinary and wild place. From this supportive base, Nature Based Practice and Learning can help us step out of the human-centred world for a while – to wander deep into tangled woodland, to lie on mossy rocks, to sit in limestone caves, to traverse lofty ridges, and to loll on the edge of trickling streams. There we find something else.
Who is it aimed at?
Anyone with on-going experience of action for social change: those involved in direct action, on-going campaign work, community empowerment and anyone involved in socially engaged action addressing ecological, political and social justice issues. We consider activism to include: Resistance – action preventing further damage to ecosystems and social justice; Renewal – action focused on developing and creating alternatives for healthier societies and communities; and Building Resilience – action supporting increased resilience in communities to weather the uncertain times ahead.
May is an experienced nature facilitator, who’s been helping people to connect with nature for over 13 years with Forest School Camps (FSC) which brings large groups of children and adults together in temporary community for 2-week camps. For the past 6 years she has been involved in developing and delivering training for FSC staff to help reinvigorate their passion for nature and fuel the fire in the bellies of the kids on camps. This work formed the foundation for Wild Time Weekends, which May and the Co-Resist team set up to bring better access to nature to adults from a range of backgrounds. More recently she co-founded the Natural Resilience Project, which builds personal resilience though connection to nature with migrant women in East London.
In her free time May is a passionate campaigner and activist, and for the last decade or more has worked on a range of issues, often with an environmental emphasis. With Plane Stupid she focused on aviation, and went on to help establish Grow Heathrow, a squatted community food growing project in the path of the proposed 3rd runway. More recently her energy has been with Reclaim the Power, fighting dirty big business, and standing with communities being damaged by extractive industries.
This work has been both exhilarating and exhausting, and after a bout of incapacitating burn out, she found a life-line at Ecodharma, on Sustaining Resistance: Empowering Renewal. Gradually returning to better form, she became aware how essential personal resilience is in a world where social change can thrive. In November 2015 she undertook training at Ecodharma in how to facilitate resilience work for others, and has been weaving this work into the fabric of her nature connection and activism work ever since.
Kara Moses is a facilitator and trainer in nature connection, outdoor education and grassroots activism. She is passionate about nature, connection and the transformation of self and society to be more deeply connected and life-affirming. This involves facilitating practical applications of nature connection, to fields including direct action and social change, architecture and the built environment, mental health and emotional resilience, sustainability and climate change adaptation, and social inequality.
She has spent her life working in service of the earth in diverse ways, from direct action, grassroots organising and community work to environment journalism, academic research, environmental education and conservation management.
As well as independent facilitation and journalism, she works at the Centre for Alternative Technology where she manages woodlands and water, delivers courses, works with school groups and lectures on masters courses.
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1. A thorny-evergreen flowering shrub, with a high capacity for regeneration and resilience. Its seedpods open in contact with fire and it reshoots from charred stumps. A successionary plant that grows well under challenging conditions. It improves soil fertility through nitrogen fixing, preparing the way for renewed biodiversity.
2. A traditional choice for igniting fires. Burns hot and bright.
3. A networked project adding nutrition and fertility to European social movements through training and capacity building. It kindles the realisation of social justice, ecological intelligence, and cognitive vitality.