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? How can we stay rooted in a wider connection with nature so we stay inspired to engage passionately in these times?
This course brings nature connection, meditation and mindfulness into relationship with activism and social change. We ask: How can we draw on the power of the heart, the fire of the imagination, and the dynamism of the body to empower social change through nature connection?
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. We understand the transformative and integrative power of immersion in non-human nature. We want to support others to re-connect with that source of nourishment, well-being, and inspiration.
This course is for activists, organisers, and people involved in other forms of social change work.It is especially suitable 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 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, systems theory and group process, as well as ecological and evolutionary learning, and solo time in wild nature.
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. This course will help us to remember and refuel – to regain the power and nourishment that comes from recollecting who we are and what we are part of.
The course will be hosted at our site in Catalunya, 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 embrace a broad definition of activism, including: 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.
To support this we will be exploring and sharing a range of relevant methodologies, design principles, and specific tools. These include:
The training will be hosted at Refugi Cortiuda to enable direct access to wild and remote land.
May (she/her) is an experienced nature facilitator, who’s been helping people to connect with nature for over 15 years and with Forest School Camps (FSC) alongside many other organisations. Most recently she co-founded the Natural Resilience Project, which builds personal resilience though connection to nature with migrant women in cities across the UK.
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. After many years spent fighting dirty big business, and standing with communities being damaged by extractive industries with Reclaim the Power, her activism most recently joined the dots between the aviation industry’s ties with the UK home Office’s brutal process of deportation by charter flight. She was one of the Stansted 15 defendants in a long running court case which spanned between 2017-2021.
Kara is a facilitator of socio-ecological regeneration. As an educator, Kara devised and co-developed ‘Radical Nature Connection’ as an approach and co-holds this strand of work at Ulex. Kara delivers courses and lectures on Masters degrees on radical, decolonial approaches to nature connection, rewilding and ancestral skills (with a focus on foraging, tracking and trees) at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Schumacher College and independently. Kara works as a freelance writer and is active on socio-environmental issues within grassroots movements, and spends the Winter months working in conservation forestry, restoring ancient woodlands. Kara runs a Wild Recovery program for people recovering from addiction and chairs a charity that runs the 350-acre Cambrian Wildwood project, which is restoring wild habitats in the Cambrian foothills and creating access to immersion in wild nature.
skills, insights, and practices for creating transformative teams and effective collaborations
new stories to change the world
Agency, theory and strategy - a deep inquiry
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.