Marketing and using social media are not our strengths at the EcoPsychology Initiative (EPI). It is challenging to navigate the ever-changing digital world; however, we recognize these platforms are essential for connecting with our community. You will not likely hear us say this often, but we fully support Facebook’s new algorithm. We are excited that social media sites are emphasizing engagement.
Increasing engagement is a real need for people and our society; it is also a path and result of ecopsychology. Ecopsychology fundamentally is about exploring our connections: with ourselves, others, the planet we’re a part of. It involves looking at how we interact with the world.
We believe that using nature’s principles and systems is essential for producing the engagement we want. The EcoPsychology Initiative’s 10 Principles can produce remarkable growth, healing, impact and leadership.
The timing for this is ripe. Look around and people are rising up and engaging the world. Whether it’s social campaigns, politics, environmental activism, people are getting involved. This is wonderful. We think this arises from both a deeper yearning and (both and) a deep dissatisfaction with how our society is currently engaging. People are no longer willing to accept inequality, objectification, and disrespect. They want something more than social media. The wonderful music video Scare Away the Dark speaks to this. Many of the struggles we are facing are a reflection of how we are engaging with the world. This applies on a collective scale, but also individually-the rise of anxiety, depression, substance usage, etc-speak to a struggle we have with engagement.
Though the ways people are expressing their dissatisfaction isn’t always productive or healthy, it speaks to a deeper need that we have. A deeper engagement is a core need that people have. This is about finding value and purpose, to not accept less than a full and thriving life. We want to live in societies that relate in positive ways; we want to have lives that are fully engaged; we want to be engaged in our communities and relationships; we yearn for a sustainable relationship with the planet. This brings about a substance and meaning that everyone deeply wants.
So much of the unhappiness in the world arises because we haven’t found the engagement that we want and promise. As lovely a tool as Facebook is, we’re misguided and therefore disappointed when we think that this is sufficient engagement. How else do we engage: we spend lots of time with screens, in boxes, surrounded by artificial noise. This is the absence of real engagement and connection. No wonder people feel unfulfilled. Real engagement is interactive and dynamic. It’s talking with friends and strangers alike, it’s getting out in the natural world breathing fresh air, touching the earth, feeling the water.
Ecopsychology, we believe holds the key. It offers a path forward and solution: connecting with the natural world, both literally but also symbolically. It’s about using nature’s principles, systems and processes to guide our engagement moving forward. A new way of engaging is also the outcome: we’re relating to other people, ourselves and the world in more meaningful ways. It’s tolerant and respectful, there’s abundance and prosperity, growth and healing, impact and leadership. This is the very type of engagement that people are wanting. It’s the very thing we hope the EcoPsychology Initiative can provide.