Bob Dylan produced a song, ‘The Times, They Are a Changing” in 1964. The song and its lyrics spoke to the changing dynamics that were taking place in the 60’s. If you pay attention to the world around us currently, you will similarly notice that times are changing. These indicators are at once subtle and obvious, easy to identify and hard to grasp. Regardless of your beliefs, most would probably agree we’re living in a time of transition. Old norms are falling away, whether it’s Trump’s unconventional presidency, the rise of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter, Standing Rock, or cryptocurrencies. In fact, the very systems and norms that have underpinned our society are experiencing tectonic shifts.
When we take a step back from all the upheaval, there is a lot of reason to be hopeful. Yes, the catalysts and results of change can be painful. However, they also point to an underlying yearning to improve how we’re functioning. The rising up on all ends of the continuum is a dissatisfaction with patterns that have been in place for many decades. There is an opportunity here.
People are making their voices known that they want better. They demand new systems that meet the times we live in, that meet the needs people have for respect, equality, and authenticity. Most simply, we require a new story. There is a resistance to the top-down hierarchical models that have been entrenched since the founding of this country.
In this highly decentralized time, there is a lot of floundering. It’s important that we look around for models that speak to the interactive and interdependent nature of the world. We need a more systemic way of seeing things, ways of self-organizing and engaging that are more holistic. This is very different from the mechanized approaches we’ve been using since the Industrial Revolution.
Nature and its principles provide examples of systems that apply to these times. These models have stood the test of time; for all the degradation our planet has encountered, it continues to be resilient, sustainable, efficient and innovative. These are the very things our society needs. The EcoPsychology Initiative has developed 10 Principles that are inspired by natural ecosystems that are powerfully effective when applied to humans. Applying these principles to how we organize and engage will yield the very growth, leadership, healing and impact that we’re wanting for ourselves and the world.
One of these 10 Principles is Adaptation. Psychologically using nature’s principles to solve problems and realize potential-called biomimicry-will enable us as individuals, organizations and communities to adapt to the changing circumstances we face. This will be empowering, and provide the needs that are times are requiring.
Biomimicry is both a science and art. A peacock’s wings, a nautilus shell or the ability of a bird to fly is inspiring. These examples illustrate nature’s ability to very pragmatically evolve to meet its needs while also producing something beautiful. We need both of these in our human world; thriving human societies require art and beauty, and as well as purpose and value. We need systems in the world that enrich and solve problems. We believe that ecopsychology and adopting nature’s principles provides just this model to continually adapt to our changing needs.
“The times they are a changing”. Indeed, they are. A new story is being written as we speak by billions of people around the world rising up. As old systems and stories fall away, we are hopeful for a new narrative. We don’t know how this will look, but we do believe an ecopsychological lens is the greatest opportunity to adapt to these changing times and get what we want, for ourselves and the world.