Ecopsychology and spiritual ecology offer different focus

BAR HARBOR — A Climate to Thrive (ACTT) board members John Craigo and Dennis Kiley will join the College of the Atlantic Human Ecology Forum in McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, May 8, at 4:30 p.m. to explore how “targeting the ways people think, feel and relate is essential to catalyzing meaningful environmental action.”

ACTT members seek to make Mount Desert Island energy independent by 2030. They recognize that to achieve their goals, they must constructively apply psychology. Craigo and Kiley will draw on the insights of ecopsychology and spiritual ecology to share a path for doing so.

“We need to engage the minds and hearts of our community to best realize success,” Kiley said. “People have forgotten the sacred part of nature and our belonging to it.”

The disciplines of ecopsychology and spiritual ecology invite us to rethink who we really are, to reconsider our relationship with ourselves, each other and the world around us, he said. The growing distance between humans and nature has dramatically altered our perspective, changing the very ways that people act, feel, relate and think. Perceiving ourselves as separate from the nonhuman world has impacted our health and well-being, and that of our communities and the planet, he said, and climate change is a direct result of these psychological tendencies.

“To address climate change as well as the pressing social issues of our time, we must fundamentally re-examine the ways we understand ourselves and the world around us,” Kiley said. “The key to meaningful change lies in recognizing our interdependence with all of life, and the reintegration of natural principles into our lives. This talk will delve into how our individual and collective psychology has exacerbated climate change, and what we can do about it.”

Kiley and Craigo will offer insights and actions people can use, as well as share what ACTT is doing to better engage the community.

Kiley is the founder and president of the EcoPsychology Initiative. He also is the vice-chair of A Climate to Thrive, a yoga teacher and a counselor at the college and in private practice. After growing up on MDI, he moved back eight years ago and lives with his wife, Johannah Blackman, and their daughter, Gwinna, in Somesville.

Craigo is a physical therapist at the Community Health Center in Southwest Harbor, a single parent of two boys, an MDI resident for 20 years, an ACTT board member and continually looking for a way to live in balance with the Earth.

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