Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Prescriptions for Eco-anxiety: A Report on Joanna Macy and The Work That Reconnects

In the face of the dire news on the latest climate change casualties that greet us each morning, how are we going to steady ourselves, build psychic, mental and emotional muscle to face it, and be supportive in our communities?  Ecopsychology and deep ecology offer the prescriptive remedies that I am finding vital in my life now and Joanna Macy's work has long been one of my inspirations. 

In my Eco-perspectives class I taught this spring, I assigned Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone's wonderful book Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy as a required text. Joanna Macy, eco-philosopher, deep ecologist and long-time environmental activist has been on the front lines of educating people for decades in what she calls The Work That Reconnects: reconnecting with our deeper selves, with community, and with the Earth.

Dahr Jamail and Truthout have just published "Staying Sane in a Suicidal Culture," a poignant reflection and  report on Joanna Macy's work which includes how the work helped Jamail therapeutically in his recovery from PTSD:

It was February 2005, and after several months of front-line reporting from Iraq, I'd returned to the US a human time bomb of rage, my temper ticking shorter each day.

Walking through morgues in Baghdad left scenes in my mind I remember even now. I can still smell the decaying bodies as I type this, nearly a decade later. Watching young Iraqi children bleed to death on operating tables after they had been shot by US military snipers has left an equally deep and lasting imprint.

My rage towards those responsible in the Bush administration bled outwards to engulf all of those participating in the military and anyone who supported the ongoing atrocity that was the US occupation of Iraq. My solution was to fantasize about hanging all of the aforementioned from the nearest group of light poles. Read the rest of the article at Truthout here.

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