Integrating Ecological Awareness into Daily Life: An Exploration of Integral Ecology

By: Carissa Wieler

In this world of both turmoil and beauty, many wonder about how to skillfully bring their deepest longings and ideals for the planet to fruition. When so much seems against what feels right and true, how do we step up and bring our hearts and minds to the task? Faced with evolutionary consequences of large-scale environmental change, one might experience hopelessness, despair, numbness, anxiety, fear, rage, grief…and isolation. Yet, there are ways to explore our relationship with the earth that can help us shift our awareness to greater realities and possibilities. If our problems can only be solved by moving to a new level of awareness, how do we get there?

Integral Ecology offers a pathway, by integrating both the self that encounters the world and the world as encountered by the self. By exploring our own patterns of development in relation to issues we deeply care about, we can see more clearly our past to present trajectories and then possible leaping off points for greater impact and embrace. By also presencing multiple perspectives on the world around us, including the interiors and relationalities of animals, we can increase our sense of intimacy and connectedness with the world around us. In more fully knowing ourselves and the world around us, we can experience greater levels of nourishment by life as well as enacting our unique contributions.

Join us for an evening that will be experiential, conceptual and conversational in it’s exploration of the growing field of integral ecology.

Gather at 6:30pm; Presentation 7:00-9:00pm; Closing - 10pm

Excerpts from “An Overview of Integral Ecology”

Integral ecology is a comprehensive framework for characterizing ecological dynamics and resolving environmental problems. It is comprehensive in that it both draws upon and provides a theoretical scheme for showing the relations among a variety of different methods, including those at work in the natural and social sciences, as well as in the arts and humanities. Integral ecology unites, coordinates, and mutually enriches knowledge generated from different major disciplines and approaches. Integral ecology can be: a) applied within a discipline (e.g., by integrating various schools of ecology); b) applied as a multidisciplinary approach (e.g., by investigating ecological problems from several disciplines); c) applied as an interdisciplinary approach (e.g., by using social science methods to shed light on economic or political aspects of environmental values); and d) applied as a transdisciplinary approach (e.g., by helping numerous approaches and their methodologies interface through a well grounded meta-framework).

People who use the integral ecology framework recognize that it is not enough to integrate ecosystems and social systems (e.g., economies, laws, education). Nor is it enough to also include objective realities (e.g., behavioral studies, laboratory testing, empirical analysis). Instead, what is needed is to integrate these interobjective and objective realities with subjective (e.g., psychology, art, phenomenology) and intersubjective (e.g., religion, ethics, philosophy) realities. In effect, integral ecology unites consciousness, culture, and nature in service of sustainability.

Integral ecology allows for a comprehensive understanding of how the many ecological approaches available can be united to inform and complement each other in a coherent way. This integral framework honors the multiplicity of ecological perspectives. It allows individuals to become proficient at identifying how various methods focus on specific ecological concerns, and from which perspective those concerns are being explored. Environmental issues today are so complex that anything less than an integral approach will deliver only temporary solutions at best and ineffective results at worst. What is needed is an ecology of perspectives—one that combines the insights, approaches, concerns, techniques, and methods from the 200 distinct perspectives of the natural world. Such a meta-approach can coordinate and organize the various ecological perspectives in a truthful, sincere, just, and functional way that avoids being just another perspective. It is our hope that integral ecology supports a new kind of ecology, one that is informed by the strengths of many approaches and methods, while at the same time exposing the limits and blind spots of any single approach. Integral ecology provides one of the most sophisticated applications and extensions of integral theory available today, and as such it serves as a template for any truly integral effort.



Centre for Peace
1825 W.16th Avenue



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