The Stories We Live By: a free online course in Ecolinguistics

The Stories We Live By: a free online course in Ecolinguistics from the University of Gloucester and the International Ecolinguistics Association.

The social and ecological issues that humanity currently faces are so severe that they call into question the fundamental stories that societies are based on. Ecolinguistics provides tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective, and contributing to the search for new stories to live by.

The course is based on the 2015 book by Arran Stibbe Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by.

Registration, course materials, tuition, and a certificate of successful completion are all free. There are already more than 300 people registered from all over the world!

In my role as a member of the steering group of the International Ecolinguistics Association, I am one of the volunteer tutors providing tuition support. Together we provide support in 12 languages: Afrikaans, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Russian, Spanish, and Ukrainian. This is quite amazing!

My PhD research enquired into the phenomenological experience of individuals and analysed their conceptualisations of self-nature (which includes mind-body) relationship, reflecting on the implications for pro-environmental behaviour. I draw on concepts and theories from ecopsychology and cognitive linguistics. I look forward to engaging with the course participants on general topics and Part 3: Framings, Part 4 Metaphors, Part 6: Identities, Part 8: Erasure and Part 9: Salience. 

Register here and join an international community interested in the way that language shapes how we think, act, and relate to the natural world.

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Article out: transformation, adaptation and universalism

Global Discourse journal have published my article online. It’s a response to an article by Brian Heatley from Green House, Paris: optimism, pessimism and realism. A limited number of free copies are available to download here.

Global efforts to mitigate climate change are inadequate, making planning for adaptation to increases in temperature critically important. Adaptation comes in many forms, none of which are neutral. All responses have ethical and equity dimensions. With transformational adaptation, changes in values are likely. Looking ahead to 2100, Heatley anticipates that universalism values will come under threat from the impacts of 3-4°C warming. But breakdown of solidarity and disruption of international systems of trade and security is already within sight: self-protection values and isolationist tendencies are gaining in salience.

Self-protection values and unrealistic optimism are discussed in this paper as defences against the profound psychological threat posed by climate change. The dominant cultural worldview of progressivism is rendered untenable: we are not in control of nature. The project of progress as it is currently conceptualised must be forgotten not just for a hundred years as Heatley pleads, but altogether, and an alternative idea of human flourishing promoted instead. But who are the custodians of values that help us live in more harmonious relationship with the natural world? Who can champion adaptation as universalism? This paper asks whether spiritual leaders will be able to step up and perform this role.

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Psychosocial & climate psychology research in IPCC reports

Here is an article I recently wrote for the Climate Psychology Alliance website, calling the climate psychology community to action. “Although psychologists have been investigating climate change and related subjects for decades… the value of psychological contributions is not yet … Continue reading

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Bill McKibben is wrong: humans and nature are not ‘at war’

Using war as a metaphor to frame a response to something has a long history: we have the war on drugs, war on poverty, war on terror. Now Bill McKibben wishes us to have a war on climate change. Actually … Continue reading

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Flaws of eco-efficiency approach

[I originally posted this to another blog in 2011. Interesting how peak oil isn’t much discussed as an issue any more] When less is not more The low carbon economy promotes eco-efficiency: using fewer resources, releasing less pollution, having a less negative impact. … Continue reading

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Seminar 11th Feb Lancaster University – psychosocial factors influencing responses to ecological crisis: defences, needs, frames

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Thursday 11th Feb, 12.-1.30pm, Charles Carter C37/40 Lancaster University  (campus map here) Psychosocial factors influencing responses to ecological crisis in organisational contexts: defences, needs and framesPeople don’t always act in accordance with their values. In this seminar I identify and discuss psychosocial … Continue reading

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10-week mindfulness course, Manchester starts 6th Jan 2016

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I am running another mindfulness course in Manchester, with  Opportunities & Activities community adult education project at the Union Chapel in Withington. This course will follow the same ground as the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course but across 10 weeks rather than 8 weeks. More … Continue reading

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