Are you feeling uncomfortable sensations related to the climate and ecological emergency?
You are not alone...
Our emotional reactions are understandable given the state of our climate and ecological crisis and societal dysfunction.
You are invited to feel nurtured and supported as together we explore, learn and share methods for maintaining our wellbeing and building our resilience.
“It's going to be beautiful to see what we dare to do. Facing our fears, and letting go of and getting over our knee-jerk reactions to what we think we don't like or are afraid of. To see our capacity to walk into the fire. To discover how much we really love being alive. To give ourselves a taste of what that passion is. To let us fall really in love with our planet, and its beauty, and to see that in ourselves, as well as in each other.”
Joanna Macy, Ph.D. Eco-philosopher, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology
Together we will:
Witness, acknowledge, share and transition our uncomfortable thoughts, emotions, and sensations with compassion in our local community.
Learn and share techniques to create a personal tool-box of methods to maintain a foundation of health.
Share experiences, reflections and envision together a future we want to create.
Build our sense of community with a local network system to increase our options of support, connectedness, personal and community resilience.
Promote meaningful community engagement with local environmental actions to go forth feeling supported, re-energized and mitigate uncomfortable sensations.
“I really enjoyed the SOS Eco-Art session today. Deb created a fantastic open and supportive environment where we all felt very comfortable stating our thoughts and feelings without judgement. I loved the quiet and contemplative art and mindfulness activities, which allowed us to express ourselves clearly and directly from the heart.” - Malcolm, June 2019.
Ecopsychology studies examine how our disconnectedness as a species, and thinking we are separate from Nature has created Earth-separated behaviours reflected in anthropocentric climate change. Vulnerable states of planetary imbalance threaten many species including our own and this is reflected within us with uncomforatble feelings and sensations. Many of us feel vulnerable and are experiencing a complex range of thoughts and emotions. Disharmony in physical, psychological and emotional health is evident and predicted to rise as we witness, or are subject to greater consequences of ecological and societal collapse.
"The deteriorating state of Earth and people signals that we and the environment are at risk. Our thinking is excessively separated from nature within and around us. We must consciously reunite our mind with natural systems and begin to co-create with nature. Doing nature reconnecting activities helps make this happen. They offer an urgently needed service and vast economic benefits. Interestingly, the word for breathing and sharing spirit together is 'conspire.' Shouldn't we learn how to conspire to support life and our lives on Earth, rather than dance on the deck of our sinking ship?"
- Dr. Michael Cohen, Project NatureConnect (The Secrets-of-Nature Attractions Trail)
‘Across different populations, psychological researchers have documented a long list of mental health consequences of climate change: trauma, shock, stress, anxiety, depression, complicated grief, strains on social relationships, substance abuse, sense of hopelessness, fatalism, resignation, loss of autonomy and sense of control, as well as a loss of personal and occupational identity. This more-than-personal sadness is what I call the “Great Grief”—a feeling that rises in us as if from the Earth itself. Perhaps bears and dolphins, clear-cut forests, fouled rivers, and the acidifying, plastic-laden oceans bear grief inside them, too, just as we do. Every piece of climate news increasingly comes with a sense of dread: is it too late to turn around?’
Is what I am feeling normal?
In 2015, I asked myself that question and 4 years later, S.O.S. (Sustainability of Self as a whole life organism) was born as an Applied Ecopsychology Masters research project. I had been studying Early Childhood and how Ecopsychology experiences until it hit me how serious climate change was and how there was hardly any mention of climate change in our daily lives.
Feeling the threat of climate change involves uncomfortable thoughts and emotions such as fear, anger, anxiety, withdrawal, depression, guilt, shame, grief, and helplessness.
I thought the world was crazy to be behaving as if everything was normal! The focus on 'Climate Change' uncomfortable emotions came from personal deep, dark experiences and transitioned through emotional and ecological states with nature as my guide, support, and teacher. I had no one to talk with, my relationships suffered, my mental and physical health suffered, the 2 psychologists I spoke with thought technology would solve climate change in the future. Meanwhile, I tried to make sense of my feelings and desire to know why no one was talking about it alone. I researched and studied climate change and planetary systems, read climate scientist letters and articles predicting increased impacts on human and planetary health within a short time-frame. My ecopsychology and eco-art therapy studies provided direct experiences with nature's wisdom to maintain my focus on wellbeing and resilience. Eventually, I learned there were many others around the globe grappling with this issue so I joined online groups and classes. I researched what they did and what climate scientists did to maintain their wellbeing. Meaningful action appeared to be one of the best antidotes for despair and a sense of helplessness, so I became a volunteer climate communicator with Climate for Change and learned how I was not alone with symptoms of eco-anxiety through conversations with people in our local communities. I realised something lacking in our community; a respectful recognition of the associated feelings, a safe and supportive space to share with others and opportunities for regular regenerative moments for us to maintain our wellbeing and build our resilience.
"Just as grief over the loss of a loved person puts into perspective what matters in our lives, collective experiences of ecological grief may coalesce into a strengthened sense of love and commitment to the places, ecosystems and species that inspire, nurture and sustain us."
I created SOS to fill a void.
I believe that the symptoms being labeled under eco-anxiety are not a pathology. Instead, they are a very sane, reasonable and healthy response to an existential threat and feelings of loss because of our love and interwoven relationships with our natural world. We all need to feel safe and secure and it is understandable to feel pain and suffering when something we love is threatened. Acknowledging the sensations as a reality instead of dismissing, distracting or dissociating from them is a step to transitioning these uncomfortable feelings.
SOS sets aside time within our local community and busy daily lives. We enjoy rejuvenating moments as we collaborate with each other and nature and realise we are not alone with our thoughts and sensations. Ecopsychology methods along with other practices offer tools for us to navigate an uncharted future together.
- Deb Punton, Ecopsychologist & S.O.S facilitator.
“The sorrow, grief, and rage you feel is a measure of your humanity and your evolutionary maturity. As your heart breaks open, there will be room for the world to heal.” -Joanna Macy
Please note, SOS sessions are not a substitute for any medical care, regular treatments, and medications.
If you are feeling the need for professional help please contact:
Lifeline: 131 114
Kids Helpline (13-25 yr olds): 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue: Ph 1300 22 4636
Psychology for a Safe Climate with climate-focused psychologists, education, and advice
Please see and share climate change-related services, groups, education resources and reading here:
Let's conspire to create our healthiest self and ripple out to educate and adapt people and systems
to the climate and ecological emergency!
A greater sense of wellbeing naturally flows from aligning ourselves as a part of a whole life organism, a living Earth.
When we feel healthy and supported, we can continue our work and lives with a rejuvenated sense of calm,
joy and purpose.
I acknowledge with respect my teachers with Project NatureConnect and Eco-Art Therapy, Nature and many others who have influenced and inspired me with the shared reverence for the interconnectedness of all life.
I recognise the Aboriginal peoples of Australia as the traditional custodians of the land on which I live. I pay my respect to them, their culture and elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge that sovereignty was never seeded. I also acknowledge that we are in the midst of a climate and ecological emergency and many indigenous are at the forefront of the crisis and also have wisdom for the solutions we require to move forward united.
Greensong believes that the benefits should be available to everyone regardless of their financial or life situation, and that our learning is enriched by a diversity of participants. We recognise that what is affordable for some can be a financial strain for others and therefore offer a tiered pricing structure.