TED Talk: Environmental Change, Distress & Human Emotion
Before Glenn Albrecht coined a word for it, few people gave much credence to the notion that ecological crises could cause psychological distress. But in 2003, Glenn, a professor of sustainability at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, introduced the term solastalgia, meaning “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at home.” Glenn’s work branched into many forms, including a TED talk, articles in the New York Times Magazine and the Ceylon Daily News, art exhibits from Australia to Arkansas, and even an instrumental by the British musical duo Zero 7. Glenn also has also published articles in the field of animal ethics and is the co-author with Dr. Phillip McManus of the 2012 book, The Global Horseracing Industry: Social, Economic, Environmental and Ethical Perspectives. Recently, in a precedent-setting court case, he helped residents of Bulga, New South Wales prove to a judge that a proposed coal mine expansion would cause severe ecological and psychological harm.
Art for the Sky
Daniel Dancer is a visionary conceptual artist whose work focuses on beauty and destruction in the natural world. While traveling in South America in the 1980s he became fascinated the famous Nazca Lines of Peru, ancient images that can only be comprehended from the air. He began exploring how these works could be meaningful in a contemporary context, and now, with his Art for the Sky, he works with schools and communities worldwide to create images composed of the people themselves, which he then photographs from on high. He is the author of Desperate Prayers: Artistic Adventures in Spirit and Ecology and Desperate Prayers: A Quest for Sense in a Senseless Time, in which he documents twelve years of creating “eco-sculptures” with found materials in endangered eco-systems. As a photographer, he has shown his images of beauty in the midst of devastation in numerous galleries and publications worldwide, including the Sierra Club book, Clearcut, depicting the destruction of forests in North America. Daniel is also a singer-songwriter; his music is featured on his first CD, Wild is the Way, recorded with his band, Skysight.
Susan Griffin is an award-winning poet, essayist, playwright and screenwriter. Born in Los Angeles in 1943 in the midst of World War II and the holocaust, she was profoundly shaped by these violent events and has explored them in her work ever since. Her book Woman and Nature is an extended prose-poem. A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of War blends history and memoir, as does Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy: The Autobiography of an American Citizen, which investigates the state of mind that engenders and sustains democracy. A Chorus of Stones was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award and was named a NY Times Notable Book of the Year. Susan’s play Voices, which won an Emmy in 1975, has been performed throughout the world. In 2000 Utne Reader chose her as one of a hundred important visionaries for the new millennium. She recently co-edited an anthology, Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, published in 2011. Susan lectures widely in the United States and abroad and teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Pacifica Graduate School. She lives in Berkeley.
Larry Hobbs is a scientist with a well-developed sense of play and a passionate love for the natural world. He has been involved in marine mammal research and in teaching natural history for more than thirty-five years. As a whale biologist with the U.S. National Marine Mammal Laboratory, he worked on attaching radio transmitters to and tracking whales, manatees, otters, and other sea animals. He leads an annual expedition to the Sea of Cortes to watch the gray whale migration, an event he hasn’t missed in thirty-four years. For twenty years he was an adjunct faculty member in the B.A. completion program at Antioch Seattle, where he taught science as a field course. The rite of passage program that he developed for the Washington State 4-H Challenge Program is still ongoing, and he continues to lead teen groups and train adult leaders. He has been leading eco-tours to Antarctica for the Smithsonian and other organizations for ten years. In 2008 he was the recipient of the prestigious Horace Mann Award, presented to individuals who have won victories for humanity. He lives in a yurt on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
Practice of Living and Dying
Meredith and her husband Steven Foster brought the modern wilderness rites of passage movement into being. As co-founders of Rites of Passage, Inc. in 1976 and The School of Lost Borders in 1981, they pioneered new methods and dynamics of modern pan-cultural passage rites in the wilderness and created innovative practices of “field eco-therapy.” They have trained thousands of guides from southern California to South Africa. The essence of their work has been captured in articles, chapters of books, an award-winning documentary film, Lost Borders, and their own books, including The Book of the Vision Quest, The Roaring of the Sacred River, and The Four Shields: The Initiatory Seasons of Human Nature. Since Steven’s death in 2003, Meredith continues both nationally and internationally to guide and train others. Along with Dr. Scott Eberle, she founded a new branch of Lost Borders entitled The Practice of Living and Dying, to break the taboos and silence that pervade the subject of death and to help restore dying to its natural place in the cycle of life. Meredith is currently director of The Practice of Living and Dying, Lost Borders International, and Lost Borders Press. She lives in Big Pine, California.
Mountain Chief Institute
With his perception of environmental waste as an orphan from the circle of life, David Powless was an early inspiration for Radical Joy for Hard Times. A member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, David is dedicated both to sustaining tribal traditions and to encouraging Indian people, particularly young people, to become successful and productive professionally. He began his career as a football player with the New York Giants and later with the Washington Redskins. Among the business ventures he has founded or led are ORTEK, an Oneida-run environmental laboratory in Green Bay; Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, where he served as vice president; and Bear Paw, an insurance agency for tribal governments. Currently update. Among his awards and honors are the Small Business Administration’s National Innovation Advocate of the Year Award in 1981 and induction into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, NY in 2008. For many years he has taught tribal members a process he calls Rainbow Way Visioning Meditation, which bridges science, meditation and Indian Traditional Teachings. He lives in New Mexico.
Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose pioneering work has brought beauty to communities throughout the world. A native of Kueizhou, China, Lily studied traditional Chinese painting in Taiwan before immigrating to the United States in 1963 to attend art school in Philadelphia. In 1968 she founded Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia, launching a national model of community-building through the arts as she and her colleagues from the community transformed a neglected, rundown neighborhood into a place of visionary splendor. In 2004, Lily founded Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the world. In 2005 she launched the Rwanda Healing Project, working with female-headed families to create a Genocide Memorial Park to honor victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Another recent project was with the Dandelion School Transformation Project, created by and for the children of a school located in a heavily polluted industrial area on the outskirts of Beijing. Lily’s work, which has won many prestigious awards, has also impacted people in Columbia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and the Republic of Georgia. Her new book is Awakening Creativity: Dandelion School Blossoms.