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Institute of Global Education
Project NatureConnect

 

Education as if Balance Mattered

A shipwrecked sailor landed on an island where everybody was always born blind. The sightless islanders nursed him back to health, however, he became a nuisance. He demanded that they get him things they had never heard of: windows, lights, books and glasses. Puzzled, a scientific panel of leaders examined him. They discovered that he had abnormal organs that gave him a malfunction they called "sight." In their wisdom, they cured it by removing his eyes.

People are not born blind to nature. As some societies demonstrate, along with the rest of life we inherit nature's capacity to live in balance.

Unknowingly, and unlike nature, contemporary society teaches us to blindly think in ways that produce the environmental, social and personal disorders that plague us and Earth.

Fortunately, the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia is farsighted. With the foresight to help reverse the mental blind spots that produce our disorders, it has accredited a new process of global education, one that does not keep a student blind to the psychological abberations that produce our problems. It is an educational nature connected psychology called the Natural Systems Thinking Process. No matter where students reside on the Planet, young or old, using the Process helps them build responsible personal and global relationships at home, work or school.

Via the internet, the Integrated Ecology Department of Greenwich University teaches students to learn, practice and teach the Natural Systems Thinking Process. This is accomplished through interactive online courses and degree programs. A participant's previous parallel experiences are incorporated into the program that leads to a B.A., M.S. or Ph.D degree.

Through the Institute of Global Education, a Associate of the United Nations Department of Public Education and Portland State University, the courses may be taken individually and transferred into a student's program at other universities or to meet professional requirements.

Below, from student journals, are four examples of the transformation that occurs through the Integrated Ecology program. For additional information use the links that follow.

RE: Uncontrolled consumerism/materialism:
"As I continued doing the special forest activity, I found myself attracted to the songs of the birds and then gradually to the various stones and nuts and shells in the path. I would stop in the path, pick up the stone, admire its beauty and then feel clearly called to return it to its appropriate place. So often other times I have felt I needed to put it in my pocket and carry it home. Now, through the activity, I had a real sense of appreciating each rock, each shell, each leaf in its place for the time I was there. I felt suddenly freed from the need to possess something. I had a growing sense of letting things be and to just be still and glory in the fullness of the moment. As I allowed myself to connect, appreciate, thank and move on with so much of what surrounded me, I felt a letting go into being present. In this transformation, I began to feel I was part of the scene more, not my other self that needed to possess. I learned that I do not need to possess something to have the joy of it."

RE: Personal and Global Peace:
"I was never taught to ask permission to relate to people or the environment, I just take that for granted, as we all do. However, this activity required my senses to learn how to ask an attractive tree covered area for its consent for me to walk through it. The area continued to feel attractive, but something changed. It was the first time in my life that I totally felt safe. It felt like Earth's energies were in charge of my life, not me. It gave me a wonderful feeling of having more power to be myself. I felt in balance with nature and the people here because I could distinctly feel their energies consenting to support me. I never experienced nature and people that way before. It was like a powerful law that protected not only my life, but all of life. I felt very secure and nurtured as I walked under those trees and spoke to people. I learned that when I seek permission from the environment and people I psychologically gain energy and unity, I belong."

RE: Destructive stress:
"This morning I was battling the remnants of some depression I had been feeling about my family and life "stuff". I was doing the attraction activity, looking around enjoying the day, the breeze, the sun, the beautiful trees and the sounds of birds chirping. In a flash of good feeling, I realized that these feelings are what is so good about living on earth at this time. It was enough, if for no other reason, to be here, to experience the beauty of this planet. This was a major breakthrough for me, because I battle the reason for being here quite a bit in my recovery work. This happened before noon, and it is now 6 pm, and I still feel great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to share this because I am so happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

RE: Healing:
The activity helped me become aware of my attraction to the crescent moon as it hung over two hills near my home. Soon, its mellow glow, framed by peaks and trees, embraced me in a wordless, ancient primordial scene. Timeless power, peace and unity swept me up. I just wanted to stay in that state of awe, I felt in balance with all of reality. I was simply "BEING." No tension, no pressing goal, just truly belonging to the global community. This natural energy captured my stress laden pulse and seduced it to the rhythms of Earth. The sleeping disorder I have battled all my adult life dissolved in this power. For the first time in decades, I gently fell asleep after dark and arose shortly after dawn. I celebrated the breakthrough and I thanked nature. I thanked the activity, too, for it lets me reconnect whenever I choose."

Additional example of the Natural Systems Thinking Process and its effects are available at http://www.ecopsych.com/millecopstrand.html and http://www.pacificrim.net/~nature/survey.html

Dr. Mark Brody, a psychologist with the Philadelphia Public School System says "The experiences expressed in the above paragraphs may be some of the most important since Earth Day 4 1/2 billion years ago. They are at least important for anyone in our possession-addicted, excessively destructive culture to contemplate. It is significant that nature reconnecting activities help us make such breakthroughs."

Pulitzer-Prize winning sociobiologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson, of Harvard, affirms that people have an inherent biological need to be in contact with nature. He says Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction.

In conclusion, Cohen says, "In learning how to think with nature is the salvation of our sanity and Earth. Excessively living indoors, our mentality stressfully disconnects from nature's balanced sensory rewards. In replacement, we crave and psychologically bond to destructive gratifications. Genuinely reconnecting our thinking with nature replaces our destructive bonds with constructive passions and responsible relationships"

For further information visit:

Degree Programs and Courses

Natural Systems Thinking Process

Who to contact: Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D.

 

 

Institute of Global Education
In Association with the United Nations Department of Public Information
Degrees, Courses and Training Books
Post Office Box 1605,
Friday Harbor, WA 98250.
(360) 378-6313
nature@pacificrim.net

Greenwich University,
grnichu@aloha.net
1-800-367-4456

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