From the Roots Up
Exploring the power of radical nature connection for collective action
A workshop-lab for socio-ecological change practitioners, educators, and trainers seeking to empower defence of the earth and struggles for social justice, hosted near Kóln, Germany.
As we witness the global system of industrial growth-based production collide with non-negotiable ecological limits, the need for collective action in defence of the earth and social justice has never been clearer. We are interested in how nature connection, ecopsychology, and ecological education can all play a part. Those of us who practice such work know how deeply transformative it can be and how it can offer insight, healing, connection and deep shifts in perspective. What can we do to make it more effective and powerful as a stimulus and support to social and ecological action? And how do we ensure that when working with these ecological and nature-based modalities we don’t inadvertently repeat the patterns of harm we’re trying to change? Join us on this part-training, part lab to find out.
Nature and ecology-based practice can support us to reclaim a healthy and integrated sense of self – rooted in the ecological, biological, sensory, and emotional, as well as rational dimensions of our lives. It helps us to reconnect with the sources of nourishment and inspiration that can flow into us from the web of life. And at its most potent, it can support deep shifts in perspective and experience that take us beyond narrow human-centred views of the world with the gradual emergence of what is sometimes called “ecological consciousness”.
How can we ensure that the transformative power of this kind of education carries people beyond personal concern to strategic organising and action?
What are the implications of integrating radical analyses of structural power with eco-educational work?
Drawing from a wide range of sources, this workshop seeks to facilitate a deepened inquiry and exploration for participants in relation to their own practice. It offers experiences and content for fresh learning, as well as the unlearning of outdated modes and ideas, allowing the possibility of new forms of activism. Our hope is to create conditions for emergence and connection as a learning community for these 6 days.
We hope to help movements for collective change to be more effective by weaving understandings of the deeper issues at the root of our current troubles, and creating conditions for mutuality, connection and radical participation.
This work applies the benefits of nature connection – such as greater clarity, resilience, vitality, motivation, and connection with self and others – to leverage social change. It seeks to harness direct experiences of an ecological paradigm to the radical transformation of our relationships with the world in ways that are radical, explicitly anti-oppressive and politically informed.
From The Roots Up is an inquiry. It’s a work in progress. We want to share what we have developed so far, what we are learning and developing – and enter into relationships with other practitioners to deepen the inquiry together.
This event will bring together practitioners such as nature guides, social change practitioners, community organisers, Climate Change consultants, ecopsychologists, activist trainers, facilitators, and movement builders to learn and explore.
There will be time spent indoors and out, in whole and small groups, solo and in pairs.
We will be guiding most of the first few days and will then invite a more ‘Lab’ style of collective inquiry. Your participation and contributions will be of great benefit to the wider project (see below).
We will ask:
How do current activism and nature-based education perpetuate or repeat patterns of extraction, separation, power over and human centricity?
How can the disciplines of ‘eco-learning’ better motivate and sustain collective action?
How can we make this work truly empowering, inclusive, and transformative?
How can we learn from nature – and as nature – in ways that can empower our movement building and our practice?
What is emerging in the margins where the overlapping of different practices, themes and lived experiences are acting as fertile ground for change?
What are the questions we should be asking?
As a framework for this inquiry, we will share work recently developed by the Radical Nature Connection team from the Ulex Project alongside Toni Spencer’s work, supported by research work carried out by the German ecopsychology collective, Wandelwerk.
This workshop is part of a Europe-wide collaborative project inquiring into how nature connection, ecopsychology, and ecological education can empower collective action for socio-ecological transformation. This includes the production of open-source resources for facilitating this work, a training for trainers event and a handbook. Partners include Ulex, Transformative Education CIC, Wandelwerk and Vedeglet.
We will create space to discuss key challenges we face as practitioners, to share experience and approaches and to invite feedback on this work so far.
The event will be hosted at the wonderful Brunnenhof, near Cologne, Germany.
We are offering this event in the spirit of the ‘solidarity economy’, meaning that no-one will be excluded based on economic grounds. Attendance is ‘free of charge’. But please, to help support the economic viability of the event, consider making a donation to contribute to the costs. (Unfortunately we are unable to provide economic support towards travel to the event).