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Ecopsychology
How does Nature affect the Psyche?
Curated by Bonnie Bright
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Trauma and Homecoming: Finding a Sense of Place in the Space of Trauma -- by Bonnie Bright

Trauma and Homecoming: Finding a Sense of Place in the Space of Trauma -- by Bonnie Bright | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

In the heart of the jungle in Columbia, the U’wa people live a simple existence mostly beyond the reaches of modern society, having had little contact at all with the outside world until a few decades ago. Their indigenous relationship to the earth sustains them in a collective role as caretakers of the earth and an equal facet of nature. Thus, when the prospect of international firms making plans to drill into their ancestral lands for oil in the late 1990s arose, they perceived the concept to be intolerable, apocalyptic even (“U’wa tribe’s suicide pact,” n.d.).

 

The tribe of 5,000 people made it known that even the act of searching for oil on their homelands would destroy their way of life, initiating the same kind of colonization, exploitation, destruction, and violence that has happened elsewhere.... 

 

On receiving the news that exploration, and ultimately drilling, would imminently occur on their lands, the leaders promptly announced that the entire tribe of some 5,000 men, women, and children would willingly step off a 1400-foot cliff rather than suffer the horrors sure to follow the drilling. (Click the title to read the full article)

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Why Is It Taking So Long for Psychology to Go Green?

Why Is It Taking So Long for Psychology to Go Green? | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Psychology also mostly ignores humanity's psychologically-dysfunctional relationship with nature that results in the ecodical behavior that is causing global catastrophe. In spite of abundant scientific information about the shocking effects of human actions on planetary ecosystems (our own life-support systems and the life-support systems of countless other life forms!), few psychologists concern themselves with the task of helping us understand or change that behavior.

But as Ralph Metzner reminded us in 1999, "It is in the hearts and minds of human beings that the causes and cures of the ecocatastrophe are to be found." Surely finding this cure is a task that psychologists and other mental health professionals are morally obliged to urgently undertake given our present circumstances?.... (Click title for more)

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The Best Nature Books of 2014 | The Guardian

The Best Nature Books of 2014 | The Guardian | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Today, I share a list of what I consider to be the best nature books of the year, hoping that you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual ideas!

 

Yesterday, when I was tearing through my bookshelves hoping to discover books to include on my Best Bird Books of 2014 list, I ran across a number of wonderful nature books that I had to share with you, too. In retrospect, it is interesting to note that I had a much more difficult time choosing these titles because nature literature is a broader and more-difficult-to-define genre than is, say, bird literature, and also because I have a more complete library of nature writing from 2013 than from 2014.....

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The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External ~Naomi Klein

The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External ~Naomi Klein | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it
The climate crisis has such bad timing, confronting it not only requires a new economy but a new way of thinking.

 

› Climate change is place-based, and we are everywhere at once. The problem is not just that we are moving too quickly. It is also that the terrain on which the changes are taking place is intensely local: an early blooming of a particular flower, an unusually thin layer of ice on a lake, the late arrival of a migratory bird. Noticing those kinds of subtle changes requires an intimate connection to a specific ecosystem. That kind of communion happens only when we know a place deeply, not just as scenery but also as sustenance, and when local knowledge is passed on with a sense of sacred trust from one generation to the next... (Click title for more)

 

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Bolt from the blue: Warming climate may fuel more lightning

Bolt from the blue: Warming climate may fuel more lightning | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Rising global temperatures may cause a big jolt in the number of lightning strikes in the United States over the rest of the 21st century in the latest example of extreme weather spawned by climate change, scientists say.

 

Researchers forecast on Thursday that lightning strikes will increase by about 50 percent by 2100 in the continental United States because thunderstorms will become more explosive in the coming decades thanks to a warming planet.

 

This increase could lead to more wildfires because lightning already triggers half of these blazes in the United States... (Click title for more)

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Tree roots form a sort of "neural network" with one another, in an antifragile complex adaptive system

Tree roots form a sort of "neural network" with one another, in an antifragile complex adaptive system | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

"In this real-life model of forest resilience and regeneration, Professor Suzanne Simard shows that all trees in a forest ecosystem are interconnected, with the largest, oldest, "mother trees" serving as hubs. The underground exchange of nutrients increases the survival of younger trees linked into the network of old trees. Amazingly, we find that in a forest, 1+1 equals more than 2"


Via Lorien Pratt, Anne Caspari, Eva Rider
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Flora Moon's curator insight, August 20, 2014 8:51 AM

I was just thinking about anti-fragile systems,  great example, thanks!

Kathy Mays's curator insight, August 26, 2014 3:58 AM

Consider Jung's concept of the collective unconscious while looking at this.

Susie Osler's curator insight, April 9, 3:27 PM

yes!

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Reversing Genesis: The Ransacking of Temple Earth ~ Craig Chalquist PhD

Reversing Genesis: The Ransacking of Temple Earth ~ Craig Chalquist PhD | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

If you were to enter a church, mosque, or synagogue determined to plunder it before burning it down, you would probably end up in custody. Do the same to Earth, temple and home to us all, and you might be eligible for a government subsidy. Isn't that strange?

 

When psychologists talk about splitting, they refer to the habit of keeping sectors of life that belong together divided into different compartments. The unhealed child abuse survivor grows up to forget that the parent who beat them savagely was the parent they now idealize as an exemplar of loving discipline. The producer of violent films forbids his children to watch them. The speed dater with a track record of ending up with exploitative men convinces herself, again, that this man is the one she's been waiting for. The troll who attends church on Sunday spends the rest of the week vilifying people online.

 

Splitting, an emotional defense of early childhood, has become a character disorder of American society. News networks whose politician guests pushed the disastrous war in Iraq but never landed in prison...(Click title for more)

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Re-awakening the Green Man

Re-awakening the Green Man | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it
The degradation of our environment is accelerating beyond the point of our being able to repair it. The problems are many and complex—from the destruction of our forests, to the dying off of our fish. Our impure air and water is causing worldwide increases in chronic diseases including severe challenge to our immune systems. Most threatening of all, climate change may raise temperatures and cause extreme weather conditions for thousands of years. Scientists and experts such as Al Gore can show us charts of what is happening, but the facts and figures don’t reach into the depth of our heart and motivate us to change.  Joanna Macy, author and deep ecologist says, “We need to love the world in order to save it.”  Using our intellect in this area is not enough; we need to feel an emotional connection to the planet. Advertisers know that the best way to stir us is through images and stories, often culled from myths that deeply affect our psyche...

 

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This is what politicians debating global warming will look like soon

This is what politicians debating global warming will look like soon | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it
Awesome new street art unintentionally shames our leaders into paying attention to climate change.

 

“Politicians discussing global warming” — that’s what social media users have dubbed this tiny puddle sculpture by Spanish street artist Isaac Cordal.

 

The image has gone viral in the past few days and it’s obvious why. With sea levels projected to rise up to three feet by the end of the century, it's a stark reminder of our collective failure to act on climate change.

Or maybe not.

 

As it turns out, Cordal's sculpture is actually called “electoral campaign” and it's part of a larger street art installation called “Follow the leaders.” The tiny cement figures, arranged in bleak scenes of urban disintegration, represent the faceless businessmen who run our capitalist global order.

“These pieces reflect our own decline,” says Cordal. “We live immersed in the collapse of a system that needs change.”... (Click title for more)

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The Battle Over Global Warming Is All in Your Head

The Battle Over Global Warming Is All in Your Head | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Despite the fact that more people now acknowledge that climate change represents a significant threat to human well-being, this has yet to translate into any meaningful action. Psychologists may have an answer as to why this is

 

Today the scientific community is in almost total agreement that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of human activity, and that this represents a huge threat to the planet and to us. According to a Pew survey conducted in March, however, public opinion lags behind the scientific conclusion, with only 69% of those surveyed accepting the view that the earth is warming — and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. Still, 69% is a solid majority, which begs the question, Why aren’t we doing anything about it?

 

This political inertia in the face of unprecedented threat is the most fundamental challenge to tackling climate change. Climate scientists and campaigners have long debated how to better communicate the message to nonexperts so that climate science can be translated into action. According to Christopher Rapley, professor of climate science at University College London, the usual tactic of climate experts to provide the public withinformation isn’t enough because “it does not address key underlying causes.”...(click title for more)

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Climate on the Couch

Climate on the Couch | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Examining the psychological task of change, Mary-Jayne Rust looks at the ways in which we respond to the environmental crisis. How do old stories underlie our present reality?

 

While few people would now deny the reality of climate change and environmental crisis, many are still turning a blind eye to the situation we face. We are having great difficulty in making even the simplest of changes to our lives. The global scale of our crisis is overwhelming and it is easy to feel apathetic in response. This is made easier when our consumer lifestyles keep us well within our comfort zones.

When we do allow ourselves to feel, we might find a whole range of strong emotions, such as anxiety and fear about the future, despair at our lack of political will, grief for so many losses, guilt that we continue to be part of the cause, and more. While therapy has helped many of us to become more emotionally literate interpersonally, we are still a very stiff-upper-lip culture in relation to the bigger picture; when we block out our feelings, we lose touch with the urgency of crisis.

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Laura M. Smith's curator insight, May 17, 2014 9:39 AM

How do we move beyond the human skin to reclaim the vastness of our self?

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Fighting Despair to Fight Climate Change

Fighting Despair to Fight Climate Change | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Without hope, the horror of climate change paralyzes rather than politicizes.

 

There is a brutal conundrum at the heart of the fight against catastrophic climate change: when people grasp just how dire things are, they’re as likely to hunker down as to rise up. Maybe more likely.

 

A haunting New York Times Magazine story demonstrates this. It’s about Paul Kingsnorth, a onetime environmental activist who has essentially given up, devoting himself instead to a multifaceted project of grief and survival called Dark Mountain. “Everything had gotten worse,” Kingsnorth told writer Daniel Smith. “You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years, and every single thing had gotten worse. And I thought: I can’t do this anymore. I can’t sit here saying: ‘Yes, comrades, we must act! We only need one more push, and we’ll save the world!’ I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it! So what do I do?”

 

What Kingsnorth did was draft an apocalyptic manifesto, titled Uncivilisation. “It is, it seems, our civilisation’s turn to experience the inrush of the savage and the unseen; our turn to be brought up short by contact with untamed reality,” he wrote. “There is a fall coming... (Click title for more)

 

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Psychological Factors Help Explain Slow Reaction to Global Warming, Says APA Task Force

Psychological Factors Help Explain Slow Reaction to Global Warming, Says APA Task Force | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

While most Americans think climate change is an important issue, they don’t see it as an immediate threat, so getting people to “go green” requires policymakers, scientists and marketers to look at psychological barriers to change and what leads people to action, according to a task force of the American Psychological Association.

 

Scientific evidence shows the main influences of climate change are behavioral – population growth and energy consumption. “What is unique about current global climate change is the role of human behavior,” said task force chair Janet Swim, PhD, of Pennsylvania State University. “We must look at the reasons people are not acting in order to understand how to get people to act.”

 

APA’s Task Force on the Interface Between Psychology and Global Climate Change examined decades of psychological research and practice that have been specifically applied and tested in the arena of climate change, such as environmental and conservation psychology and research on natural and technological disasters.... (Click title for more)

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C.G. Jung: “I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love and have never been able to explain what it is.”

C.G. Jung: “I have again and again been faced with the mystery of love and have never been able to explain what it is.” | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Carl Jung speaks of love:

 

“In classical times, when such things were properly understood, Eros was considered a god whose divinity transcended our human limits, and who therefore could be neither comprehended nor represented in any way.


I might, as many before me have attempted to do, venture an approach to this daimon, whose range of activity extends from the endless spaces of the heavens to the dark abysses of hell; but I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love.


Eros is a kosmogonos, a creator and father-mother of all higher consciousness. I sometimes feel that Paul’s words—“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love”—might be the first condition of all cognition and the quintessence of divinity itself. Whatever the learned interpretation of the sentence “God is love,” the words affirm the ... (Click title to read more)

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Biophilia: The New Plant-Based Way To Stay Healthy

Biophilia: The New Plant-Based Way To Stay Healthy | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

We now spend an average of 90 percent of our time living and working in sealed-off, air-tight, toxic, manmade environments....

 

Plants make us feel good. In fact, other elements of the natural world do also. Why is that?

In a word, it's "biophilia." A term coined by social psychologist Erich Fromm in the 1960s, biophilia is our biologically-inherited need to commune with nature. Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, in his book Biophilia defines it as "the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life." In his biophilia hypothesis, Wilson has urged that these connections are imperative for healthy emotional development and wellbeing.⊃1;

When I first heard about biophilia... it really resonated with me. I had recently learned about Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD)⊃2; an unofficial behavioral disorder that stems from the "disconnect" our children have with the natural world. Biophilia certainly explained the challenge of NDD and why it has a profound impact on our future.

As a species, humans evolved over millions of years amid natural surroundings. Our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual... (Click title for more)

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Why the environmental movement failed (and how it might succeed ...

Why the environmental movement failed (and how it might succeed ... | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

What is denial and what triggers it? Ecospychologist Sandra White characterized denial as a psychological defense mechanism against information we cannot cope with acknowledging – the way in which our subconscious protects us from facing the unfaceable. In the context of climate change “the unfaceable” might be the acknowledgement that our current collective behaviors are exterminating much of life on Earth and preventing the possibility of a decent existence for future generations.

 

This conflicts with our cherished belief “I am a good person” and so the mechanism of denial kicks in – we deny the reality, or even the possibility, of dangerous climate change due to human actions.

This notion of “I am a good person” is worth exploring more explicitly.

 

The current behaviors and aspirations our culture sanctifies and normalises as “good” (those same ones ruining everything for current and future generations…) are intimately bound up with our sense of individual identity. Success is equated with the acquisition of material possessions and... (Click title for more

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Welcome to the Anthropocene

Welcome to the Anthropocene | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

When I was a boy, we lived in the Holocene. That’s what the geologists called it, anyway, from the Greek words for  “entirely new.” The term was settled on in 1885 and defined as the geological epoch that followed the end of the Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago, after the retreat of the ice from the northern hemisphere, as the planet entered one of its periodic interglacial periods.  The Holocene, a relatively mild, even balmy, period, saw the rise of human civilization—indeed, all of recorded human history.  Bet we’ll miss it when it’s gone.

 

Almost two centuries after the beginning of the industrial revolution in Europe, an ecologist named Eugene F. Stoermer coined the word “anthropocene” to refer to the evidence of the human impact on the planet, an impact he judged to be on par with the great geological events of the past. The word means the “human new.” He started using the word in the early 1980s, but it didn’t catch on until 2000, when he and Paul Crutzen used the word in print for the first time.  While not officially adopted... (click title for more)

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Study: Global warming worsening watery dead zones

Study: Global warming worsening watery dead zones | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Global warming is likely playing a bigger role than previously thought in dead zones in oceans, lakes and rivers around the world and it's only going to get worse, according to a new study.

 

Dead zones occur when fertilizer runoff clogs waterways with nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. That leads to an explosion of microbes that consumes oxygen and leaves the water depleted of oxygen, harming marine life.

 

Scientists have long known that warmer water increases this problem, but a new study Monday in the journal Global Change Biology by Smithsonian Institution researchers found about two dozen different ways — biologically, chemically and physically — that climate change worsens the oxygen depletion... (Click title for more)

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Review of Thomas Berry's "The Great Work"

Review of Thomas Berry's "The Great Work" | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

In this review essay, Thomas Berry's The Great Work is contextualized within Berry's overarching cosmological project. Special attention is paid to Berry's critique of economic corporations, as well as his interpretation of globalization and his assessment of an alleged decline of the nation state, claims that run counter to certain contemporary social scientific research offering more complex depictions of such phenomena. The critique of democracy in Berry's work, and its potential implications, is also critically addressed.

 

"What happens to the outer world happens to the inner world," Berry avers. "If the outer world is diminished in its grandeur than the emotional, imaginative, intellectual, and spiritual life of the human is diminished or extinguished" (p. 200).

 

Our inner being will die if we continue to transform natural beauty into the soul-deadening, concrete-laden, box-store landscapes of a consumer society. "Our quest for wonderworld," Berry tersely observes, "is creating a waste-world" (p. 68). "Without the soaring birds, the great forests, the sounds and coloration of the insects, the free-flowing streams, the flowering fields, the sight of the clouds by day and the stars at night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human" (p. 200).

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Ensouled on the Planet ~ Marion Woodman

Ensouled on the Planet ~ Marion Woodman | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it
We are still accepting a cultural value that annihilates the Earth. If we don't change, we are going to our own extinction. This is precisely what addicts do.

NR: You have said we have to overcome our addictions before we can connect to nature.  Does our refusal to confront our addictions lead directly to our destruction of Mother Earth?

MW: I think so, yes. As children many of us feel a deep connection to Her.  But our culture warps our natural instincts. That warping leads to addictions.  But there’s a suicidal drive in the addicted individual and in the addicted society.  Our planet is coming up against the wall.  

Yet, despite all the horrors we have created, we are still doing precisely what we know will be ultimately destructive. Denial!  Denial!  We are still accepting a cultural value that annihilates the Earth. If we don’t change, we are going to our own extinction.  This is precisely what addicts do.  Addicts—in other words most of our society—pretend there’s nothing wrong.  As they laugh and talk and plan, they deny their dying souls.  That’s what we’re doing to the planet.  We fight about things that won’t matter if we are extinct... (click title for more)

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Maureen Calamia's curator insight, September 10, 2014 10:26 PM

A beautiful, eloquent, inspiring woman - Marion Woodman. Concretizing the state of "rapture" through materialism rather than finding it in observing the miraculous, spontaneous, sacred world around us. 

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Climate change is the fight of our lives – yet we can hardly bear to look at it

Climate change is the fight of our lives – yet we can hardly bear to look at it | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

 

Naomi Klein: We're products of an industrial project, a project linked to fossil fuels. But humans have changed before and can change again

 

This is a story about bad timing.

One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is through what ecologists call "mismatch" or "mistiming." This is the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.

 

The migration patterns of many songbird species, for instance, have evolved over millennia so that eggs hatch precisely when food sources such as caterpillars are at their most abundant, providing parents with ample nourishment for their hungry young. But because spring now often arrives early, the caterpillars are hatching earlier too, which means that in some areas they are less plentiful when the chicks hatch, with a number of possible long-term impacts on survival.

 

Similarly, in West Greenland, caribou are arriving at their calving grounds only to find themselves out of sync with the forage plants they have relied on for thousands of years, now growing earlier thanks to rising temperatures... (click title for more)

 

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▶ Consumed - Is Our Consumer Culture Leading to Disaster? - YouTube

Consumerism has become the cornerstone of the post-industrial age. Yet how much do we know about it and what it is doing to us? Using theories of evolutionary psychology to underpin a bold narrative of our times, this film takes a whirlwind tour through the "weird mental illness of consumerism", showing how our insatiable appetite has driven us into "the jaws of the beast". Both an apocalyptic and redemptive view of the human condition.

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Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions

Climate change psychology: Coping and creating solutions | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people's lives, according to a special issue of American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association's flagship journal.

 

Climate change "poses significant risks for -- and in many cases is already affecting -- a broad range of human and natural systems," according to the May-June issue's introductory article, "Psychology's Contributions to Understanding and Addressing Global Climate Change." The authors call upon psychologists to increase research and work closely with industry, government and education to address climate change.

 

The role psychologists can play may be different from what many people expect. "Psychological contributions to limiting climate change will come not from trying to change people's attitudes, but by helping..(Click title for more)

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On Being Human in a More-Than-Human World - David Abram

On Being Human in a More-Than-Human World - David Abram | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

I have fallen in love outward.
—Robinson Jeffers, “The Tower Beyond Tragedy”

 

“Of course we humans are mightily special....Our opposable thumbs, our ability to balance and ambulate on our hind legs, our capacity for reflection, and our slyness with tools and ever-more-complex technologies entail that we are a pretty unique bunch.

 

But then again, that hawk soaring overhead is able to fly without any of the contrivances that we depend upon, and the apple tree over there is able to squeeze apples directly out of its limbs, which in itself is pretty damn unique, and a far cry from anything that I can muster with my own body.

 

Perhaps you could say that the compelling stories we two-leggeds regularly concoct could be called an efflorescence, or even a kind of fruit, like those apples. But still, the way that some whales dive to a depth of six thousand feet, holding their breath for over ninety minutes, seems another kind of astonishment, as is the journey of monarch butterflies. After overwintering in a small cluster of conifers in the Mexican highlands, the monarchs navigate their way north... (Click title for more)

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The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External - Naomi Klein

The Change Within: The Obstacles We Face Are Not Just External - Naomi Klein | Ecopsychology | Scoop.it

This is a story about bad timing.

 

One of the most disturbing ways that climate change is already playing out is through what ecologists call “mismatch” or “mistiming.” This is the process whereby warming causes animals to fall out of step with a critical food source, particularly at breeding times, when a failure to find enough food can lead to rapid population losses.

 

The migration patterns of many songbird species, for instance, have evolved over millennia so that eggs hatch precisely when food sources such as caterpillars are at their most abundant, providing parents with ample nourishment for their hungry young. But because spring now often arrives early, the caterpillars are hatching earlier too, which means...(Click title for more)

 
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