Ecopsychology Reading Resources

The following is a list of resources that I have found particularly useful within the context of my work as an ecopsychologist. I have chosen books on a variety of topics that I feel are useful to a diverse population. My hope is that you will pick up some of these books, read them, and discover the healing power of nature. They are wonderful and I know they will impact you in powerful ways.

 For Educators, Parents, and Others Who Work With Youth

Baylor, B. (1978). The other way to listen. New York, NY: Aladdin Paperbacks.

-          This book is a beautiful and poetic account of listening deeply to the secrets that nature has to tell us. It is a touching story, appropriate for people of all ages (adults and children), that has the power to alter our way of being with wild places.

Johnson, J. (2001).  The thundering years: rituals and sacred wisdom for teens. Rochester,             Vermont: Bindu Books.

-          A practical handbook for teenagers or for those with teenagers in their life. Includes examples of activities designed to facilitate the passage through adolescence.

Louv, R. (2008). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. New York, NY: Workmen Publishing Company, Ltd.

-          Richard Louv brings together research indicating that direct contact with nature is necessary for the emotional, intellectual, and physical health of young people.  This book includes current research, action items for affecting change, and inspirational discussion points relating to the importance of nature in the lives of humans.

Sobel, D. (2008). Childhood and nature: Design principles for educators. Portland, Maine:            Stenhouse Publishers.

-          In Childhood and Nature, educator, David Sobel articulates several design principles for place-based education models. Children learn language arts, math, science, social studies, as well as personal and social responsibility through involvement with their communities and nature. An excellent resource for educators interested in place-based education.

Stone, M & Barlow, Z. (Ed.) (2005). Ecological Literacy: Educating our children for a  sustainable world. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.

-          A compilation of articles written by some of the world’s leading writers and educators, such as Fritkof Capra, Wendell Berry, and Michael Ableman, Ecological Literacy marries theory and practice about how learning in this world occurs from a systems theory point of view and with the objective of moving toward sustainable communities. An interesting resource for those interested in educational reform.

Young, J., Haas, E., McGowan, E., (2008). Coyote’s guide to connecting youth with nature. Shelton, WA: OWLink Media.

-          An excellent guide for parents, teachers, and nature guides that examines the natural learning cycle and mentorship techniques for working with youth in nature.  This book includes a number of wonderful activities for working with youth in nature. Please visit the following website for more information on programs using this model: www.wildernessawarenessschool.org     www. kamana.org

 

For  Those Interested in the Healing Power of Nature

Adams, C. (Ed.) (2002). The soul unearthed: Celebrating wildness and spiritual renewal through nature. Boulder, CO: Sentient Publications.

-          This book is a beautiful compilation of essays, articles, and poems written by wilderness advocates, guides, supporters of deep ecology, pioneers in the field of ecopsychology, nature writers, and poets – sharing their love for what is wild within and around us. One of my personal favourites.

Buzzell, L. & Chalquist, C. (Ed.) (2009). Ecotherapy: Healing with nature in mind. San     Francisco, CA: Sierra Club Books.

-          Ecotherapy: Healing with nature in mind, is a compilation of articles and essays written on nature-based methods of psychological healing that is grounded in the fact that people are inseparable from the rest of nature and nurtured by healthy interaction with the Earth. Contibutors include: Thedore Roszak, Robert Greenway, Mary Watkins, Richard Louv, and Joanna Macy.

Macy, J, & Brown, M. (1998). Coming back to life: Practices to reconnect our lives, our world. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

-          This book is a handbook of exercises designed for facilitators wishing to lead workshops on reconnecting people to the despair that humans feel given the current environmental crisis and to hope for a different world for future generations.  For those interested in Joanna Macy’s work, please visit her website: www.joannamacy.net

Plotkin, B. (2008). Nature and the Human Soul. Novato, CA: New World Library.

-          This book presents an ecopsychological and cyclical perspective of the human journey from birth to death. An excellent personal growth guide to responsible and authentic maturation, from birth to elderhood.  If you are interested in learning more about and from Bill Plotkin, please visit his website at: www.animas.org

 

Roszak, T., Gomes,  M. & Kanner, A. (Ed.) (1995). Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, healing in mind. Berkeley, CA: Sierra Club Books.

-          This book marks the coming together of leading-edge psychologists and ecologists to redefine sanity on a personal and planetary scale. This is a compilation of essays and articles relevant to the field of ecopsychology.

Zimmerman, J. (1996). The way of council. Las Vegas, NV: Bramble Books.

-          The Way of Council Describes a highly effective group processing technique that is based on peaceful, heartfelt listening and speaking. Council is one of the core routines at CanAdventure and is our most potent form of honest communication and connection. This book is an excellent guide for those wishing to learn about this process. Please also visit the following website for more information: www.ojaifoundation.org

 

For Those Interested in Rites of Passage:

Foster, S. & Little, M. (1992). The book of the vision quest (Revised edition). New York, NY:      Simon & Schuster.

-          The Book of the Vision Quest outlines the wilderness rite of passage experience for those seeking personal renewal and transformation. It includes personal anecdotes from people having experienced Foster and Little’s model for wilderness rites of passage. An excellent introduction to those contemplating experiencing or who simply want to learn more about wilderness rites of passage.

Foster, S. & Little, M. (1989). The roaring of the sacred river. New York, NY: Prentice Hall         Press.

-          The Roaring of the Sacred River is a handbook for those interested in wilderness rites of passage. Particularly useful for those interested in guiding experiences. Please consult the following website for more information on programs using this model: www.schooloflostborders.org

Mahdi, L., Foster, S. & Little, M. (Ed.). (1987). Betwixt and between: patterns of masculine and   feminine initiation. Lasalle, Illinois: Open Court.

-          This book is an excellent compilation of articles and essays regarding contemporary rites of passage through different life transitions. A good read for anyone interested in contemporary rites of passage.

Plotkin, B. (2003). Soulcraft: Crossing into the mysteries of nature and the psyche. Navato, CA:    New World Library.

-          A handbook on the human journey from adolescence to adulthood. Soulcraft Weaves psychology with the mystery of the natural world to create a contemporary rite of passage into adulthood. An excellent read for those working with youth in wilderness therapy or for those wishing to personally transition into authentic adulthood.