Addressing Ecological Grief through Circle

Circle can be utilized to empower hope, resiliency, and competency to address ecological matters. We all call this planet 'home" and require safe social spaces to speak and listen from the heart about what matters most to us about the planet.

We are now hearing more often that we need a radical change in the way we have been living in relationship to the planet. The ecological impact of industrialized civilization is apparent: global warming, pollution, species extinction, deforestation and on and on. Also, we are bombarded with the knowledge of environmental loss and destruction from the media, and from information-intensive school curriculums; which research now shows is causing an increasing sense of anxiety, hopelessness, and disconnection from nature among us. When we become more aware of what’s happening around us, and at the same time become more self-aware about our role and relationship with the natural world, it can evoke a sense of pain or grief within us.

I use the term ecological grief to describe this phenomenon, as I have found a parallel between our emotional responses towards the loss of the natural world and the experience of loss in general (e.g. death of a loved one), essentially grief. Circle offers a means to address ecological grief and to acquire essential grief communication and life skills.

When we share our stories, the ones we carry within us, including the more sensitive ones where ecological grief may arise, we may become aware of how they influence how we live and the relationships we foster with others and the natural world; and in doing so, we have the opportunity to more fully understand our place in this world and improve upon our circumstances.  

Also, when we share our experiences, it is possible to evoke love for the natural world, as grief is not absent from love. So when we acquire the skills to communicate grief, through the experience of Circle, we also acquire skills of love or loving. And love has everything to do with creating a more sustainable world in which to live, after all, “real change begins with the simple act of people talking about what they care about.” - Margaret Wheatley -


Article: "Ecological Grief, Environmental Education & Circles of Learning"




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