Global eco-healing reflects humanity’s desire to secure the health and wellbeing of nature—Earth’s community of life. The reverse is also true: nature’s health secures the possibility of human health and wellbeing. For example, some experts have suggested that deteriorating global ecosystems, environmental pollution, and climate change could be the greatest human health challenges the world has ever known.
Global eco-healing examines human physical, mental, and spiritual health and wellbeing from a whole-planet perspective. Large-scale problems such as loss of biodiversity and endemic poverty and hunger around the world motivate research, discussion, and international policy changes. From an awareness of the interconnectedness of all life, global organizations and movements work to assure the future of a thriving global community. This is the macro level of eco-healing.
At this level, in addition to our personal and societal identities, nature contributes to a global identity. Researchers have shown that our ecological identity includes “self, the human and non-human community, and the planet’s ecosystems, so that damage to the planet is seen as damage to the self” (Nisbet, 2011). Our global identity can motivate us to care for the environment and the health of the Earth.
Nature and Global Identity
Go outside to visit with nature. The size of the area is not important—for example, you may use your backyard, a tree in a city, a park, or a wilderness area. Observe nature all around you from the smallest things, such as pebbles or ants, to trees or buildings and the sky above.
As you observe, breathe deeply in a relaxed manner. Count one as you inhale and two as you exhale. When you are fully relaxed, be aware of the vastness, complexity, and beauty of nature and the Earth.
Continue inhaling as personal identity and exhaling to global identity. When you are done, inhale once more and exhale a sense of gratitude. Note any changes in mood, thoughts, or imaginations.
Cornelius, M., Robinson, T. N. (2011). Global Identity and Environmental Sustainability-Related Attitudes and Actions (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://www.stanford.edu/group/peec/cgi-bin/docs/behavior/research/global%20identity%20manuscript%20final.pdf.
Earth Policy Institute website. (2013). http://www.earth-policy.org/
Earth Watch website. (2013). http://www.worldwatch.org/
Nisbet, E., Zelenski, J., Murphy, S. (2011). Happiness is in our nature: exploring nature relatedness as a contributor to subjective well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies; 12, 303-322.