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DEEP ECOLOGY with John Seed, Katrina Roberg & Michael Norton, Melbourne, May 2023

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Event description

The Rainforest Information Centre presents DEEP ECOLOGY with John Seed, Katrina Roburg & Michael Norton

Tickets are sliding scale from $150-$600 - $150 student or unemployed, $600 well off, or somewhere in between.

25% of the proceeds will be donated to protect Ecuador’s rainforests.

Accommodation in dorms or your own tent/van

Vegetarian meals will be provided, gluten-free and vegan options by request after booking.


I have worked for worldwide rainforests since 1979. Although many of our efforts succeeded, for every forest saved 100 have disappeared. Clearly, you can’t save the planet one forest at a time. It's one green Earth or a bowl of dust. Without a profound change of consciousness, we can kiss the forests goodbye, the ones we’ve "saved" alongside the rest.

Deep ecology is key to the change we need. To deep ecology, underlying all the symptoms of the environmental crisis lies a psychological or spiritual root – the illusion of separation from the rest of the natural world which stems from anthropocentrism or human-centeredness.

Conditioned since the Old Testament to “subdue and dominate” nature, the modern psyche is radically alienated from the air, water and soil which underpin life and this is reflected in the rapid shredding of all-natural systems in the name of economic development. Deep ecology reminds us that the world is not a pyramid with humans on top, but a web. We, humans, are but one strand in that web and as we destroy this web, we destroy the foundations for all complex life including our own.

While we maintain a self-image created in the matrix of anthropocentric culture, a shrunken and illusory sense of self that doesn't include the air and water and soil, we will experience nature as "outside" our self and fail to recognise that nature "out there" and nature "in here" are one and the same.

Many people INTELLECTUALLY realise that we are inseparable from Nature and that the sense of separation that we feel is socially conditioned and illusory.

But as the late Arne Naess, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at Oslo University, the man who coined the term "Deep Ecology" wrote: "it is not enough to have ecological ideas, we have to have an ecological identity, ecological self".

But how can we nourish our ecological identity? In answer to such questions,  Joanna Macy and I developed a series of experiential deep ecology rituals called the “Council of All Beings” and in 1986, with Arne Naess and Pat Flemming,  wrote a  book called Thinking Like A Mountain - Towards a Council of All Beings (which has been translated into 12 languages). Along with others, we have been facilitating these workshops around the world since then.

In this workshop we remember our rootedness in nature, recapitulate our evolutionary journey and experience the fact that every cell in our body is descended in an unbroken chain 4 billion years old, through fish that learned to walk the land, reptiles whose scales turned to fur and became mammals, evolving through to the present.

We further extend our sense of identity in the Council of All Beings itself where we find an ally in the natural world, make a mask to represent that ally, and allow the animals and plants and landscapes to speak through us. We are shocked at the very different view of the world that emerges from their dialogue. Creative suggestions for human actions emerge and we invoke the powers and knowledge of these other life-forms to empower us in our lives.

One of the rituals we will share is honouring our pain for the world: we grieve for all that is being torn from our world, the species lost, the landscapes destroyed. Only if we can allow ourselves to feel the pain of the Earth, can we be effective in Her healing. This is why the Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, has said that in order to heal the Earth,  "the most important thing that we can do is to hear, inside ourselves,  the sounds of the Earth crying". 

This workshop enables us to find an end to the illusion of separation and experience our rootedness in the living Earth.

Michael Norton:  I live with my family in Eltham, next to the Birrarung/Yarra River, amongst the gumtrees and abundant bird life. I’m grateful that I have the time and opportunity to connect with the land and the wild beings in this part of the world. In recent years I’ve been exploring different ways to help adults, young people and families to connect with nature through walks, sharing circles, story telling, creative practices, mindfulness and sensory connection, bush skills, and embodiment. I'm trained as a Natural Mindfulness Guide and I’ve been the co-creator and facilitator of Earth Connection Circles, Living Earth Community Calls, Wild Child Wandering, Walking with Earth & Story and Dawn Fires.

Deep Ecology and The Work that Reconnects has been a thread weaving in and out of my life over the last 8 years. My first experience with this work was powerful, heart opening and liberating. The practices and perspectives of Deep Ecology continue to be an important ally in my life as I struggle with the fear, anger, sadness and confusion of living in a world where my species is responsible for creating so much destruction and suffering. Yet I truly believe that healing and transformation is possible individually and collectively, when we bravely come together to do this work. It’s such a privilege to spend time with other people who long for a culture of deep care and respect for the planet that gives us life.

Katrina Roberg, also known as Katrina Wild Open Heart

Drawing on decades of Dharma practice and bushland regeneration, Katrina’s facilitation style integrates the landscape of the group, the Country, and the intent of the gathering.

Katrina’s relationships with Indigenous Australians includes developing and nurturing an ongoing partnership between The Wurundjeri Council and the restoration of Merri Creek, and mentorship from Warren Roberts of Yarn Australia. Katrina brings awareness of colonial impacts into her events, cultivating deep respect for First Nations’ belonging within Country. She is also a bridge builder between settlers, migrants and indigenous communities and holds space for the deep belonging of us all.

With a background in science (BSc Zoology), she weaves John Seed and Joanna Macy’s deep ecology and Work that Reconnects into her offerings. Katrina’s career has also included 20 years of bushland regeneration. She has worked and volunteered with Initiatives of Change, Melbourne Insight Meditation and Nature’s Apprentice. Now primarily working with Firekeepers Inc. facilitating workshops, school holiday and outreach programs, being a senior nature connection mentor and offering wellbeing support. Katrina meets groups of adults and children with playful, curious exploration, humility and skill. She is part of a strong peer support network and is a deep listening facilitator.

Katrina has created Merri Meanders (facilitating reconnection to local Country) and Groundstorey Workshops (practises to tend local Bushland) to invite more of our deeper selves to be known, to be in relationship with each other and the more than human world.

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