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DEEP ECOLOGY with John Seed, Rahme Etai & Tanya Hawkes, Melbourne, Feb 2023

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Event description

The Rainforest Information Centre presents DEEP ECOLOGY with John Seed, Rahme Etai, & Tanya Hawkes

Tickets are sliding scale from $150-$450

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


    • Vegetarian meals will be provided, gluten-free and vegan options by request after booking.
    • Accommodation in dorms or your own tent/van
    • To make this event as covid safe as possible, depending on the covid situation at the end of January,  everyone who wants to join us may be required  to do  a RAT test on Fri 3rd before leaving home and also agree to stay home if positive or showing any symptoms.
    • I reserve the right to cancel the workshop up to Jan 27  if I believe that the risk of covid at that time is too great. In this case everyone will receive a full refund.


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.

Rahme Etai is an artist and deeply connected to Land. Her art journeys the interwoven existence of humans embedded in ecosystem and in relationship with the Other Than Human World. Recently she has been facilitating story circles and Clay as Body journeys. This past year she has studied with Josh Schrei, which has fed her fascination in the power of story, and the need for stories that place us in good relationship with our Earth. She first became involved with Deep Ecology two years ago which gave her context and understanding for her grief, pain and love for the World within this time of ecological collapse. Rahme has since begun co-facilitating alongside John Seed and aspires to create more spaces that hold our Earth grief and expand our knowing of ecological self.

Tanya Hawkes lives passionately for the Earth, harnessing her creativity, empathy and art to remind others of their embedded connection to Nature and their ecosystems. An activist since 2002, most recently she was found amidst the ancient glory of Takayna/ the Tarkine creating artistic actions for the Bob Brown Foundation. It was there immersed in the mosses that she first heard of Deep Ecology which set her off on the path of becoming an Nature connection facilitator.
Working to create workshops, day experiences and retreats in Australia she has also taken her work overseas, creating spaces for reconnection in places such as Indonesia, India and Thailand. Her work weaves together deep ecology, art therapy, somatic story telling, forest bathing, compost ceremony and elemental ritual into practices that heal our sense of separation from the natural world. She was an Environmental Ambassador to the Balabalakan Islands in Sulawesi Indonesia in 2016. Recently Tanya has founded Earthentic Relating and will be inviting more humans to experience this work in 2023. As it was John Seed who initially inspired Tanya to begin facilitating 7 years ago she is especially delighted to again be co-facilitating this work that reconnects.

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Refund policy

Refunds are available up to 7 days prior to the event