The best and worst of humanity seem to emerge around the holidays. Wonderful qualities like love, gratitude and generosity are on full display contributing to the season of joy. And the presence of greed and excessive consumerism cast a shadow. Furthermore, many are really struggling to provide life’s staples let alone purchasing tons of gifts. These realities can leave people feeling empty and unfulfilled, wanting something more and better…and we’re not talking spending additional money or getting more presents.

Underneath the dissatisfaction and emptiness is a yearning for greater meaning and fulfillment, more change and positivity in the world. The holidays provide reminders that money can only bring so much, that there is more to happiness than what gets wrapped up.

In fact, when looking at the realities and sources of climate change-and our social, political and economic struggles-we see the unhinged pursuit of money and consumption has caused many of our problems today.

We fundamentally know this. Such awareness likely contributes to the conflicted feelings about the holidays and desire for more meaning. People still want to be generous and loving, and they’d like to do this in a way that feels like it speaks to deeper needs.

We desire to be giving, living and engaging in a way that brings prosperity to people and the planet. Amidst all the holiday messaging to buy more, we want to buy into a way of living that contributes to health, happiness and harmony for the earth and all the inhabitants. We intuitively know that Black Friday and the billions spent during this season are not the answer.

We have a deep hunger, a craving for more purposeful living, ways of engaging that are sustainable, abundant and regenerative. This hunger is evident all over the globe. It is increasingly at the same pace as our dissatisfaction with the status quo, the recognition that the way we’re doing things isn’t working. Our current models produce waste, exploitation, inequalities and the never ending rat race….not the connections, contentment and change we all seek. People are thirsty for new ways of being in the world, and not just around the holidays.

The mission of the EcoPscyhology Initiative (EPI) is to use the principles of nature and psychology to foster thriving for people and planet, to do good and well. We believe ecopsychological principles provide the menu for filling this deeper hunger. Living this way provides the abundance we associate with the holidays, but the flavor is different. Instead of drained bank accounts, unwanted gifts, stress and untold amounts of waste, there can something deeply nurturing. We find fulfillment and purpose knowing that we’re living in a way that provides for our needs and is harmonious for the world–that addresses not just environmental degradation but also social and economic inequalities.

As EPI moves into the New Year, and our second year of existence, we’re committed to continuing to offer programming that fills the needs and hunger of our planet. This starts with our upcoming online class “Climate Stress and Psychology”. In 2019, our commitment will remain strong to offer trainings, consultations and classes that fulfill people’s deeper yearning. As the world around us moves into ever more uncertain times, we think the importance of ecopsychology has never been greater. It offers the maps and models we need to address the problems of our times and realize our potential, to bring about positive healing, growth, leadership and change. It is just the gift we’re wanting and needing.

by Dennis Kiley

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