Unsafe Spaces

“The combined collapse of biophysical, cultural, and economic systems will have profound implications for the human psyche. Indeed, the pressure already put on our ecology and the climate has exerted stress on many people worldwide as climate change, extreme weather, radically altered landscapes, and various forms of pollution hit hard.

Within a period of earth history now known as the Anthropocene, the dominant role humans play at a planetary scale has enabled us to exceed many of the biophysical limits that would have us conduct our economies within what has been described as a ‘‘safe operating space.’’ The ‘‘unsafe’’ biophysical space that we are creating for ourselves will have its correlates in a self-generated unsafe psychoterratic (psyche-earth) space. Identifying and documenting the negative impacts of the Anthropocene on the psyche will be one of the important roles for ecopsychology.

In order to avoid further transgression into unsafe spaces and to retreat from those already entered, we need to move out of the Anthropocene as soon as possible. Ecopsychology can help us do that by showing the way for a positive reintegration of the psyche and the ecology.

Such positive reintegration will only become possible if children and adults currently alienated from nature and natural processes can see the benefits of rapidly moving out of the Anthropocene and playing a constructive role in the creation of what I have called the Symbiocene. The Symbiocene will be that period in the earth’s history where humans symbiotically reintegrate themselves, psychologically and technologically, into nature and natural systems.”

From, Glenn A Albrecht (2014) Ecopsychology in the Symbiocene. ECOPSYCHOLOGY  VOL. 6 NO. 1. MARCH 2014

Image: Fire fighting at Duns Creek, NSW, Summer 2019 by Glenn Albrecht

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