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Title: Creating an ecological-self : how the natural change project uses ecopsychology in an attempt to elicit social action for an ecologically sustainable future
Author: Crinion, Jonathan Hugh
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2013
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Various forms of resistance are emerging in Human Geography in response to human caused environmental degradation and climate change. One such example is the Natural Change (NC) project, a World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) initiative about social change through a facilitated wilderness experience. Wilderness is seen as an affective quality, acting as a catalyst for an empirical embodied experience of the integral human connectivity to Nature. This connectivity is seen to inform the subject's framing of distanciated environmental issues and intends to re-territorialise their positionality as an ecological Self. The NC seeks to create an embodied connectivity with Nature, which desires immunising others as a form of self-protection. The WWF NC project began by selecting influential individuals from large organisations in Scotland. After two groups completed the NC, the project was deemed highly successful by the WWF and was then terminated by a change of leadership at the WWF. The creators of the NC went on to create the Natural Change Foundation (NCF) and offer the program to eco-facilitators so that they might integrate the NC experience into their work. This research explicates the changing positionality of individuals, before, during and after the NC course. The research showed that two spaces emerged after the NC course. In one space the subjects attempt to structure a diffluence of feelings and ideas and struggle to act, while in another space the subjects combine influence and agency with a grounding element of experiential connectivity, to move to a confluence of feelings that result in action. The research identified that a specific type of efficacy and agency is needed to empower individuals after the NC course, to enact social change through action. The research highlights the importance of access to, or the creation of situations, which are supportive of efficacy and agency. These findings have profound implications for Human Geographers interested in enacting policy in relation to climate change and environmental degradation, that results in social action for an ecologically sustainable future.
Supervisor: Cloke, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Human Geography ; Ecopsychology ; Social action ; Natural Change ; Sustainability