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Ecology and Spirituality – Three Week Intensive

Ecology and Spirituality

With Stephan Harding, Philip Franses, Pat McCabe, David Peat, David Cockburn, Luci Attala, Tristan Nash, Martin Shaw and Andy Letcher

£ 2 200.00
Course fees include comfortable, single accommodation, vegetarian meals, field trips, materials and teaching sessions.
This course is full.

With Stephan Harding, Philip Franses, Pat McCabe, David Peat, David Cockburn, Luci Attala, Tristan Nash, Martin Shaw, Graham Harvey and Andy Letcher

At this point in human history, many academics, activists, leaders and thinkers are calling for an urgent reconsideration of the cultural narratives and spiritual values that support our very existence on the planet. In an attempt to divert the current trajectory of ‘progress’ and ‘development’ towards a more sustainable and equitable future, this requires objective and critical thinking about our relationship and connection to the natural world, to the people and communities around us and to the very beliefs and values that drive our individual and collective actions.


This three week intensive explores the role of spirituality, religion, philosophy, science and narrative as the underlying causes, but also the potential solutions, to the systemic ecological crises in which we find ourselves. 


From different perspectives this course will track the roots, thought-lines and stories that have caused our modern-day disconnection from the natural world and from each other – and look at ways in which we might reconnect, in theory and in practice, for ourselves and for others.


Held within the transformational space that Schumacher College is known for, you will combine critical thinking with an exploration of your own values, beliefs and personal narratives and how these fit, and find resonance and authenticity with your life and work. 


You will be joined by a number of students from Schumacher College’s postgraduate programme In Ecology and Spirituality which will allow for rich interaction between long-term students and short course participants.


This course will include:

  • A deep exploration of the philosophy, narratives, evolution and consequences of scientific and spiritual thought about the natural world and the place of the human within it from different angles – science, philosophy, anthropology, mythology, religion, indigenous ways of knowing.
  • A focus on ways of knowing that bridge the gap between scientific and spiritual narratives.
  • Direct experience, personally and with the group, of how to acquire knowledge about the natural world, oneself and others.
  • Time for reflection, discussion, transformation and exploration of personal and group narratives and actions within the held learning community of Schumacher College



Stephan Harding

Stephan Harding is Programme Coordinator of the MSc in Holistic Science and resident Ecologist at Schumacher College teaching on the MSc core modules and on most short courses at the College. He holds a doctorate in behavioural ecology from Oxford University, and before coming to the college taught ecology at the National University in Costa Rica. He is a close associate of James Lovelock and an expert in the study of Gaia theory and deep ecology. He is the author of Animate Earth and Grow Small, Think Beautiful: Ideas for a Sustainable World from Schumacher College. 


Philip Franses

Philip joined the MSc in Holistic Science Faculty in 2009 as teacher of complexity. Born in 1958 in England, Philip studied mathematics at New College Oxford from 1976 to 1980. Academia’s dull explanation of the world inspired Philip on a counter-journey into the depths of experience, travelling and a re-sensitisation to quality. In 2005, after a fifteen-year career designing intelligent software, culminating in a programme now used in The Netherlands by all Dutch courts, Philip had a chance encounter with Satish Kumar and was moved to come to Schumacher as an MSc student. 


David Peat

A theoretical physicist, David Peat became a friend and colleague of David Bohm. They co-authored “Science, Order and Creativity” and were working on a second book “The Order Between and Beyond” at the time of Bohm’s death.In 1996 Peat moved to the medieval village of Pari in Tuscany where he created the Pari Center for New Learning. The center has run a number of international conferences and was three times winner of the Metanexus Prize for Excellence in Programming. With Leroy Little Bear, David organised a series of dialogues between Native American Elders and Western Scientists. David is the author of over twenty books, including “Blackfoot Physics: a journey into the Native American universe”. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the SARCHI chair, University of South Africa, a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, Honorary Member of the Scientific Committee of the Club of Budapest and Adjunct Professor, California Institute of Integral Studies.

Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining)
Woman Stands Shining, Pat McCabe, has the honor of being of the Dine (Navajo) Nation. A Life-Bringer, Life-Bearer Mother, writer, artist, activist, speaker and cultural liason, her work is driven by the study of the Science of Right Relations. Moving from the central knowledge that We, The Five-Fingered-Ones, are born into Beauty, as Beauty, for Joyful Life, she brings the understanding of Indigenous ways of knowing into discussion and inquiry on Sustainability. Born to a People who have deep understanding and methodology for Restoration, she carries the Beauty Way into places where it has formerly been kept out. She is an active participant in Indigenous Peoples gatherings worldwide most recently in Chile, Belgium, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Bali. She has worked with the International Center for Cultural Studies in India and with Sarvodaya with Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne in Sri Lanka, as well as with organizations and gatherings in the U.S. Her recent work includes being a cultural consultant to the Pachamama Alliance, Inner Circle Invitee to the Language of Spirit Dialogue - Dialogue between Quantum Physicists, Linguists, Scientists and Indigenous knowledge keepers. Upcoming work includes the AUM National gathering, Women's teachings In Chile, and work with Israeli and Palestinian women.


Martin Shaw

Martin is a mythologist, writer and teacher of wilderness rites-of-passage. Author of the Mythteller trilogy (A Branch From The Lightning Tree, Snowy Tower and Scatterlings), he founded the Oral Tradition course at Stanford University, and has contributed to Desmond Tutu’s leadership programme at Templeton college Oxford. Recent collaborations have included “Lost Gods” with Mark Rylance and Paul Kingsnorth. Director of the Westcountry School of Myth in the UK, he lectures internationally and has a long standing interest in the folklore and cosmology of Tungus and Yakut culture. Much of his thinking comes from four years living in a black tent on a succession of English hills, exploring remaining pockets of British wilderness.


David Cockburn

David, who has also taught at University of Wales Swansea, the Open University, Abo Akademi in Finland, and the University of East Anglia, is Professor of Philosophy at University of Wales (TSD). His research interests are in the areas of philosophy of mind, time, language and love. His publications  include: Other Human Beings (Macmillans, 1990), Other Times: Philosophical perspectives on past, present and future (Cambridge University  Press, 1997);  An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind (Palgrave, 2001).


Luci Attala

Luci is a lecturer in Social Anthropology at Lampeter, University of Wales (TSD), the School of Health and Social Care at the Open University and is involved in community projects in Africa. Her research interests are primarily ethno-botanical focusing specifically on plant agency - exploring human-plant interactions and repositioning them as plant-human relationships. Using this ‘phyto-centric’ perspective her work draws on phenomenology and the ideas of the more-than-human, post-humanist and multi-species movements to reinterpret plants as ‘persons’ and as affective players in their relationships with humanity.


Graham Harvey
Professor Graham Harvey is Head of Religious Studies at Winchester University. HIs research interests are in religion, location and ecology fused with interests in the cultures of indigenous peoples.He has spent time with various generous and interesting hosts, including in Aotearoa, Australia, Hawaii, Newfoundland, Nigeria, the Ojibwe traditional territories and Sápmi. Most of his research about contemporary indigenous religious traditions has been about “animism”: the varied ways in which people engage with the larger than human world and his publications have included Animism: Respecting the Living World (2005) and the edited Handbook of Contemporary Animism (2013).

Tristan Nash
Tristan is a lecturer and programme director in philosophy at Lampeter, University of Wales (TSD) with research interests in moral philosophy, the philosophy of religion and applied ethics.








This course is full.
With Stephan Harding, Philip Franses, Pat McCabe, David Peat, David Cockburn, Luci Attala, Tristan Nash, Martin Shaw and Andy Letcher

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