Ecological grief is all around us, whether we recognize it or not, we all carry it with us. Buddhist writer Joanna Macy writes, “Feeling pain for the world is as natural to us as the food and air we draw upon to fashion who we are. That pain is the price of consciousness in a threatened and suffering world. It is not only natural, it is an absolutely necessary component of our collective healing. The problem, therefore, lies not with our pain for the world, but in our repression of it.”
This 90 minute experiential workshop is an introduction to the phenomenon of ecological-grief—what it is, how to engage with it, and why it’s important. We’ll explore those tender places in our own hearts where ecological grief dwells and offer them sacred attention.
Engaging in the grief process in a spiritual community supports resiliency and helps us be more deeply attuned to the actions we are called to take.
Gayle Matson is a member of Chico (CA) Friends Meeting and co-clerk of the Pacific Yearly Meeting Unity with Nature Committee. A former clinical social worker and psychotherapist, she became interested in the phenomenon of ecological grief after moving to Chico in 2018—two months before the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history. Since then, she has focused on the emotional impacts of climate change and has co-facilitated eco-grief groups for a faith-based climate action organization.
Hayley Hathaway is Quaker Earthcare Witness’ Director. She is passionate about the relationships between ecology and faith. She worships with Friends in Santa Fe, New Mexico and is active on local climate campaigns. Hayley is the former director of Casa de los Amigos, the historic Quaker center for peace and international understanding in Mexico City.