Joanna Macy: the mother of Deep Ecology

- through Henry Oudin

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Doctor of Philosophy, Buddhist specialist in General Systems Theory and Deep Ecology, Joanna Macy is a founder of Ecophilosophy and Ecopsychology. A respected voice of the movements for peace, social justice and a healthy environment, she created, more than forty years ago, a powerful tool to reconnect and reconcile with the land called “The work that connects”.

Asked what would be the greatest urgency of the beginning of the XNUMXst century, the Zen monk Thich Nhât Han replied: “Hearing the cry of the Earth within us. “The ecological crisis is born in us, Joanna Macy is convinced of it. She understood, from the 1970s, by fighting, in the United States, against civil and military nuclear power and by denouncing these dangers that information alone could only increase resistance. That to fight crises, it was not enough to tell people the truth, but to free their inner voice. “When I started denouncing the public health risks associated with these techniques and revealing them to the public, thinking that the local population would rise up against nuclear power, I found myself faced with a wall of silence and incomprehension. . People were closing in like oysters. I understood then that men turn away from what frightens them, not out of indifference, but out of a fear of moral pain. This experience changed my life,” she insists. How to put an end to this apathy, this psychic numbness, this form of disconnection between the head and the heart? “By integrating this information on an emotional level in order to unlock pent-up emotions, clear the mind and release our energies,” she emphasizes.

The contributions of Tibetan Buddhism

To do this, Joanna Macy invented, in the late 1970s, the Work that connects, which she has since taught to tens of thousands of people around the world. “It is a powerful methodology for personal and collective transformation “, observes Michel-Maxime Egger, the co-director of the Ecological Foundations collection at Labor and Fides editions who published, in the spring of 2018, Hope in motion, a book co-authored by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, which is a translation of the English edition.

“Men turn away from what frightens them, not out of indifference, but out of a fear of moral pain. »

For Claire Carré, the organizer of the association Les Roseaux dansants, which promotes Work that connects in French-speaking countries, Joanna Macy would be the mother of deep ecology, this philosophy which emphasizes our interdependence with all life on earth. "Arne Naess invented the concept of deep ecology in 1973, but it was Joanna Macy who put it into practice," she notes.

Joanna Macy bases her work on the wisdom of the ancients and in particular on the contributions of Tibetan Buddhism which, she says, illuminated her life. On the teachings of the first peoples too, on these peoples who live in communion with nature and who have a sacred vision of the world, whose ancient knowledge and wisdom it invites us to reclaim, while using the contributions of contemporary science, quantum physics, in particular the systemic approach. “We live in a revolutionary hour, where the Earth and the beauty of this world can still be preserved. Everyone has a role to play in this process”, underlines this incorrigible optimist

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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