WiseEarth Education’s ‘Reinhabiting Place’ course draws on inspiration from Deep Ecology, Bioregionalism and Earth-based spirituality ideas and practices.
In the modern world many people – particularly in cities – do not know where their water and food come from; where their waste goes; about the animals, plants and other life that share their homes; or feel connected to the turning of the months and the seasons. The ‘Reinhabiting Place’ course is inspired by the idea that if we truly know the places in which we live, we will act to nurture and protect them, and that in order to establish a truly sustainable relationship with the rest of nature we need a deeper and more personal sense of connection.
The course provides participants with experiential practices for developing a greater understanding of and relationship with the plants, animals, elements and processes of our bioregion and home.
The inspiring Bioregionalist thinker Peter Berg said that the bioregional concept has the three main goals of: restoring and maintaining local natural systems, finding sustainable ways to satisfy human needs – food, shelter, energy, water, culture; and “to support the work of reinhabitation, of people becoming native to the places where they live”.
The work of reinhabitation must include people who live in cities, who make up the majority of people in the world.
Deep Ecologist Delores La Chapelle also provides inspiration to bring ritual into the practice of reinhabiting place. She points out that most indigenous societies had (or have) had three common characteristics: “they had an intimate, conscious relationship with their place; they were stable “sustainable” cultures, often lasting for thousands of years; and they had a rich ceremonial and ritual life. They saw these three as intimately connected.” Ritual can therefore bring us back into connection with our places, and as la Chapelle says “during rituals we have the experience, unique in our culture, of neither opposing nature or trying to be in communion with nature; but of finding ourselves within nature, and that is the key to sustainable culture”.
Here’s a taste of what some participants in our first ‘Reinhabiting Place’ course had to say about their experience:
“Attending the Reinhabiting Place Course has been transformative and has given me a greater feeling of appreciation for and connection to this bioregion I am living in.” – Sally Robertson
“The essence of the Reinhabiting Place course has become for me a way of life, a connected-conscious-loving way of life!” – Jemma Darlington
“Reinhabiting Place gave me personal answers to things that were going on for me.” – Jane Houghton
“The knowledge I learned, the connections I made, the experiences and realisations I had as a result of doing this course were truly life changing and will stay in my mind and heart forever.” – Skye Smith
For more on what participants said see: https://wiseeartheducation.com/testimonials/
The next ‘Reinhabiting Place’ course will be held on Saturdays from the 14th March to 25th April with a break for the Easter weekend.
 Interview in Jensen, D. (2004) ‘Conversations about Nature, Culture and Eros’.