Destruction to the planet caused by human activity has become the pressing issue of our time, while depression and other mental health issues are rising globally. It has been posited that these two factors are in fact intimately interconnected, human psychological wellbeing is intricately entangled with planetary wellbeing.
False conceptions of the self and the self’s relationship to it’s environment are argued to be at the heart of this issue.
An examination of Ecopsychology’s concept of the ‘ecological self’ helps us to revaluate the concept of self within an ecological framework, and to explore the self’s interconnection with the environment. The Phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty’s lends philosophical and methodological assistance to this endeavour.
A study carried out using the embodied method advocated by phenomenology explores how embodied experience can contribute towards a transformed understanding of the self and its relationship to the more-than-human world, and how embodied knowledge leads to new ontological understandings, and a desire to protect the environment.