Spirituality as an Essential Way of Knowing
The field of environmental education could deeply benefit from embracing spirituality as an essential way of knowing that touches all beings. It is through direct encounters with the natural world and the beings within it that we grow spiritually and ultimately increase our understanding of how our communities work and how we are part of them. It is when people have strong spiritual grounding and connection they are then more capable of participating in their community and be an advocate of change for their environment.
The field of environmental education could be more holistically approached with the acknowledgement of the importance of spirituality as a vehicle to recognize connection to place, community, and self. Considering the many ways of knowing, spirituality is one of the many ways among all types of people; it is central for indigenous people, and should be prioritized in environmental education practice.
I am Sarah Johnson, an environmental education specialist with my small business, Wild Rose Education in Carbondale, Colorado. Through Wild Rose Education I am committed to teaching people 'how to see', to become better observers, and how to take action in the world through participant-centered learning experiences. We go beyond what has been and facilitate becoming what can be. I am also a current student in the Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation. And, I am a moderator of the newest NAAEE eePro group, Spirituality and EE.
Along with two other moderators, we are excited to create a space for environmental education professionals to explore how the field of environmental education can be positively changed through spirituality, and how all people can grow spiritually through environmental education. We invite you to contribute to the online discussion regularly sharing big questions, responding to big ideas, and submitting any news or announcements. If you are interested in contributing a blog piece, please reach out directly to one of us moderators and we will get your submission published. Welcome to all as we embrace the intersectionality of spirituality and environmental education.