Since I was a young child, I have always been awed by the natural world. The first twelve years of my life were spent playing in the woods behind my house and exploring all the wonderfully beautiful things within several miles of my property. I followed brooks to their source, walked around the two lakes that were close by and followed primitive trails deep into the local forests. During those formative years, I developed a very close relationship with the elements of the earth and they became my friends.
During my high school years, I relocated just outside the small city of Danbury, Connecticut but this location was more removed from the intimacy of the woods that were behind my house previously. I spent more time socializing and focusing on my education but soon that longing for those romps in the woods caught up with me and I began to seek out the wild places again. The purchase of my first automobile helped me to flee suburbia and access the backcountry. I purchased some hiking and backpacking gear to do longer forays on local trailheads and on the Appalachian Trail. During college, I joined the local hiking club and became the leader of many weekend hikes throughout southern New England. One year, I actually hiked on 52 consecutive weekends, regardless of weather conditions and realized I was really hooked on the outdoors.
I left New England in 1976, moved to Colorado to attend graduate school, and procured a degree in counseling psychology. Southern Colorado was rich with wilderness and high mountains and I longed for each weekend when I could partake in the high country and connect with the natural world. The purchase of a professional film camera allowed me to take pictures documenting the beautiful places I had been to and to share them with others.
After graduate school, I moved back to New England and joined the Adirondack Mountain club. I became involved in hiking trail maintenance and in many local environmental issues. The next nine years found me exploring the exquisite terrain of the Adirondack Mountains and documenting my exploits with nature on film.
My involvement in environmental activism brought me to the realization that ecological problems were extremely urgent and that the global community had not sufficiently perceived that extinction was a likely scenario for the human race in the near future. Extensive contemplation on this issue prompted me to commit to environmental preservation efforts in the form of a literary work and other consciousness raising efforts. I continued to read environmental literature in earnest and pondered the human-nature relationship and how we had altered our evolutionary course toward that of an unsustainable species.
I spent many long weekends alone in the wilderness, documenting what I felt and perceived and began to create an outline synthesizing the contents of my ecological readings, research and observations. Over time, an outline emerged and I decided to document the historical relationship we had fostered with the natural world, how our perceptions about the Earth had changed over time and how we had become an exploitive species. Given my psychology background and ecological concerns, a treatise that would take on an understanding of our relationship with nature seemed like an appropriate and meaningful endeavor.
And so, I began to create the future manuscript that would be called The Passionate Earth: The Evolution of Our Relationship with the Natural World. I started back at the creation of the universe, worked my way forward to the evolution of modern humans and how we evolved to our present state as an unsustainable species and ended this progression on how this development had occurred. My objective in doing this was to shed light on how our ecological crisis occurred, how we might reinvent ourselves and become a sustainable species again and live in harmony with the Earth as we had previously done as hunters and gatherers.
I am committed to making a difference in the world as a result of my writing and concern regarding our present human predicament in relation with nature. I have combined my ecological writings and environmental efforts into an endeavor that I am calling The Passionate Earth Project that includes environmental activism and writing environmental literature. The Passionate Earth Project has become my primary vision and major focus of my life now.
Go Fund Me Campaign
I have written an environmental book titled The Passionate Earth; The Evolution of Our Relationship with the Natural World and would like to publish it as soon as possible. The cost of publishing and distribution is 6000 US dollars. My book has been accepted by Dorrance Publishing in the United States and they are ready to work with me to publish my literary work. I have a meager income and cannot afford the price of publishing and have no personal resources to fund the project at this time. I am asking for funding so I can get this book published and distributed. Please help me fund this personal project. Any assistance with this endeavor will be greatly appreciated!
The Passionate Earth is an Eco-psychology/Deep ecology treatise that portrays the evolutionary history of our universe and the relationship the human species has maintained with planet Earth. It begins with the great transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural and industrial living and follows societal development up to our present disposition of disconnection, discord, exploitation and the possibility of our extinction in the near future.
I have presented in detail, an interdisciplinary understanding of the events and changes that have shaped our relationship with the Earth and how they have led to our present ecological crisis. In the second part of the manuscript, I discuss the urgency of living in a sustainable manner and how we can foster a disposition of harmony and sustainability with our beautiful planet.
My intention is that this literary work will empower individuals to become active in the environmental movement so we will be able to continue our evolutionary journey as a loyal and grateful species. Please contact me if you would like more information regarding my environmental project or of you would like to participate in it with me.
I have also just finished writing a second book that is about bioregionalism also described as living in place. I hope to publish this book as well after the first book is published. A description of the work is included below.
Living in Place; Fostering Ecological Thinking and Sustainable Lifestyles
Bioregionalism is the practice of living in harmony with a particular biome or ecosystem successfully in which all entities are honored and respected for their significance (intrinsic worth) and human interactions with the natural world are understood to be symbiotic. Our survival and continuance on this planet will depend on this kind of wisdom and consciousness at increasingly higher levels as we continue to evolve.
In this treatise, I deliberate on the philosophy and the practical applications of Bioregionalism and take you on a grand tour of all the major biomes and various ecosystems (sub-systems of biomes) to give you an understanding of how these systems work and how we can live successfully and sustainably within them. This new lifestyle called by ecologists, “living in place” will present a paradigm or model for ecological living that can change the course of human history such that we can continue our evolutionary destiny and fulfill our covenant with nature as a loyal species.
I employ sixteen accepted biome categories and the various ecosystems of North America to illustrate the concepts I wish to convey in this manuscript. Since the biomes and ecosystems of North America are similar to those on other continents in overall geography, climate, fauna, flora and chemical composition, the concepts relating to living successfully in these unique regions applies to all the biomes and ecosystems on the planet. Some biomes on other continents do exhibit different native flora and fauna than what exists in North America; however, the characteristics and functioning of these biomes are still very much alike.
The Process of Conceptualization
The Passionate Earth Project entailed a long process of conceptualizing the vision of connecting individuals with their environment and exactly how this would be accomplished. I continued to read a variety of literature about environmentalism, stewardship and eco-psychology and spent a great deal of time in the wilderness pondering the human-environmental relationship.
One of my primary beliefs is that we have become increasingly alienated from the natural world in the time we have inhabited the planet. This disconnection has resulted in a change in the way we view our relationship with the Earth, which in turn, has resulted in a way of living that has had a detrimental effect on the environment and ourselves. I also think that the enormity of surviving and living in harmony with the environment is perceived as difficult and that environmental problems often seem overwhelming and unsolvable. Many environmentalists have tried to shame, blame and make people feel guilty regarding their daily life-styles of disharmony with our world but I don’t think such strategies have had much of a positive impact.
There is also the issue of greed and profit and the philosophy of our current economic system. The manufacture of goods and the delivery of services are certainly advantageous for all societies to function effectively but how much of these creature comforts do we really need and can we procure them in a way that is not detrimental to the planet? We must also ask ourselves if the procurement of power and wealth has become an independent goal in itself and if so, does this constitute a healthy means of forwarding our global communities. Materialism has also increasingly become the primary perceived method of attaining happiness and fulfillment for a large percentage of the world’s population, particularly in wealthy western nations.
Many technologies are not earth-friendly and need to be re-evaluated in regards to their importance and negative impact. As we continue to employ science and technology to improve our lifestyles, we should be making every effort to utilize those practices and methods that meet human needs as well as our environment’s.
Every generation inherits the problems and successes created by previous generations. Despite the fact that we may not be responsible for the mistakes of those who came before us, we still have a choice of whether to ignore the problems that have been created and deal with the consequences or take responsibility for making a commitment to creating an environmental future that is sustainable for all generations to come. It is a major challenge and will require a full-fledged effort and without a doubt, many sacrifices as well.
I feel that those who have the intention, ability and resources to change the negative impact we have rendered on the environment should take responsibility for leadership in enacting appropriate change and enrolling others to do likewise. This goal would include providing the necessary education and resources to accomplish this task. It seems obvious that this is an all-encompassing commitment that would involve every living soul on the planet.
A vision of harmony and preservation must be initiated at the forefront of this philosophy as well as concerted action in the world. If every person strives to act environmentally responsible, first at the individual level and secondly at the global level, this new vision could change the course of environmentalism in the world and our personal relationship with the Earth as well.
Given the advances in technology we are experiencing today, we, if committed as a global-community, should be able to change the course of environmental history and create a sustainable future for our planet and ourselves. Our hesitancy to take on this challenge appears to be the most significant obstacle to achieving this goal.
The Human-Nature Relationship
The idea of producing a treatise connecting humans with their environment is certainly not a new concept. Many authors have attempted to point out the delicate balance that is being challenged every day by our current way of living. The list of books on the subject of eco-psychology and deep ecology is steadily growing as well as the amount of attention the environment is being given in the media, the humanities and in the hard sciences.
The real problem lies in our perceptions about our relationship with the Earth. We have adopted the notion that the Earth is an object to a great extent and not something that is personal and intimate like ourselves. We observe the power of nature in regard to the immense forces that can have devastating effects on our lives and see nature as a force to be reckoned with in order for us to survive.
Thus, we have tried to isolate and remove ourselves from as much discomfort as possible and to rely on creature comforts to give us the illusion that we are safe from harm. As our technologies’ have become more sophisticated, we have certainly achieved a degree of isolation and comfort, but in this pursuit, we have had to employ industrial processes that have been extremely harmful to the environment and have now caused an imbalance that is illuminating itself in extreme weather conditions and increasing numbers of catastrophic events such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires and mudslides to name a few.
We have increasingly polluted our air, water and soil, have raised the temperature of the planet to increasingly dangerous levels and have caused thousands of plants and animals to become extinct. The onslaught of the Earth in recent years has been unprecedented in the history of humanity and seems to be gaining momentum with each fleeting day.
The environmental and eco-psychology movements have been saying that we need to embrace the wild part of ourselves and understand the relationship we have with our natural world. We came from the environment, have lived with it both in harmony and more recently with a newer mandate to control and fully utilize all of its resources. Tragically, we have done this with such fervor that we now face a world that is in serious trouble and is struggling to maintain its balance while we continue to destroy the fabric of life on Earth.
We need to have a better historical and psychological understanding of our relationship with our planet; how we evolved from the primitive Homo erectus to the most complex and sophisticated life form on Earth and how and why our current lifestyles have drastically changed our relationship with the natural world from its original harmonious disposition. My two manuscripts address these mentioned issues.
John Del Signore