— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — As left brained engineer and astronaut Edgar Mitchell hurtled back toward the earth, he saw it in all its vulnerable beauty, hanging alone in the blackness of space. He underwent a profound mystical experience of the nature of life and the types of knowledge we need to understand it – a combination of our analytic intelligence and our inner wisdom.  In 1973 he founded IONS1 a research institute devoted to exploring the nature of consciousness using both these modalities. I spoke at the IONS conference recently to make a plea to develop a spiritual ecology, bringing spirituality into conservation and conservation into consciousness discussions through...

We will be continuing our in-depth, heartfelt conversation from May, contemplating some key questions that arose in the conversation and remain in our hearts and minds: • When we say, “all life is sacred,” what does it mean for how we live? • How do we connect with animals and nature? • What is our story? • How can we support each other on our journey to healing our connection with wildlife and nature? The online video conversation takes place on Wednesday, June 21, at 6pm Mountain time (5pm Pacific; 8pm Eastern). The cost is free, but space is limited, and advance registration is required. Reserve Your Spot Now for this Heartfelt Community Experience...

— by Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. — I recently listened to a reading by poet David Whyte about “beautiful heartbreak.” I immediately thought about the rehabilitation license we just received. It essentially guarantees heartbreak. But it is necessary. In some cases there is a moral imperative – to try to undo some of the harm other humans have done, sometimes deliberately and callously; other times by accident but none the less human-caused harm. Sometimes we just need to give aid to a helpless living being who needs it. If we don’t accept both halves of life, the joy and the sorrow, we are in a sense rejecting the nature of life, wanting it to be what we want, rather than accepting...

-- by Susan B. Eirich, Ph.D. -- We have all seen many online videos of humans helping wild animals in distress, from dolphins to ravens; sharks to whales, and our hearts are warmed. However, it is important that we take our thinking further than that. What does it mean when a wild animal shows gratitude after a human helps them? What does it mean that a wild animal comes to a human asking for help? These and other questions, meant to help us think more deeply about the potential relationship we can have between species, were part of our first online Conservation Conversation. Other than a few technical glitches, it was a resounding success. If success is the right word to describe...

— by Susan Eirich, PhD — During a test run for our first online Conservation Conversation next week, one of the participants, “Robert,” shared a story that was vivid in his mind. He lives in an apartment in a large city. By his apartment complex of 1000 people lies a neglected vacant lot grown up with weeds. Lying in his bed in the very early morning a few days ago, he heard the passionate singing of a songbird who had moved into the lot. He lay there enjoying it morning after morning. He wondered if it was just singing out of territorial impulses? Or singing simply for joy? A thoughtful man not given to jumping to emotional conclusions, he nevertheless felt, in the end, that it...

Reserve Your Spot Now for this Unique Online Experience! Join Earthfire Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Susan Eirich for a first-of-its kind online video discussion, How Connecting with An Animal Can Help You Heal the Earth. The online video discussion takes place on Wednesday, May 17, at 6pm Mountain time (5pm Pacific; 8pm Eastern). The cost is free, but advance registration is required. Register here. We humans increasingly recognize that our ecological crisis has, at its core, a spiritual cause. If we truly believe that all life is sacred, then we know we will have to make radical revisions to how we live personally and how we operate as a society. This may seem difficult....