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Ecesis: How Nature can Save Humanity

--- Humanity Rising Day 295 - Tuesday July 20, 2021     (GoTo Bottom)
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The process by which a species and its environment coevolve into a dynamic and perpetual stability is called ecesis - the process of finding home. Put another way, ecesis is the process of becoming real, where realness is a measure of reciprocal positive feedback with an ecosystem – of finding and maintaining a niche. This necessitates an awareness of the relational self as a function of the ecological self. If an organism cannot maintain a niche, negative feedback will remove it from the system, permanently. This is a problem for Homo sapiens and it is a problem for the system into which it is currently trying to ecize.. Because of the scale of these interactions, this poses the greatest of existential crises for all involved.

Building on the concepts of deep ecology, shallow ecology, and philosophies as varied as those purported by Heraclitus, Alfred North Whitehead, Abraham Maslow, Thomas Berry, Nora Bateson, Gregory Bateson, David Bohm, Jane Goodall and others, this session proposes that ecological principles are human principles to depths many may not have considered. Namely, that the relational self is the ecological self. Though this conclusion is not new, we will explore new lines of evidence that support and strengthen the claim in unique and inspiring ways. This session also proposes tools by which we can measure the efficacy of our ecological relationships regionally as a necessary step in building and maintaining regenerative communities and regenerative consciousness.


  • Justin Thomas is co-founder and Science Director of NatureCITE, a non-profit, research and outreach organization based in Missouri’s Interior Highlands (a North American biological hotspot). Justin conducts ecological and taxonomic research and teaches plant identification and ecological awareness workshops throughout central and eastern North America. He is currently assembling a curriculum, and conducting workshops, focused on the concept of human ecesis (the process of becoming a stabilizing component within our environments). He is an adjunct professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology where he teaches Plant Biology and Vegetation of the Ozarks and the co-author of the Ecological Checklist of the Missouri Flora. He also podcasts at where he attempts to address the deep beauty in accepting, understanding, and embracing nature as reality.  
  • Tesa Madsen-McQueen is a PhD student at the University of California Riverside in the department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, where she studies plant community ecology and vegetation responses to anthropogenic global change. She began her career working as a seasonal field botanist in the Ozarks, where, after becoming intimately familiar with the flora, she became captivated with the seemingly endless variety of morphological differences within and among plant species and wondered how such differences translated into larger-scale patterns of biodiversity. She pursued her Master of Science degree in biology from Appalachian State University, where her curiosity shifted from studying individual taxonomic entities to understanding the interrelationships which govern processes of ecological organization. Recognizing the weight of scientific narrative in an era of ecological crisis, she is also passionate about the history and philosophy of science as it can help understand and reshape ecology as a worldview.

Recommended Readings/Links

  • NatureCITE’s “Philosophical Foundations”


Community Ecology Sustainability Human Habitats

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