Ecological Anxiety and Mindfulness Gardens

Week 2 of the Green Technician programme focused on discussing ecological anxiety. We considered its key tenets, including melancholia and grief for our more-than-human home. In exploring the relations between ecological anxiety and young people, we debated the key role of ecological education in combatting existential angst and feelings of disassociation from the earth.

The Green Techs discussed their own experiences of ecological anxiety expressing feelings of passivity at the seemingly unstoppable global nature of the climate crisis. The importance of thinking and acting locally was shared by the group as a core challenge to the emerging sense of hopelessness.

These discussions were expanded upon and put into practice in the workshop session through the imagining and designing of mindfulness gardens for university spaces. We were joined in the session by Agnes Berner and Amy Stevenson from the Glasgow University Environment Sustainability Team, to share their experiences of working with university gardens.

The Green Techs made an amazing set of plans, thinking carefully about what students appreciate about garden spaces and how this can be developed into the design. The next steps will be to try and put these plans into action and we hope to work with universities to develop some mindfulness gardens very soon!    

Green Technician Programme 2021 Begins

This week saw the launch of our Green Technician Programme for 2021! This year we are happy to have 16 students joining us from the Universities of Glasgow, Leeds, and Aberdeen. These green techs will undertake training and debate in eco-education, ecological justice, and outdoor learning.

The six-week programme began with an introduction to the International Green Academy, highlighting our connections to the University of Arizona and various school communities. We also wanted to get across our vision for what constitutes research – as collaborative, participatory, and practical.

As a collective, we discussed how and why gardens are political spaces and the group highlighted the importance of promoting ecological justice, working outdoors, protecting biodiversity, experimenting with food growing, connecting to the land, and building a sense of community and belonging.

A real strength of the group is its interdisciplinary nature with students spanning subjects such as geography, politics, and microbiology. We are excited to continue working together over the next five weeks where we will train in topics such as eco-education, ecological anxiety, and climate justice!