Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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I no longer blog on this site. You can now find me, my general blogs, and the work I am doing researching my forthcoming book on imagination, on my new blog.

16 Jan 2006

The Psychology of Change

Mary-JayneOne of the areas that fascinates me about Energy Descent, as regular readers will have noticed by now, is the whole question of how people change, and where transition comes from both for individuals and for societies. A lot of thinking in this whole field has been going on in the discipline of EcoPsychology, and I was delighted the other day to find a transcript of a talk that Mary-Jayne Rust gave to the Schumacher Lectures) in Bristol last year, called ‘Psychology for a Change’.

In it she explores *”what is it that wakes people to the ecological crisis that’s looming large on our horizon”*, (today’s Independent argues very powerfully that it is no longer just ‘on the horizon’, it is here and now…) and identifies 3 main things that trigger a response. The first is **Feeling**, whether it is a strong sense of anger, or a great love or loss, some strong emotion that triggers people to taking action. The second is **Insight**, gaining a new perspective on an issue or a question one has about life. The third is **Community**, finding others with a similar perspective, finding that you aren’t the only one who sees things that way. Community can also be found in a powerful speaker or inspiring individual, as well as in a local group. I found the article very useful, and plan to explore these matters deeper with Mary-Jayne when we meet sometime soon. Finding a mechanism/approach to pulling communities in behind energy descent work will require pulling together insights from a range of disciplines, and certainly Mary-Jayne’s work has much to offer. She has also written a very useful article called Creating Psychotherapy for a Sustainable Future.

**Mary Jayne’s website is**

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1 Comment

heather witham
16 Jan 7:06pm

Hi, Rob. I think it’s so fantastic to combine ecopsychology with Peak Oil. Mary Jayne’s speech at the Bristol Schumacher lectures *and* in Leamington Spa in February, were both highly inspiring.

I’m involved with a few groups and website that you might be interested in (most are connected with

1) Seeds for Thought — an ecopsychology blog with different columnists each day. My column is on Sundays and is about economics and tends to focus on peak oil.

2) My Moonster — I do a free weekly “learn about ecopsychology” lesson cycle, using the work of Joanna Macy and Andy Fisher.

3) Activist Ecopsychology — an online group interested in working collaboratively on projects, as well as sharing community projects with each other. See our internal wiki at There you can also see where to sign up.

4) My local ecopsy group is now taking up peak oil with an ecopsy flavour. We’ve bought our domain name but it’s not running yet. When it is, it will be: We are using Kinsale 2021 as a model. 🙂

I’m really excited to read about all the work you’re doing! Thank you so much!