How the NFL, Protests and Trump are Related to Ecopsychology

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Transformation happens only when we are ready to grow up

It really is no stretch at all. Ecopsychology knows that everything is connected to everything else. The outrage this week about Trump’s insults to peaceful protest of police shootings is palpable everywhere. Activism continues to grow, almost organically. People everywhere are realizing presidential priorities show a complete disregard for human life, both by state sanctioned murders, but also by delayed acknowledgement of the suffering of people in the Caribbean. Then there’s the healthcare bill.

Our president, and many in his administration, also are in denial about climate change.

Any ideology that follows an oppressive hierarchy is dangerous. To put whites above blacks, to put men above women, and to put profit before planet, are all forms of life crushing priorities that do real damage. Such values have no place in a democracy, except perhaps to be mentioned by anyone with an opinion. All of us must be entitled to freedom of speech — even Donald Trump, of course.

But Trump stands on a platform of loud and public proclamation. The rest of us may kneel in silence, or even march in the streets, but no one gets nearly so much air time as Trump’s debacle du’ jour.

Just when you thought he had already alienated everybody available to blame, he finds fault with the NFL. Trump’s jabbing, little finger is always pointing outward. He has no personal power within.

Climate change has everything to do with what happens every day on the planet from now on. It is costly, foolish and economy crushing to drop out of the global race for clean energy, sustainable infrastructure and more peaceful borders.

In addition to racism and sexism, (remember Trump calls athletes’ sons of “bitches”, and if you’ll pardon my French, he “moved on them like a bitch”) these insults embolden bigots. This well-worn verbal insult implies that not only are NFL, or other protesters, ungrateful “sons” but that their mothers were promiscuous, somehow. Probably not even perfect tens, either.

What do racism and sexism have to do with mental health? In an atmosphere of divisive hate speech, we all suffer. In the times of constant floods, fires, famines and the inevitable refugees, isolationism and nationalism is telling those who are “not like us” are not included in our soon to be oh-so-great America. In an age where the guy holding the nuclear codes is also holding a twitter device, and cares nothing about disaster afflicted masses, and real healthcare for females, sick people, or our elderly, we might expect a serious collective depression and a growing feeling of helplessness.

Most of us, however, will never get so helpless that we give our power away. We know that our family, our tribe, our planet, our belonging, IS our power.

When you assign blame to an outgroup, be it an NFL athlete, or a Puerto Rican, you are saying “That’s who we should blame. It’s them, we’re helpless, witch-hunted, victims!”

Ecopsychology is a useful tool when so many are faced with so much bullying. We are all connected, and the only reason there were not more prominent NFL or other athletes in the Climate march, Women’s march, BLM, or Science march, is that Trump just took a while to insult their societal contribution to all of us. Just when you think he has eliminated every “out” group, he and his base can whip up a frothy brew of brand new poison.

How on earth does Ecopsychology help? Several ways. Affirming we truly value unity and diversity matches the science that shows diversity and connection is the key to life. It also is optimistic for change. Ecopsychology does not see rank, it sees commonality. Everywhere.

If you feel powerless, or voice less, think of the howling voice of the Earth right now. Realize that, together we can utilize our belonging to protect democracy, health, the oppressed and the marginalized. Mother Earth is making her voice heard, and no amount of tweeting will disguise that. Allowing personhood for women, POC, and other oppressed people says, let’s share equality. Let’s share power over nations and policy. Let’s let women have a say in reproduction and economic gain. Let’s allow men to peacefully protest as they prefer, be they athletes or stay at home dads. Let’s allow LBGQT people to have justice. Let’s allow freedom of religion to bar no one from the right to include everything that is sacred, such as compassion.

All our voices have a right to be heard, and never have we witnessed a president who is so gifted at recruiting activists. So, flip that frown into a slow dawning hope.

We have a man at the helm of spaceship Earth who is quite fond of saying: “You’re Fired!” Very well, then. Get fired up.

For those that tell you environmentalists are just fear-mongering pessimists, I can assure you that aligning with the natural forces of the planet is the most optimistic outlook available today. While others moan about doomsday activists, or gloomy chicken littles, we are busy creating. Abundant jobs. Better food. Improved education. Equality for all. In short, a better world that celebrates power. The angry man who must scapegoat almost everyone does not recognize true power. True power never blames, it only engages, encourages, and includes.

The near limitless power of the sun, the health to come from non-toxic fuels, the power of grass root, bottom up policy is our best hope. Inclusion, not exclusion, might make America Great Again. Only an end to exploitative oppression has a chance of making our whole world great again.

Kneel in protest if you would not stand for the erosion of human rights and democracy, know that many are grateful to you. You are not powerless. You are not voiceless. You are not alone, because justice is on your side. Time is on your side. History is on your side. Our shared home, Earth is on your side.

Please indicate you enjoyed this article with a clap, and please share your thoughts to let your voice be heard, Christyl Rivers

Written by

Ecopsychologist, Writer, Farmer, Defender of reality, and Cat Castle Custodian.

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