The theory of biophilia proposes that in the earth’s biosphere, all living things – both non-human and human – are inextricably linked and innately motivated to interact with other species. When our motivations demonstrate the characteristics of awe, reverence, respect, and empathy, these inter-species interests and interactions can be mutually beneficial psychologically, biologically, emotionally, and spiritually in ways that encourage the species’ survival, evolution, development, and ability to flourish. We can live in harmony with nature. Conversely, when these inter-species interests and interaction are plagued by egocentrism, self-serving biases, devaluation, and domination of one species by another, the outcomes can be catastrophic across the entire biosphere, resulting in the decimation, destruction, and/or extinction of both known and yet-to-be discovered species.
The biophilia perspective provides a fertile ground (pun intended) for the intersection of theory and praxis. This exciting international Summit will allow access opportunities to a diverse group of individuals who originate from a variety of disciplines and careers yet who share a common interest in, and love for, Nature. Since the survival and well-being of the species who share our biosphere is approaching crisis point, this Summit is designed to facilitate a free exchange of ideas as well as to encourage communication and collaboration among the participants before, during and after the proceedings.
Among the delegates who we would encourage to attend are: conservationists, zoologists, philosophers, botanists, psychologists, climate scientists, NGOs, creative artists, biologists, educators, sociologists, therapists, cultural theorists, counsellors, teachers, musicians, medical professionals, writers, pharmacologists, clergy, neuroscientists, theologians, parents, political scientists, hospitality industry or tourism professionals, public relations and advertising professionals, economists, journalists, reseachers, and anyone else who has a contribution to make regarding the biophilia perspective.
As we explore the manifold aspects of the concept of biophila, we encourage participants to think outside the limits of their own discipline, and to explore the implications for practice of biophilia and the related theories and perspectives that they espouse. In better understanding biophila, we can establish a more personal one-to-one relationship with Nature, and have a role in raising the awareness of the communities of which we are a part. As Albert Einstein said:
“Look into Nature and you will understand everything else better.”
“Not make use of the world, but to understand it …”
We welcome traditional papers, panels and workshop proposals, as well as other forms of presentation platforms (art, poetry, posters, video submissions, and so on), given the interdisciplinary nature of the Summit, and recognising that different groups express themselves in various formats and mediums.
We would like participants – both from within and from outside academia – to explore the concept of biophilia in ways that include, but are not limited to:
Expressions or Contexts For Biophillia
- Visual Arts across various media (drawing, painting in watercolors, acrylics, oils, and so forth)
- Music spanning a variety of styles (classical, folk, blues, and so on)
- Literature (narratives, ancestry, lore, poetry, essay, book review, etc.)
- Film (fiction and non-fiction) with examples, such as Medicine Man with Sean Connery or Avatar with Sigourney Weaver
- Theatre (mainstream and otherwise)
- Television (series, mini-series, science channel, history channel, and so forth)
- Print (books, magazines, book chapters, and so on)
- Health (physiological, psychological and psychical benefits)
- Philanthropy (individuals and organizations that benefit human and non-human species)
- Volunteering (internal and external motives that motivate volunteering as well as organizations, circumstances, and situations that provide such opportunities)
- Culture (correlations and examples of the relationship between culture and biophilia)
- Spirituality (non-religious and religious examples of the relationship between spirituality and biophilia, such as Buddism, Druidism, and so forth)
- Sacred Spaces and Sit Spots (the creation and existence of sacred spaces and sit spots in Nature)
- Social Media (blogs, discussions, web pages, and so forth that address biophilia)
- Internet (national and international dissemination of information, news, education, and so on pertaining to biophilia)
Definitions of Biophilia
- What does Biophila mean to you? How would you define it? How does your definition compare and contrast with that of others?
- Theoretical Perspectives (biological, zoological, botanical, philosophical, theological, anthropological, sociological, psychological, physiological, spiritual, etc.) What theoretical perspective or combination of theoretical perspectives do you favour when addressing biophilia? Why?
- Peak Experiences: awe, reverence, euphoria, epiphanies, the sublime etc. How can Nature elicit such peak experiences? Have you personally experienced one of more of them or some other type of peak experience? How did it manifest itself to you (visually, auditorily or some other way)?
Wider Implications of Biophilia
- Historical Implications – How have our perspectives changed over time with regard to biophila? Are these perspectives generationally oriented?
- Law and Public Policy – How does this relation to natural justice? Legal justice? Differential justice?
- Structural Inequalities (taxonomy, species orientation, human/non-human dichotomy, “civilized things vs. natural things,” and so forth)
- Power Asymmetry (Social Dominance Orientation/SDO, mutualism vs. Amensalism, human domination over all non-human species rather than collaboration between human and non-human species [companion and mutual benefactor approach], and so on)
- Organizations and Associations (Association of Nature and Forest Therapy, Green Peace, Pets for Vets, NGOs, 4H Clubs, Scouts, and so forth)
- Generational Influences (Baby-Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, etc.)
- Morality and Ethics (responsibilities in research, the expansion of the Belmont Report, and so forth)
- Anthropogenic Causes (of pressing problems such as climate change, global warming, sea level rise, species extinction, and so on)
- World Views (economic, political, social psychological, evolutionary, etc)
Barriers to Biophilia
- Resources Perspective (consumerism, mass production, cloning, commodities, and so forth)
- Population growth (industralized nations, developing nations, and so on)
- Advanced technology (genetic splicing/engineering, etc)
- Industry (agriculture, logging, residential development, real estate, and so forth)
- Education (development of age-appropriate academic courses, adult education courses, CEUs, and so on)
- Personal engagement (stragegies to create an immersion in Nature and to establish a one-to-one personal relationship with Nature, and so forth)
- Public awareness (strategies and methods to raise public awareness and its personal investment in Nature, etc.)
What to Submit:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by January 14, 2018. All submissions are minimally double blind peer reviewed. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be sent by March 5, 2018. Abstracts should be emailed simultaneously to the Organising Chairs; abstracts should be submitted in a Word format with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract f) up to 10 key words
E-mails should be entitled: Biophilia Summit 1. Abstract Submission.
Please use plain text (Times New Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to resend it.
Mary Ann O’Grady: biophiliasummit1 at gmail.com
Lonny Meinecke: biophiliasummit2 at gmail.com
Sean Moran: sp.moran at hotmail.com
Michelle Ryan: michelleryan22 at gmail.com
This event is an inclusive interdisciplinary research project. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various innovative and exciting discussions.
All papers accepted for the conference must be in English, and last no more than twenty minutes to present.
We believe that it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the conference. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.
Please note: we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, but we will provide free return transport from Dublin to the conference venue.
Our conference will be in a historic monastery, set in the beautiful Irish countryside. It will be an opportunity to escape from the world for a short while, and enjoy some friendly and stimulating discussions in a serene environment. Our goal is to conduct as much of the Summit as possible outdoors and in conjunction with Nature. The monastery website can be found at www.mountmellarayabbey.org