These discussion courses offer people an opportunity to connect with themselves, with other people, and with the earth.
In the fall of 2006 the Institute of Ecotourism facilitated the first “Discovering a Sense of Place” discussion course.
Throughout the course we committed to writing a document of “Bioregional Knowledge” answering questions like what are our edible plants, tracing water from precipitation to tap, discovering what wild spring flowers are the first to bloom. The initial intent was to use this document in continued discussion courses offered to our local residents deepening our collective…..sense of place.
During the first meeting IMAGINATION voiced itself. A tour guide and author of the group said he saw this document as a way to educate those visiting about the preciousness of our place, a builder shared he envisioned it as a tool to educate his clients in making better green building choices, a school teacher said perhaps this document could be integrated into our school curriculum fostering our children’s connection with the earth, another said as an herbalist she wanted to use it as a tool to educate our forest rangers about our plant medicines and ethics of harvesting these plants. This document of bioregional knowledge, not yet written already is alive and reaching out to the minds of tourists and residents alike in a multitude of ways far beyond this small group.
Over the past twelve years, NWEI has developed a series of seven earth centered discussion courses and offered them broadly to the public first in Portland, then throughout the Northwest and the Nation. W
The Discussion Courses
Each of the seven courses has a course book of 100 to 125 pages.
Exploring Deep Ecology, a nine-session course, addresses core values that determine how one views and treats the earth.
Voluntary Simplicity, an eight-session course, addresses consumption and distractions that keep one from caring for the earth.
Discovering a Sense of Place, a nine-session course, focuses on knowing and protecting one’s place.
Choices for Sustainable Living, a nine-session course, considers the environmental implications of daily choices, like food selection, and provides information on options.
Globalization and Its Critics, a nine-session course, explores how globalization is affecting the environment, local economics, and social and cultural customs throughout the world.
Healthy Children – Healthy Planet, a eight-session course, explores ways to guide a child growing up in an electronic consumer culture.
Global Warming: CHANGING CO2URSE, a four-week course exploring the history and science of global warming, personal values and habits as they relate to climate change.
The Northwest Earth Institute story begins with the vision of lifelong Oregonians Jeanne and Dick Roy. While Dick practiced corporate law from 1970 to 1993, Jeanne worked as an activist in Oregon on air quality and solid waste issues. Then on October 1, 1993, Dick resigned from Stoel Rives to join her as a full-time volunteer. They formed NWEI as a vehicle for their work… the Roys had a limited goal for NWEI: to be a pioneer in taking earth-centered programs into mainstream workplaces. As an outreach tool to explore personal values and attitudes, the Roys had developed a discussion course on Exploring Deep Ecology. During the first year, 97 discussion groups were formed.
HISTORY: The Northwest Earth Institute is recognized as a national leader in developing innovative programs that empower individuals and organizations to protect the earth. These programs emphasize individual responsibility, the importance of a supportive community, and the dual need to walk lightly on and to take action for the earth. By reaching out to people in their workplace, home, faith center, neighborhood, and community, NWEI provides easy access to tools for individual and cultural change. Learn more about NWEI here!