Friday, March 14, 2014

Brain, Mind, Consciousness, and Sustainability

By Eli Willis

Every year, all the sustainability organizations on campus gather at the inter-org retreat to connect the work we are all doing and plant seeds for future collaboration. This year, I attended inter-org for the first time, with a group that stood out as a little different from the rest. The Brain Mind & Consciousness Society doesn’t seem to fit quite into the category of sustainability org, and yet sustainability is an integral theme in everything we do.


BMC Representatives at Inter-Org
The Brain, Mind & Consciousness Society (BMC) is an interdisciplinary student organization committed to the exploration of human cognition, behavior & experience and their applications toward a just and sustainable future. We hold weekly events involving student presentations and discussions, sponsor a student-directed seminar, and host an annual conference.


Students involved in BMC come from a diverse range of academic background but share common interests. Because we are not compartmentalized as a sustainability organization, students of all majors learn about and get involved with sustainability.


This quarter, I co-facilitated the BMC student directed seminar with Tanner Person and Kelly Detro. As the course covered a broad range of topics from neuroscience, psychology, and technology, the themes of sustainability and our relationship with nature kept coming up. We considered the tension between technology and nature, the effects of disconnection from nature on our culture and mental health, and how domination of nature is connected to other forms of oppression. Though most students were not ecology or environmental studies majors, everyone had something to say about the way we treat the Earth and how we can transform our society for real sustainability.


Sustainability has also been the key theme for our conferences. Last year, for the first BMC conference, the theme was “Achieving Human Sustainability,” which entailed not only environmental consciousness, but workshops and speakers on community resilience, human health, study of happiness, and science of mind. This year’s conference, entitled GRoW: Global Roots of Wellness, asks the question “how does our personal health relate to that of our community and society as a whole?” We hope to investigate how other living systems thrive in order to improve on our own, drawing on our ability to learn from nature to create sustainable living systems.


The thread running through all our studies of brain, mind, and consciousness is that everything is included in nature. Seeing ourselves as part of nature is imperative to remaking our society to live harmoniously with natural systems. Ultimately, BMC’s work is about seeing the interconnections between all things: between all different fields of study, between the body and mind, and between ourselves, nature, and the world we want to live in.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Smelly hippies.

ColZDude said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

What pretty hair.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I hear you encourage love.

Anonymous said...
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Hicquodiam said...

I had my chakras read at one of their conferences they're legit. pendulums and all.

ColZDude said...

I love the environment and I love trees. This is good for both, so I support the cause.

Anonymous said...
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CCespedes said...

This is a valuable initiative. M.Anonymous needs to have his consciousness rebooted.