Ecoresilience Leadership Certificate

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Ecoresilience Leadership Certificate 2014-2015

About the Program

A collaboration by CIIS Public Program & Performances and the Department of East-West Psychology, the Certificate in Ecoresilience Leadership, the first of its kind in the world, will equip participants to find answers to the question: What lasting, practical, and positive contribution can I make in a time of worldwide environmental upheaval?

The program offers tools and techniques for:

  • Guiding groups of people wanting to move beyond fright and helplessness in the face of climate change toward effective personal and collective responses.
  • Working as ecoliteracy consultants who can teach the basics of sustainability.
  • Convening parallel institution design circles when a community's official institutions prove inadequate, outdated, or overwhelmed.
  • Imagining, inspiring, and facilitating "heartsteads": wisdom, support, and problem-solving circles that form to create new knowledge and practice for inventing and linking just and sustainable experiments in ecoresilient community.



What is Ecoresilience?

In 1973, C. S. Holling defined ecological resilience as the amount of disturbance that an ecosystem could withstand without changing its capacity to go on organizing itself. Although this concept was applied initially to ecosystems, it also applies to social systems. Throughout history the collapse of societal institutions and even civilizations often follows assaults by fluctuating climate stressors.
Under the Certificate ecoresilience is held not just as a capacity for adapting to disturbance, but as an opportunity for creating culture and reinventing community one experiment--one heartstead--at a time. To do this will require an interdisciplinary array of best practices not currently available to the public at large.


Our Practical-Integral Learning Approach
Our curriculum engages mind, heart, hands, and other ways of knowing, short intensive courses, and a cohort model in which students make the journey together through the entire nine-month Certificate.

Learning activities include:

  • Practicing mentoring and leadership skills
  • Exploring features of local landscapes
  • Crafting nature-based ceremonies
  • Compiling local sustainability resources
  • Discussing recent environmental science findings
  • Gathering data about attitude change
  • Facilitating practice groups
  • Working on eco-art projects
  • Tracking dreams as barometers of planetary well-being


Learning Outcomes

Certificate graduates will be able to:

  • Facilitate discussion and action circles for people concerned about climate change.
  • Educate their communities of origin about the benefits of sustainable practices.
  • Instruct community members in how to feel deeply at home where we live and work.
  • Compile and offer lists of local sustainable lifestyle resources.
  • Pool and utilize knowledge geared toward fusing deep reflection with effective action.
  • Conduct ongoing research into the efficacy of this model for facilitating cultural transformation.


Who Should Apply?

  • Anyone wanting to help individuals, groups, and communities flourish in a time of ecological instability. Ecotherapist Linda Buzzell calls this "the Great Work of our time."
  • Community mentors more interested in getting active now than in extensive education.
  • Environmentalists with a desire to work at the level of community practice.
  • Activists seeking new tools for creating community change.
  • CIIS students eager to put their learnings into practice on behalf of the century's greatest challenge.
  • People interested in applied psychology and ecology but not in being licensed as clinicians.
  • Psychotherapists seeking new tools for use with clients stressed about climate change.
  • Environmental scientists and health practitioners seeking a career change.
  • No prior degree required.



This certificate program is open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and international persons who are in the U.S. in a valid nonimmigrant visa status who are eligible to take courses at CIIS under that status. CIIS Public Programs Certificate Programs do not qualify for the F-1 student visa.

To learn more about the Ecoresilience Leadership Certificate contact Dr. Craig Chalquist - cchalquist@ciis.edu