Selected writings by Eshana (Elizabeth Bragg, PhD) (Last updated 19 December 1997)

Hi! At the end of this page, there's an Eco-vitae in case you want to know more about me.

My email address is
Snail mail: PO Box 510, Maclean NSW 2463  Australia


UNIVERSITY- A Source of Wisdom?

VISIONS OF A COMMUNIVERSITY - a land-based educational community for the Earth

THE FOREST AND THE SEA: Nature as Teacher and Healer 


ECOLOGICAL SELF - An Invitation on a Shamanic Journey

EDGE OF THE SACRED RAINFOREST - Stories from Far North Queensland

THE BIRTHING SEED - An Experience of Re-Earthing

'EARTH PHILOSOPHIES AUSTRALIA' - notes from the first gathering

[Return to the Deep Ecology Index....]

ABOUT ME: An Eco-Vitae

I grew up in the 1970's on the shores of Sydney harbour, walking most weekends with my parents through the sandstone bushland of nearby National Parks. Memories of my teenage years and explorations are inextricably interwoven with the powerful surf at Queenscliff beach. My early searches towards a career were driven by a desire to find some way of combining science and art. I wanted to communicate the wonder I felt in exploring the natural world, and re-awaken this in others.

Before the proliferation of 'environmental studies' courses, I created my own mix of zoology, psychology, visual arts, and the history and philosophy of science, ending up with a Bsc from the University of Sydney. In my final year (1987) I came across 'environmental psychology', a branch of social psychology initiated 20 years previously in response to the environmental crisis. "This is IT!" I thought, resonating with these psychologists' realisation that environmental problems had psychological roots. Searching through the register of Australian social psychologists, I discovered a group of academics at James Cook University of North Queensland specifically interested in psychological relationships with the natural world (1). In 1989, I left Sydney for the tropics and completed an honours degree investigating the short-term psychological benefits of experiences in nature (2). The following year, I started a PhD in eco-tourism, interested in its potential to strengthen people's connection with nature. I was employed as a research officer for consultancies including 'tourism and development plans'. I tutored in the psychology department at James Cook, and gave conference presentations about my work.

A life based in academia, however, began to take its toll on my soul (3). In 1990, I left the university and moved to the rainforest. I lived a simple life. I gardened. I explored the shadowy magic of the forest. I wrote voraciously in my dream journal. I read piles of deep ecology, ecofeminism, and other 'new age' philosophy and cosmology. I practised and taught hatha yoga. Creative dance and Earth-based ritual became a part of my life, and I co-facilitated women's spirituality circles.

In 1992, continuing my soul-life, I embarked on a mammoth PhD (4). From a social constructionist perspective, theoretically grounded in radical eco-philosophy and mainstream environmental psychology, I investigated individual and shared understandings of the relationship between 'self' and 'the natural environment'. Three separate empirical studies were conducted using a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods: (i) a content analysis of environmental articles in popular Australian magazines; (ii) in-depth interviews with individual members of different community groups living near a World Heritage Area; and (iii) an evaluation of experiential 'deep ecology' workshops called the 'Council of All Beings'.

This year, with my dissertation complete, John Seed and I travelled in South and North America giving presentations and facilitating deep ecology workshops. My current vision is the co-creation of a 'communiversity' - a land-based, alternative-education centre in Northern NSW to offer courses in various skills, philosophies and 'ways of being' which we need to live in harmony with each other and the planet.

(1) Joseph Reser (cross-cultural and environmental psychology), Lea Scherl (wilderness experience), Phil Pearce (nature-based tourism), Mark Fenton (landscape perception), Mike Smithson (nuclear threat), Bernard Guerin (energy conservation behaviour)
(2) Bragg, E.A. (1992). 'Short-term psychological benefits of natural environments: Positive mood and mindfulness.' People and Physical Environment Research, 39-40, 70-86.
(3) See 'Edge of the Sacred Rainforest', this volume; and Eshana (1994) 'University: A source of wisdom?' The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy, 11(1), 37.
(4) Bragg, E.A. (1996). 'Towards ecological self: Deep ecology meets constructionist self theory.' Journal of Environmental Psychology, 16, 93-108.