exploring biocultural neuroscience and human relationships to meaning and place

Embodied Ecologies

Photo (c) 2013 by Sally W. Donatello (link)

This site is a work in progress...


Towards a new, integrative model:

Place > Ecology > Sensation > Motion > Emotion > Perception > Cognition > Expression > Language > Culture > Tradition > Value > Identity > Meaning


Throughout history, human relationships to place and living ecosystems have been investigated by scholars and practitioners across many different fields—from anthropology to psychology, cultural studies to neuroscience. A great deal of insight has been gathered, however much of this understanding remains isolated due to the ongoing tradition of insularity within academic disciplines.


Our current institutional scientific model for understanding human relationships to place and the embodied dynamics of our interdependence with living ecologies is largely outdated and does not reflect emerging research. We need an updated model that integrates cutting-edge insights into specific factors that promote optimal well-being of living systems at multiple nested scales -- including at the levels of ecology and culture.


Embodied Ecologies is dedicated to building large scale knowledge and action partnerships that leverage the latest research findings in neuroscience, cognitive science, interpersonal neurobiology, chronobiology, ecosystems and health, conservation psychology, ecopsychology and biocultural diversity in exploring and understanding the links between place, embodied experience, language and culture and the development of human attitudes and behaviors towards natural ecosystems.


We do this by connecting individuals across disparate fields who share common goals but who might not yet be aware of each other's research and/or practice. We also convene groups of thought leaders for interdisciplinary dialogue and synthesize these learnings into resources that we share with multiple audiences for use in decision-making and advocacy.


Click here for a list of key questions we are investigating.


The timing of this project is both critical and strategic. Advances in imaging technology have propelled research across multiple fields, resulting in a great depth of new understanding about the embodied and relational processes involved in human behavior, choice-making, and meaning-making. At the same time, as a global civilization we are facing critical questions about climate change, ecosystem destruction, and the dramatic, broad scale loss not only of biological species but also place-specific languages, cultures, and embodied ways of life. These questions confront both the academic community and humankind as a whole.


Our hope is that bringing together a network of thought leaders and pioneers will accelerate the cross-pollination and dissemination of critical knowledge and the formation of collaborative research partnerships at levels of influence that can potentially inform the future course of multiple disciplines. Towards this end, Embodied Ecologies plans to undertake a series of projects to fulfill our vision of supporting humankind’s meaningful, harmonious, and sustainable participation in the greater system of life of which we are a part.


We welcome the participation of individuals and organizations across all disciplines. To find out more, please contact us.


We believe that developing a systems-oriented understanding of the dynamic interrelationships between ecology, embodied experience,  

will support the identification of strategies that promote the well-being of people, communities and our living planet as a whole.