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Project NatureConnect
Key Book




An Introduction to

The Web of Life Imperative

Regenerative ecopsychology techniques that help people think in balance with natural systems

A required textbook for the Project NatureConnect Orientation Course.



FOUND: A unique, nature-connecting learning tool that enables your psyche to authentically tap into the wisdom and purifying powers of nature. This sensory science helps you rejuvenate 48 subdued natural intelligences that heighten your awareness and increase your responsibility.

Backyard or backcountry, this book's practical process empowers you to improve your health, inner-peace and self-esteem.

Learn how to replace the destructive blocks in your thinking with dynamically balanced ways of knowing.

Counteract your education's omission of a much needed organic psychology.

Master how to genuinely reconnect your reasoning and senses to their nurturing origins in the dance of nature's restorative vigor, sustainability and peace.

Help yourself, and those close to you, benefit from the renewal that thrives in the magnificence of a beautiful day, the wisdom of an ancient tree and the fortitude of a weed.

Let the higher power of nature's healing energies help your thinking transform your harmful stress, disorders and addictive bonds into the rewards from responsible personal, social and environmental relationships.

Strengthen your inborn natural genius. Grow from hands-on, Biophilia-in-action, classes, essays, friendships, activities, research, scholarships, ethics, counseling and healing.

Enjoy a satisfying, Earth-friendly, job, career, internship or teaching certification. Take advantage of online scholarships, courses and degree programs.


The process of nature-connected learning

To understand how and why the organic psychology in this book will work for you as it has for so many others, consider the following key intelligence test question, one that ordinarily might help assess a person's mathematical aptitude:

If you count a dog's tail as one of its legs, how many legs does a dog have?

"Five," of course, is the correct answer for a math test. 

Intelligent people say "five" because it is valid in mathematical systems and contemporary thinking and it is highly regarded and rewarded by our society. However, we don't solely live our lives or think in mathematical systems. Our natural sense of reason can consider what we know from our actual contact with a real, normal dog, too. That's when our multitude of 53 other natural senses come into play: senses of sight, touch, motion, color, texture, language, sound, smell, consciousness, community, trust, contrast, and love. They each provide further information and help our sense of reason make more sense and a more informed decision. They enable our thinking to register that a tail is different than a leg, that a dog has four legs, not five, no matter what is correct in mathematical logic.

It is a grave mistake for anyone not to take seriously the difference between 4-leg and 5-leg ways of knowing and our learned prejudice for the latter. As this book shows, when they are not in balance the schism between their different ways of registering the world produces destructive relationships, stress and conflict.

Four-leg knowing is a magnificent psychological and physiological phenomenon with deep natural system roots into the eons, the heart of Earth and our psyche. It brings our widely diverse multiplicity of natural senses and sensory experiences into our awareness.

Five-leg knowing produces important awareness through abstract imagination, labels and stories. However, it is a shortcut. When it does not find it reasonable to also seek and think with 4-leg knowledge it results not only in our desensitization but in the separation of our thinking from the dynamically balanced regenerative powers of Earth's natural systems within and around us. This profound loss produces the many destructive side effects of our artificial world that we can not readily solve.

Four-leg versus 5-leg discord creates an entrenched conflict in our psyche between how we think and how nature works. This is a point source of the stress and contamination our society produces in the integrity of people and the environment. It generates disorders and troubles that are seldom found in nature or nature-centered people.

It is important to recognize that by financially and socially rewarding us for getting "good grades" or for "making the grade" by using nature-isolated 5-leg thinking, our socialization habitually bonds, conditions, programs or addicts us to 5-leg thinking. In the process, 5-leg thinking often learns to demean 4-leg reasoning as childish, unscientific, or environ-mentalist (tree hugging, airy fairy, earth muffin, fuzzy thinking.) The result is that we become dependent on 5-leg knowing and relating as well as go into denial about its senselessness. For example:

"Aristotle thought there were eight legs on a fly and wrote it down. For centuries scholars were content to quote his authority. Apparently, not one of them was curious enough to impale a fly and count its six legs."
...........-Stuart Chase

The Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) reverses this psychological schism and its harmful personal and environmental effects. It helps us reasonably gather information from both 4-leg and 5-leg sources. This lets us be winners by enjoying a whole, healing, 9-leg thinking process. The vital secret of NSTP is that by carefully following its instructions, we can enlist nature's restorative powers to overcome our bonded conditioning to half-truth 5-leg thinking. In time, 9-leg thinking becomes a habit, as healthful as brushing your teeth.


History of the Natural Systems Thinking Process.

In 1959, Dr. Michael J. Cohen founded a camp and school program based on reconnecting with nature. The National Audubon Society and many others called it the most revolutionary school in America. They said it was on the side of the angels. Participants traveled and thrived by camping out in 83 different natural habitats throughout the seasons. They learned to honor their thoughts and feelings and to live out their commitment to have open, honest relationships with the natural environment, each other and with indigenous people(s), researchers, ecologists, the Amish, organic farmers, anthropologists, folk musicians, naturalists, shamans, administrators, historians and many others close to the land. The experience deeply reconnected their 53 senses to their natural origins. They 9-leg reconnected their thinking and selves to the whole of nature.

The students loved to educate themselves this way and its effectiveness showed in its results:

- Chemical dependencies, including alcohol and tobacco, disappeared.

-Destructive social relationships were challenged and healed.

-Personality and eating disorders subsided. Violence, crime and prejudice were unknown in the group.

-Academics improved because they were applicable, hands-on and fun.

-Loneliness, hostility and depression subsided.

Group interactions allowed for stress release and management; each day was fulfilling and relatively peaceful.

- Some students using meditation found they no longer needed to use it. They learned how to sustain a nature-connected community that more effectively helped them increase their resiliency to stress and disease. Others found the school experience increased the benefits of meditation by attaching it to the peace in global natural systems.

- Participants said they felt they knew each other better than they knew their families or best friends; they knew themselves better than they ever had before.

- Participants felt safe. They risked expressing and acting from their deeper thoughts and feelings. A profound, inborn sense of social and environmental responsibility guided their decisions.

- When vacation periods arrived, neither staff nor student wanted to go home. Each person enjoyed working to build this supportive, balanced living and learning utopia. They were home.

- Students entered right livelihood professions.

All this occurred simply because community members made sense of their life by developing supportive, multiple-sensory relationships that restored contact with attractive callings from the natural systems within and around them.

The 9-leg secret to each participant's success was to learn how to thoughtfully learn through 4-leg natural sensations and feelings that arose from their newly regrown sensory roots in ecosystems of which they were part. These sensations acted as nature's guiding voice. 

The value and rewards of the 9-leg process freed the participants' 53 natural senses from their bonds to questionable 5-leg stories. It re-bonded them to their 4-leg sense of reason in congress with 52 other rejuvenated natural senses while these senses were connected to their nurturing origins and home in nature. This resulted in consensus-based 9-leg thinking, literacy and relating that included information from, and the regenerative, healing powers of, natural systems. To many 5-leg thinkers, this sounds crazy, but year after year the beneficial results still speak for themselves as they improve relationships and reduce stress, conflict and a wide range of associated disorders.

From 30 years of travel and study in over 260 national parks, forests and subcultures, Cohen developed a repeatable learning process and psychology that anyone can use at home, work or school today. It unleashes our suppressed 4-leg ability to grow and survive responsibly with natural systems in ourselves, others and the environment. By documenting that it worked and could be taught, he earned his doctoral degree and the school became a nationally recognized graduate and undergraduate degree program.

From 1985-92, Cohen translated his nature-connected psychology program into the Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP) for public use, backyard or back country, via the Internet or in conjunction with local study groups in real time.

Through NSTP courses, people recover their natural senses and integrity by sharing their attractions to hands-on, sensory, nature-reconnections at home, work or school. This is done best with small study groups either over the Internet or in person.

Any reasonable person understands full well that we can't resolve our unsolvable problems using the same, nature-disconnected, 5-leg thinking that produces them.

The critical contribution of NSTP is that it empowers individuals to create moments that let Earth teach in its sensory voice. It helps us responsibly unify 5-leg and 4-leg thinking. This 9-leg amalgamation is a healthy, natural, super-intelligent way of knowing and relating. Its how nature works. It provides us with a missing essence of wellness, sustainable living and peace that we can enjoy personally, socially and globally.

* * *

For further information visit www.SaneEarth.com

Contact the Institute to purchase copies of the Web of Life Imperative ($34.95) or for review or subsidized copies.

"The Web of Life Imperative offers more tools, knowledge and personal power for good than most therapies and spiritualities. It enables us to reverse our destructive relationships by empowering us to make thoughtful sensory connections with genuine nature. This connection responsibly satisfies the aching, ever-wanting hole in our psyche that has been produced by our excessive separation from nature, a hole that leads us astray"

- Susan Chernak McElroy,
Award winning, N. Y. Times best selling author of Animals as Teachers and Healers and Heart in the Wild.


"We dramatically increased our program's effectiveness by adding the Natural Systems Thinking Process to it. It enables our participants to connect with their sensory origins in nature and use that peaceful power to improve their disorders and their relationships with self, society and the environment."

James Rowe, Ph.D.
Director of the Outward Bound School in Costa Rica

book order form


SPECIAL: Use The Web of Life Imperative to reinstate your peace and integrity through our nature-connected, personal balance and healing, stress-management course online.

Receive inspiring nature-connection quotations by email weekly. Simply send a blank email to naturequote@aweber.com


About the Author:

Recipient of the 1994 Distinguished World Citizen Award, Ecopsychologist Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D. is a Director of the Institute of Global Education, where he coordinates its Integrated Ecology Department and Project NatureConnect. He also serves on the faculty of Portland State University, Akamai University and the International University of Professional Studies. Dr. Cohen has founded sensory environmental education programs independently and for the National Audubon Society and Lesley University (AEI), conceived the National Audubon Conference "Is the Earth a Living Organism," and is the award winning author of Reconnecting With Nature, Einstein's World, and How Nature Works. He is an accomplished folk song artist and contra dancer who presents traditional music programs for the U.S. National Park Service and Elderhostel on San Juan Island, Washington.
CONTACT: www.ecopsych.com nature@interisland.net 360-378-6313, Pacific Time Zone


.....The Web of Life Imperative Regenerative ecopsychology techniques that help people think in balance with natural systems by Michael J. Cohen and 36 co-authors. A Primer of Organic Psychology 13 oz. ISBN 141200184-4 ....Publisher: Institute of Global Education and Trafford Publications.
.....Release Date: July 30, 2003.
.....Contents: 148, full size, 8 1/2 x 11 inch, Perfect Bound. illustrated pages containing empirical principals, knowledge, activities and opportunities for strengthening careers, self-improvement, internships, jobs and degrees.
.....Price: $35.00. Subsidized copies are available through a grant from IGE. When purchased from IGE, a percentage of the book's cost supports its visibility and its companion books, courses and scholarship programs.
.....Availability: All major bookstores and book companies or by priority mail via the book order form below.

Institute of Global Education Project NatureConnect
P. O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <
nature@interisland.net> www.ecopsych.com




NOTE: for discount orders read completely through this page before ordering. This book may be free if you take its course online (see below).


Institute of Global Education Project NatureConnect
P. O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <
nature@interisland.net> www.ecopsych.com

Please send _____ copies of The Web of Life Imperative Regenerative ecopsychology techniques for thinking in balance with nature. by Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D. and 36 co-authors. I understand it contains the full contents of a special online course for reading offline, and for learning and teaching the course. $34.95 or $30.00 with any other book order. (visit this page if you want additional books at a discount).

GIFT or INSTRUCTOR'S SPECIAL. Get six (6) Web of Life Imperative copies and use them as gifts this year. You also may include or resell them to your participants when you organize or teach this course. $125.00 (40% discount) plus postage and handling of 90 cents/book USA ($5.40)

Additional Postage: $3.00 (US) additional/per book to Canada; $10 (US) additional/per book overseas*.

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"This program offers an environmentally sound, educational process that reduces apathy, catalyzes peace and promotes mental health. It fulfills our personal and economic needs, deeper ideals and spirit; it deserves the attention of every person who seeks to reverse our troubles."

Dr. Robert Muller
Assistant Secretary General Emeritus of the United Nations.
Recipient of the Albert Schweitzer Peace Prize and UNESCO prize for peace.
Chancellor of the University for Peace, United Nations.


Special NGO consultant United Nations Economic and Social Council

Readily available, online, natural science tools
for the health of person, planet and spirit
P.O. Box 1605, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
360-378-6313 <email> www.ecopsych.com

The Natural Systems Thinking Process

Dr. Michael J. Cohen, Director

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All programs start with the Orientation Course contained in the book
The Web of Life Imperative.